TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Carlos Bocanegra, Clint Dempsey and Herculez Gomez scored as the United States opened World Cup qualifying with a somewhat shaky 3-1 victory over Antigua and Barbuda on Friday night.
Bocanegra put the Americans ahead in the eighth minute, tapping the ball into the net after goalkeeper Molvin James made a diving stop on Gomez's header off Landon Donovan's corner kick. Dempsey's 26th goal came on a penalty kick in the 44th minute after Marvin McCoy upended Donovan.
Peter Byers scored in the 65th minute for 105th-ranked Antigua, a nation of 86,000 that almost could fit its entire population in Raymond James Stadium. Gomez restored a two-goal lead in the 72th with an effort off a rebound.
It was a costly night for the No. 28 Americans, trying to qualify for their seventh straight World Cp. Third-choice left back Jose Torres was stretchered off after injuring his left ankle in the 54th. Bocanegra shifted to the left, and Oguchi Onyewu entered only to overcommit and allow Byers to come in alone on goalkeeper Tim Howard.