COUVA, TRI. (October 10, 2017) – The United States Men’s National Team are out of the 2018 World Cup. Thanks to wins by Honduras and Panama and a shocking 2-1 loss at Trinidad and Tobago, the USMNT finished fifth in the CONCACAF Hexagonal.
Trinidad and Tobago Starting XI (4-5-1): Adrian Foncette — Alvin Jones, Daneil Cyrus, Curtis Gonzales, Tristan Hodge — Nathan Lewis, Leston Paul, Kevan George, Khaleem Hyland, Levi García — Shahdon Winchester
United States Starting XI (4-4-2 Diamond): Tim Howard — DeAndre Yedlin, Omar González, Matt Besler, Jorge Flores Villafaña — Michael Bradley — Paul Arriola, Darlington Nagbe — Christian Pulisic — Jozy Altidore, Bobby Wood
United States Eliminated From 2018 World Cup With 2-1 Loss At Trinidad & Tobago
There was a lot of talk about this match even prior to kick off. The Soca Warriors had to move the match from the capital because Hasely Crawford Stadium was having electrical issues. Ato Boldon Stadium had some issues of its own with a flooded pitch. The water was pumped out in time for kick off, though the pump could be heard on the broadcast.
The game started at a lethargic and slow pace. The Americans didn’t have much energy with a rough playing surface and poor atmosphere.
Things went from bland to bad just 17 minutes in. Trinidad had the ball moving with pace when a cross was sent in towards Winchester. Center back Omar González beat him to the ball, but he botched his first touch clearance. The ball went just past the reach of Goalkeeper Tim Howard and into the net for an own goal.
The United States tried to respond, but wasn’t very organized once they got into the final third.
The home side doubled their advantage when Alvin Jones struck a Paul Caligiuri-esque strike from at least 40 yards out past Howard and inside the far post.
Darlington Nagbe had the best chance of the half for the Yanks with a shot from just outside the box, but it sailed well over the bar. The half ended 2-0. Despite the scoreline, with Costa Rica and Mexico winning their games, the United States were still in third place in the Hexagonal.
The United States got just what they needed two minutes into the half. They were moving the ball well when Pulisic found some space at the top of the box. He shot the ball up and over Foncette to make it 2-1.
The Americans continued to push for a goal, throwing numbers forward. Bruce Arena subbed Clint Dempsey and Kellyn Acosta on in the second half. Trinidad relied on the counter attack to increase their lead.
Dempsey had a golden chance in the 77th minute, firing a shot off the post. If Foncette got a touch to it, it was by the finger tips. Dempsey had another good chance in the 83rd minutes with a quick one-two into the six yard box, but it was poked away.
Foncette made the save of the game in the 88th minute on a header by Bobby Wood. The shot was deflected just a foot wide of the post. The Americans could not muster a final goal. With Panama and Honduras both coming back to win their game, the United States were eliminated from World Cup contentions.
17′ Trinidad – Omar González (OG)
37′ Trinidad – Alvin Jones, assisted by Khaleem Hyland
47′ United States – Christian Pulisic, assisted by Darlington Nagbe
I’m honestly speechless. This was a pathetic performance against an inferior opponent. The other two countries got it done when it mattered most. Stay tuned to Last Word on Soccer for a more coherent response.