GENOA, ITALY - FEBRUARY 29: Clint Dempsey of USA celebrates with his team-mates after scoring the opening goal during the international friendly match between Italy and USA at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on February 29, 2012 in Genoa, Italy. (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
The U.S. National Team is kicking off their qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup in
the United States Brazil by facing Caribbean minnows Antigua & Barbuda tonight at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. This is also the first competitive match that the USA will play with head coach Jurgen Klinsmann at the helm. Since taking over last year, Klinsmann has basically been running the Yanks through a series of warmups while the rest of the US Soccer community hemmed and hawed about whether or not friendlies actually mattered. Those arguments are no longer of consequence. This match will matter.
Let's face it - the US is expected to steamroll the Benna Boys. That's no disrespect to Antigua & Barbuda, but the USA is the second-highest ranked nation in CONCACAF at 28th in the world; Antigua & Barbuda are 105th. That isn't to say that they don't have a couple of good players, as there are several who ply their trade in the English Football League system, as high as the Championship (I think), but it's tough to think of the odds as anything other than insurmountable.
For a full preview, check out the great work our own Matty Jollie did in his look at the USA matchup. Otherwise, lineups after the jump, and join the live thread by posting in the comments!
Antigua & Barbuda: Molvin James; Marc Joseph, George Dublin, Marvin McCoy; Mikele Leigertwood, Kieran Murtagh, Lawson Robinson, Quentin Griffith, Tamarley Thomas; Dexter Blackstock, Randolph Burton
Bench: Not sure, ESPN has a glitch