The US national team romped to a 6-1 victory over Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in Friday night’s opening World Cup qualifier in St. Louis, Missouri, but their start to the match was less than ideal.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s men went into the game against one of CONCACAF’s smallest countries as overwhelming favourites but found themselves a goal down inside five minutes when Oalex Anderson took advantage of some calamitous defending to open the scoring.
While it was Geoff Cameron’s miscued clearance that gifted Anderson the ball deep in the USA’s half, DeAndre Yedlin bore the brunt of the criticism for the goal after his poor positioning left the Seattle Sounders 2 winger free to dart into the box and fire past Brad Guzan.
The Tottenham Hotspur youngster, who is currently on loan at Sunderland, was making a rare appearance at his club position of right-back for Klinsmann’s side after earning most of his previous 26 caps in midfield, but his early mistake predictably led to questions over whether he is defensively reliable enough to start on the backline.
Nevertheless, the 22-year-old managed to make amends just six minutes later by utilising his renowned attacking qualities to set up Bobby Wood’s headed equaliser with a slick cross, as the US would go on to grab five more unanswered goals to begin the road to Russia 2018 in convincing fashion.
With the visitors managing just 16.9 per cent of possession over the course of the match, the defender-cum-winger eased through the rest of the match with few problems, but his erratic start meant his performance earned mixed reviews from fans on Twitter.
Well to all the people complaining why Klinsmann doesn't play Yedlin at RB well there you go #usmnt— Anan USMNT (@A_usmnt25) November 14, 2015
Okay people that demanded JK to play Yedlin in the back line. Lol. #USAvVIN— Nick Moss (@TheBravesDH) November 14, 2015
That's why he's a midfielder. Yedlin is not a defender #USAvVIN— Ryan Peraino (@ohnoitsperaino) November 14, 2015
Not often you see Yedlin left in the dust like that. So much for the walk in the park. #USAvVIN— Nick Kariuki (@NKKariuki) November 14, 2015
Yedlin making amends. What a goal for Wood there. #USAvVIN— Joe Martini (@JoeMartini90) November 14, 2015
Yedlin-to-Wood is the combination that draws #USMNT level. As bad as Yedlin's defending was on SVG goal, his ball to Wood was that gorgeous.— Andy Edwards (@AndyEdMLS) November 14, 2015
Ok... Yedlin just made up for it with a good ball across. Superb finish from Wood. #USMNT— Brad Sheffield (@BradSheffield) November 14, 2015
And Yedlin totally redeems himself for getting cross-footed. Great run and chip cross there #USMNT— Cade Light (@cadewtm) November 14, 2015
It's not difficult to see why Klinsmann does play Yedlin at right wing, since Yedlin was all the way to the end-line in attack there #USMNT— David (@EcoLoveDavid) November 14, 2015