Hexagonal: Complete Schedule
What make the goalfest that much more impressive was that the USA was without Clint Dempsey (sidelined with an irregular heart beat) and Gyasi Zardes (out through the end of the MLS regular season with a broken foot), the USA's top scorers in 2016 through the Copa Centenario.
1. Pulisic is up to the task -- in starting lineup.
After ticking off every reason why he shouldn't rush Christian Pulisic into the starting lineup, U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann ended up starting the 17-year-old phenom.
At Borussia Dortmund, the German press has dubbed Pulisic "Das Ami-Juwel" ("the American Jewel") and he didn't disappoint. He didn't scored two goals like he did in his 25-minute appearance against St. Vincent & The Grenadines, but he did everything but in Jacksonville.
Pulisic forced T&T keeper Marvin Phillip into a diving stop in the seventh minute and managed to hit both posts in the 31st minute without scoring. When the four U.S. goals came, Pulisic was involved, directly or indirectly, in each of them:
Pulisic role in U.S. goals:
Sacha Kljestan, 44th minute (cross wasn't cleared --> rebound)
Jozy Altidore, 59th minute (drew second defender away from Altidore)
Jozy Altidore, 62th minute (assist)
Paul Arriola, 71st minute (shot saved --> rebound)
2. Altidore keeps up goal-a-game pace in 2016.
After opening the scoring for the USA at St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Bobby Wood had a rather quiet two games in terms of production, but T&T coach Stephen Hart noted all the work he did pulling the Soca Warriors' defense apart. But his frontline partner, Jozy Altidore, scored once against the Vincy Heat and added two goals three minutes apart against T&T.
The two goals moved Altidore past Dempsey as the USA's all-time leading scorer in World Cup qualifying with 16 goals. They also gave him six goals in six games in 2016 and goals in all four starts.
U.S. Player Ratings
3. Kljestan won't have to wait 30 months between call-ups again.
Sacha Kljestan wasn't even on the original U.S. roster for the final two games of qualifying. But with Jermaine Jones still injured and Michael Bradley suspended for the SVG game, the New York Red Bulls midfielder was recalled for the first time since before the 2014 World Cup.
All Kljestan did was score in both games, his opportunistic goal against T&T being the winner. He might not have supplanted Jones in Klinsmann's eyes in central midfield, but he certainly did enough in the two games -- he also assisted on Pulisic's two goals at St. Vincent & The Grenadines -- so he doesn't have to worry about waiting another 30 months between call-ups.