The USA's Jozy Altidore (blue jersey) jumps for a header during a World Cup qualifier against the visiting St. Vincent & the Grenadines on November 13, 2015, in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo: John Dorton/isiphotos.com)
ST. LOUIS, Missouri -- The United States overcame an early deficit to register a 6-1 win over St. Vincent & the Grenadines in the fourth-round, Group C opener of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Friday in front of 43,433 fans at Busch Stadium.
Oalex Anderson had put the visitor ahead with a stunning strike, before the Americans rebounded behind two goals by Jozy Altidore and one apiece from Bobby Wood, Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron and Gyasi Zardes.
SVG capitalized on a tentative American backline in the fifth-minute, when Anderson gained possession of a misplayed DeAndre Yedlin clearance, raced into the penalty area and eluded four defenders to net with his right foot from 12 yards.
The U.S., which had lost its previous three games, responded with three goals during a 21-minute span to grab hold of the first-ever meeting the sides.
From six-yards out, Wood deftly headed Yedlin’s right-wing cross past goalkeeper Winslow McDowell for the 11th minute equalizer.
After St. Vincent captain Kevin Francis fouled Altidore just shy of the penalty area, Johnson powered the U.S. into a lead it would never relinquish. In the 30th minute, he drilled a free kick from the left side that deflected off the defensive wall for his second career international goal.
Two minutes later, Johnson played a role in the third goal. Standing on the left side of the box, midfielder Jermaine Jones headed the Borussia Mönchengladbach star’s corner to an unmarked Altidore at the far post. The 26-year-old finished with an easy header for a 3-1 advantage, admitting him as the fifth member of the USA’s 30-goal club.
The Americans increased their lead to 4-1 in the 51st minute off another Johnson corner. This time, Wood flicked it at the near left post for Cameron to head home from 12 yards.
Zardes converted an Altidore feed from 12-yards out in the 58th minute, before the Toronto FC forward punctuated the scoreline by completing his brace in the 73rd minute.
The U.S. returns to action on Tuesday with a visit to Trinidad & Tobago, while SVG will welcome Guatemala the same day.