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U.S. men begin World Cup qualifying semifinal round

U.S. men begin World Cup qualifying semifinal round

Nothing says more about the current state of U.S. Soccer than the fact that Friday's game against lowly St. Vincent and the Grenadines now looms as an important test.

Not only is the game, in St. Louis (3:30 p.m. PST, ESPN2) the first in the semifinal round of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, but it comes during a historic slump for Juergen Klinsmann's team, which has lost three in a row on home soil for the first time since 1997. The U.S. is also winless in four games against CONCACAF foes for the first time in five decades.

Both those streaks seem sure to end against St. Vincent, an island country about the size of Bakersfield and with a smaller population than El Monte....