Zusi assists in key USMNT victory

The U.S. Men's National Team will arrive in Kansas City today on the heels of a 2-1 victory at Antigua and Barbuda last night to keep the United States atop Group A in the Semifinal Round of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi started his second straight qualifier, providing an assist on the USMNT's opening goal in the 20th minute (video below) and playing 78 minutes in the victory. Zusi has now appeared in five matches -- all wins -- for the U.S. this year, with a goal and an assist to his name.

Here's how soccer pundits around the web rated Zusi's latest performance:

6.5 - The right-sider enjoyed a strong first half, with one fine cross notching an assist and another that could have. -- Greg Seltzer (MLSSoccer.com)

6.5 - Solid night for Zusi. His assist on Eddie Johnson’s first goal was beautiful. A few nice corner kicks as well from the SKC man. -- Patrick MacDonald (Empire of Soccer)

6 - Was active at the start of the game and delivered the type of precise crosses that Klinsmann surely wanted but did not get much of in Antigua. He faded in the second half before coming off, but his inch-perfect ball set up Johnson for the Americans’ first goal. -- Ives Galarcep (Soccer By Ives)

5.5 - In the first half he was solid as hustled down the right side to provide some needed width for the Americans. He delivered a terrific cross with his left foot to assist on Eddie Johnson’s first goal, and his passing was generally crisp. -- Brian Sciaretta (NY Times)

6.5 - Graham Zusi had another solid outing for the Nats, putting in a number of good services and had a good work rate all night. Zusi assisted on Eddie Johnson’s first goal with a beautifully feathered left-footed serve in the 20th minute and then found EJ again on a service in the 30th minute for an open chance which Johnson put wide. Zusi was active in the second half as well, putting a couple of very nice services into the box. -- John Halloran (Bleacher Report)

6 - Zusi showed why he is the MLS assists leader, setting up Eddie Johnson's first goal with a pinpoint bending ball into the area that the Seattle Sounders forward headed in with relative ease. He should have had a second assist to Johnson in the first half, as he missed a golden chance after a stellar turn-and-cross from the right from Zusi. -- Avi Creditor (Sports Illustrated)

3 stars - On an unplayable field, Zusi was the only American to seem to grasp that he needed to play the ball in the air. His crosses from the right created the best U.S. chances, including the opener. -- Zac Lee Rigg (Goal.com)

The USMNT will host a public training at 10:30 a.m. CT on Sunday at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park (RSVP on Facebook) as Jurgen Klinsmann prepares his side for the decisive qualifying finale on Tuesday right here in Kansas City. A win or draw against Guatemala will assure the U.S. advances to the hexagonal on the road to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. Watch live on ESPN2 beginning at 5:30 p.m. CT!

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