International Preview: Zusi for USA vs Antigua & Barbuda

Graham Zusi has been selected for the US Men's National Team for the two very important World Cup Qualifiers. The first is an away match against Antigua & Barbuda, who are last place in Group A. The USA are tied with Jamaica and Guatemala with seven points through four matches.

Team Points Goal Difference
Guatemala 7 +2
United States 7 +2
Jamaica 7 +1
Antigua & Barbuda 1 -5

USA at Antigua & Barbuda (Oct 12)

The match, at least on paper, appears to be a significant mismatch with the USA facing a country that has a population of about 80,000 and ranked 106. A&B have never qualified for a major tournament (Gold Cup or World Cup) and best finish in the Carribean Cup was fourth place. Their roster has a few players overseas but is primarily comprised of players from Antigua Barricuda FC, who compete in the USL Professional Division (third tier). A&B have had very good results at home against Jamaica (0-0 draw) and Guatemala (1-0 loss). They also gave the Americans a tough match in June with the match 2-1 in the second half and created some decent chances.

Zusi is expected to be named in the 18 and has a good chance to start or at least be a second half substitute based on his form with Sporting KC (five goals, 14 assists) and strong performance last month for the USA against Jamaica. He will most likely play in the midfield to provide service for attacking players like Hercules Gomez and Clint Dempsey. The news of Landon Donovan being injured and unavailable put Zusi as a likely replacement in the starting eleven.

The USA are heavy favorites in this match and should have the majority of possession and chances. When the two teams played in June (at Tampa, FL), the Americans dominated large stretches of the match but were a bit unforunate to not score more goals (won 3-1). A&B are still mathematically alive in the qualifying but few are expecting them to win this match. They'll likely be forced to look for chances on the counterattack and set pieces against a much stronger USA side.

The match will take place at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua with kickoff scheduled for 6 PM CT and televised on beIN Sport.