[USA-ANTIGUA & BARBUDA]The USA got goals from Carlos Bocanegra, Clint Dempsey and Herculez Gomez, but that was it as it had to settle for a 3-1 win over tiny Antigua & Barbuda in the opening game of the semifinal round of 2014 World Cup qualifying.
The USA got bad news, though, as Jose Torres, playing in place of the injured Fabian Johnson and Edgar Castillo, was himself injured on an awkward challenge in the seccond half and had to be stretchered off with an ankle injury.
Torres will have X-rays on his ankle bruise and be evaluated over the weekend.
"It's not looking very good right now," said U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
Torres' replacement, Oguchi Onyewu, was at fault as Peter Byers, a veteran of the U.S. minor leagues, beat him for pace and scored to give Antigua & Barbuda its goal.
"We discussed that prior to the game that it would be difficult to break them down," said Klinsmann, who captured a win in his first career World Cup qualifier as a coach. "Antigua did a very good job defending and made it very tight. I think we created quite a few chances and we could have scored a few more goals. Those games are tricky. At the end of the day, I think the three points is the starting point that we wanted to have. We know that we have to step it up a lot going into Guatemala, which we will do. Overall, we give a complement to Antigua and a complement to the crowd of over 23,000 coming to the game. It was amazing. Now we've got to look toward Tuesday and we've got to give Guatemala a real fight."
June 8in Tampa
USA 3 Antigua & Barbuda 1.Goals: Bocanegra 8, Dempsey (pen.) 44, Gomez 72; Byers 65.
USA --Howard; Cherundolo, Goodson, Bocanegra, Torres (Onyewu, 57); Edu, Bradley, Jones (Boyd, 81); Donovan, Dempsey, Gomez (Altidore, 80)
Antigua & Barbuda -- James; McCoy, Joseph, G.Dublin, Griffith; Burton, Leigertwood, Robinson, Murtagh (Byers, 62); Thomas (Smith, 83), Blackstock,
Referee: Hugo Cruz (Costa Rica).