Skip to content

Matches in Antigua rarely easy affairs; U.S. fans may wince, but expect a close match tonight

Oct 12, 2012, 11:21 AM EDT

Italy v USA - International Friendly Getty Images

Friday could be bring a commanding United States win, leaving Jurgen Klinsmann’s and Co. to go bounding into Kansas City for next week’s group play finale needing nothing more than a draw to secure passage into final round World Cup qualifying.

Most American soccer fans would like to see the United States do just that, ride roughshod over the tiny nations of Central American and the Caribbean, establishing regional dominance as more or less a practice exercise en route to bigger and better at the World Cup finals.

But history suggests otherwise. Whether it’s down to an ongoing U.S. failure to capitalize on the enormous advantages in resources, or whether it’s the far more vague province of “is what it is,” these regional lands are rarely pushovers when playing at home.

And that’s not just when playing the United States:

Let’s look quickly at Antigua and Barbuda’s other home games this round:

  • Guatemala did escape Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in September with all three points, but it was awfully close. Carlos Ruiz scored in the 25th minute, and it took a solid night of work from visiting goalkeeper Ricardo Jerez to hold the score to 1-0.
  • Back in June, Jamaica could do no better than a scoreless draw in Antigua. This is where the Antiguan team’s cohesiveness as a group, not just a collection of individuals – most of the regulars play together in the U.S. third-tier league (USL Pro) – greatly assists the effort. They are far more organized than most Caribbean sides, not committing too many players into the attack, remaining in the best places for recovery once the ball is lost, and generally managing the game fairly well. The United States saw as much in only winning by two goals (3-1) earlier this year in Tampa Bay.

So, two matches so far at the cricket ground in Antigua have produced just one goal.

My expectation: a 2-0 United States win. (Followed by a predictable amount of subsequent teeth gnashing that it couldn’t have been more.)

Latest Posts
  1. Premier League player of the week — Round 4

    Sep 15, 2014, 11:01 PM EDT

    Chelsea v Swansea City - Premier League Getty Images

    No one’s doing it quite like this man right now, who again takes hold of player of the week honors in the Premier League.

  2. Premier League Round 4: Goals of the week

    Sep 15, 2014, 10:37 PM EDT

    Britain Soccer Premier League AP

    There are five goals here, but it only took four matches to comprise the list.

  3. Galaxy GK Penedo wins individual honor as four clinch Gold Cup berths

    Sep 15, 2014, 10:15 PM EDT

    Jaime Penedo AP

    Costa Rica won the tournament for the eighth time, defeating Guatemala in the final.

  4. As Pardew gets lifeline, Carragher blasts the “disgrace” at Newcastle

    Sep 15, 2014, 8:34 PM EDT

    Southampton v Newcastle United - Premier League Getty Images

    Newcastle United players and their manager have come under fire from ex-Liverpool back Jamie Carragher, who blasted the club on “Monday Night Football”

  5. Le Toux can snare second Open Cup title by beating his old club

    Sep 15, 2014, 7:45 PM EDT

    Sebastien Le Toux, Tony Beltran AP

    The Sounders have three titles and won their first win Le Toux. Soccerly hosts an essay on his quest to deny them a fourth.

  6. Anelka joins Indian Super League; Uncertainty hangs over suspension

    Sep 15, 2014, 6:55 PM EDT

    Mumbai_City_FC

    The English FA asked FIFA to extend Anelka’s quenelle suspension beyond Britain’s borders.

  7. 1860 Munich’s lederhosen kits are absolutely bonkers

    Sep 15, 2014, 5:54 PM EDT

    1860-lederhosen2

    Oktoberfest begins Sept. 20, and 1860 Munich is going all-in when it comes to their away attire.

  8. Hull City 2-2 West Ham United: Debut goals a-plenty in fun draw

    Sep 15, 2014, 4:53 PM EDT

    Britain Soccer Premier League AP

    Abel Hernandez, Enner Valencia, Mohamed Diame and Diafra Sakho all made their presences felt on NBCSN at the KC Stadium on Monday.

  9. VIDEO: Enner Valencia blazes a shot past McGregor at the KC Stadium

    Sep 15, 2014, 4:34 PM EDT

    Hull City v West Ham United - Premier League Getty Images

    Certainly one of the goals of the early season, as West Ham continues to tempt the highlight reels despite a tough start to the season.

  10. Americans Abroad wrap: Brek Shea assists in Birmingham debut (video)

    Sep 15, 2014, 4:15 PM EDT

    Birmingham City v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship Getty Images

    Brek Shea had a loan debut to remember, while Julian Green had one to forget and both Tim Howard and Brad Guzan kept clean sheets.

  11. At the half: Record-signing Hernandez shining as Hull leads West Ham

    Sep 15, 2014, 3:49 PM EDT

    abel-hernandez_3006938

    Abel Hernandez has a goal and had another creation ruled offsides as the hosts rose to steal the first half with late heroics.

  12. Champions League preview: How will the four Premier League teams get on?

    Sep 15, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT

    Britain Soccer Champions League AP

    Schedules, chances of making the last 16, predictions. Your one-stop shop for all the info as the UCL group stages begins for four PL teams.

  13. Watch live: Hull City vs. West Ham United (Lineups)

    Sep 15, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT

    Hull City v West Ham United - Premier League Getty Images

    Record-signing Abel Hernandez (Palermo) makes his Hull City debut as the Tigers look to pick up their second win of the season.

  14. Rio Ferdinand slams ex-Manchester United manager David Moyes

    Sep 15, 2014, 2:19 PM EDT

    FBL-EUR-C1-MAN UTD-BAYER LEVERKUSEN Getty Images

    Ferdinand: “It killed me. Inside I wanted to scream and grab him.”

  15. Stats don’t lie: Spanish clubs almost certain of Champions League success

    Sep 15, 2014, 1:32 PM EDT

    Portugal Soccer Champions League Final AP

    All four Spanish teams are looking odds on to make it out of the group stage. What about the big clubs from England and Germany?

  16. Premier League Preview: Hull City vs. West Ham United

    Sep 15, 2014, 12:41 PM EDT

    FBL-ENG-LCUP-TOTTENHAM-HULL Getty Images

    All the news and quotes ahead of the Monday afternoon matchup.

  17. Premier League Playback: Manchester United shine bright like a diamond

    Sep 15, 2014, 11:50 AM EDT

    Manchester United v Queens Park Rangers - Premier League Getty Images

    PST’s lead writer and editor takes an alternative look at all the action from Week 4.

  18. “Cristiano Ronaldo fed up at Real Madrid” says former club president

    Sep 15, 2014, 10:34 AM EDT

    cristiano_ronaldo AP

    Calderon claims that Ronaldo is frustrated with life at Real after several high-profile exits.

  19. David Beckham issues plea to Scotland as citizens vote on independence

    Sep 15, 2014, 9:59 AM EDT

    Britain Prince William Beckham AP

    Beckham: “What unites us is much greater than what divides us. Let’s stay together.”

  20. Stoke City launch initiative to set up academies across North America

    Sep 15, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    Harry Kane, Geoff Cameron AP

    Potters to link up with youth teams across USA and Canada, grow brand overseas.

Featured video

Week 4: Saturday recap