New Zealand at Solomon Islands
2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying| OFC Final Playoff Leg 2
Monday, Sept. 4 | 10 p.m. CT | @NZ_Football on Twitter
Lawson Tama Stadium | Honiara, Solomon Islands
Sporting Kansas City midfielder James Musa and the New Zealand Men's National Team are sitting pretty heading into tonight's decisive second leg of the OC Final Playoff against Solomon Islands.
The All Whites cruised to a 6-1 first-leg home victory on Friday in Auckland, with Musa playing 26 minutes as a second-half substitute in his first international appearance since May 2014. The holding midfielder will now contend for his third New Zealand cap when head coach Anthony Hudson's men visit Lawson Tama Stadium in Honiara, Solomon Islands.
Local kickoff time is set for 2 p.m. Tuesday, and the aggregate winner will advance to face a South American country in a two-legged, home-and-away World Cup playoff scheduled for Nov. 6 and 14. Live updates of tonight's contest will be available on Twitter at @NZ_Football.
Musa, who impressed during his second-half cameo on Friday as Hudson's first selection off the bench, could receive his first All Whites start against a Solomon Islands side that was overmatched throughout the first leg. English Premier League striker Chris Wood bagged a hat-trick to pace the rout, less than a week after scoring a stoppage-time equalizer against Tottenham in his debut for Burnley at Wembley Stadium.
The 25-year-old Musa, who joined the Swope Park Rangers ahead of 2017, has started 18 USL matches for a side that occupies fourth place in the Western Conference. He signed for Sporting Kansas City on Aug. 11 and made an impressive MLS debut the following day with a 90-minute performance at Seattle Sounders FC.
Should New Zealand secure an aggregate victory as expected, the All Whites will turn their attention to the World Cup Qualifying picture in South America, where a remarkable CONMEBOL logjam sees second place and eighth place separated by just five points. If qualifying ended today, New Zealand would face Lionel Messi and 2014 World Cup finalist Argentina in November's playoff.
Fifth-place team would face New Zealand in World Cup playoff in November
New Zealand Roster
1. Stefan Marinovic (GK), 2. Sam Brotherton, 3. Deklan Wynne, 4. Themi Tzimopoulos, 5. Michael Boxall, 6. James Musa, 7. Kosta Barbarouses, 8. Michael McGlinchey, 9. Chris Wood (C), 12. Glen Moss (GK), 13. Monty Patterson, 14. Ryan Thomas, 15. Myer Bevan, 17. Thomas Doyle, 18. Kip Colvey, 19. Alex Rufer, 21. Storm Roux, 22. Andrew Durante, 23. Oliver Sail (GK)
Coach: Anthony Hudson (ENG)
Solomon Islands Roster
1. Phillip Mango (GK), 2. Joses Nawo, 3. Robert Laua, 4. Nelson Sale, 5. Haddis Aengari, 6. Emmanuel Poila, 7. Jerry Donga, 8. Henry Fa’arodo (c), 9. Benjamin Totori, 10. Micah Lea’alafa, 11. Gagame Feni 12. Zantas Kabini (GK), 13. Richard Hiromana, 14. Clifton Aumae, 15. Jeffery Bule, 16. Michael Boso, 17. Atkin Kaua, 18. Clement Baegeni, 19. Andrew Rarangia, 20. Timothy Bakale, 22. Desmond Tutu (GK)
Coach: Felipe Vega-Arango Alonso (ESP)