Two months ago, the United States Men’s National team dug themselves out of an alarming self-dug Hexagonal hole when they earned themselves four points in their two-game World Cup qualifying stint against Honduras and Panama.
After the matches, The Loop Sports took a look at some of the fan reaction to the performances on Twitter, which seemed to convene on four rallying points:
- Christian Pulisic is encroaching super-stardom, and his crafty footwork alongside his movement on and off the ball have sparked the US attack with a fresh sense of life.
- Clint Dempsey may be aging, but his four goals in those two big games against Honduras and Panama solidified his continued importance and reliability in the final third of the field.
- Jermaine Jones doesn’t look like the same chip-on-his-shoulder midfielder the world saw emerge in the 2014 World Cup, and his on-field chemistry with Michael Bradley seems to be eroding.
- When Darlington Nagbe and Pulisic occupy the pitch at the same time, the US midfield looks as solid as ever.
The USMNT will officially continue its hunt for a World Cup berth next week on June 8 in Colombia, where they will take on Trinidad and Tobago before making their way to the infamously inhospitable Estadio Azteca on June 11 to hash things out with Mexico.
Until then, however, Bruce Arena has time to twiddle his thumbs over some possible changes to his lineup, changes that Americans might see previewed tonight when Dempsey’s boys host Venezuela in Utah for a friendly. In addition, tonight’s World Cup qualifying warm-up will see usual starters Fabian Johnson and DeAndre Yedlin back into the active lineup, alongside USMNT regulars Bobby Wood and Jordan Morris; all four missed the Honduras and Panama games due to injury.
As a side note, this World Cup qualifying “warm-up” of sorts finds a pre-match Clint Dempsey sitting at 56 goals in 132 caps, just one goal behind Landon Donovan for the USMNT scoring record.
As it stands, the US sit in fourth place with four points in the Hexagonal, just behind Panama (five points), Costa Rica (seven points), and Mexico (ten points). Only the top three automatically clinch a berth to Russia 2018, and although the USMNT are still a spot away, they are certainly within striking distance of the top two spots with six matches still left to be played.
Tonight’s match against Venezuela will kick off at 8 PM MT, and will be aired live on FS1 and Univision.