Kenwyne Jones saw a first half header crash off the cross bar and a Nathan Lewis strike was ruled a close offside as Trinidad and Tobago suffered a 2-0 defeat to the United States in a loss which T&T head coach Dennis Lawrence said was caused by individual errors in World Cup qualifying action at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Thursday night.
US head coach Bruce Arena later credited T&T for being a well prepared and organised team which made the game difficult for his side.
Christian Pulisic scored twice, in the 52nd and 62nd minutes to close off T&T which held its own and frustrated the hosts for long periods before a sold out crowd of just around 19,100.
After a quiet opening few minutes, Clint Dempsey fired a warning shot in the 15th minute, receiving at the top of the box but shooting just high of the bar with a curled, left-footed shot.
T&T goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams was in fine form on the night. John Brooks called him into action with right-footed shot from just outside the box in the 25th minute, but Williams did well to get down and keep the ball out.
Jozy Altidore forced a save moments later after a fine move down the left found the burly forward making a late run into the box.
Jones nearly put the visitors in front on 33 minutes, beating Tim Howard to Khaleem Hyland’s lofted ball into the area before firing his powerful header off the crossbar and back into play. Before that, Hyland had a long range effort go inches wide of the right post after a turnover by the Americans. And Carlos Edwards also got into a good position on the right of goal but opted to shoot, hitting over bar, instead of playing into the box for Kevin Molino or Lewis.
Williams made an impressive double save three minutes later, first defending a long drive from Jorge Villafana before denying Altidore’s header from close range moments later.
Howard palmed away Hyland’s low shot from outside of the box in the 42nd minute, showing quick reflexes to get down after seeing the ball late.
After the break, the United States finally found their opener seven minutes in. Darlington Nagbe’s one-two with Dempsey played the Portland Timbers midfielder to the goal line, where he fed a pass out to DeAndre Yedlin who found a sliding Pulisic at the goalmouth to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead.
T&T looked to have an immediate equaliser when Nathan Lewis volleyed home a pinpoint cross from the right, but the goal was whistled for offsides.
Pulisic added his second of the match 10 minutes later — the Dortmund teenager receiving a ball from Altidore down the right channel and squeezing his right-footed shot past Williams at the near post with only the keeper to beat.
T&T had a couple decent chances in the second half but could not get on the scoresheet.
Head coach Lawrence said he could not fault his players for their efforts on the night.
“I thought we were well organised and I cannot fault the players for effort tonight. Our own individual errors cost us the two goals and the match,” Lawrence said in the post-match press conference.
“I felt the game was a very close game. There was hardly any difference between both teams, especially in the first half of the game. I think the altitude affected the tempo of the game, both teams were struggling with it. Our individual errors is probably what cost us. Us in possession, giving away the ball unnecessarily which we left us exposed. the US took advantage of it. Our goalkeeper had to make a couple saves every now and again which obviously he is there for. We have to think about the next game now,” Lawrence added.
“We were unlucky Kenwyne hit the bar from a cross. I thought Nathan’s goal was very, very close and could have gone either way. Unfortunately it went against us again.”
US Head Coach Arena added “Well it was not an easy game. I think Trinidad was well prepared for the match, had a good tactical game and played well. On the other hand we played a solid 90 minutes. Some mistakes in the first half defensively, on a couple crosses, giving them a bit too much room to cross the ball. We missed a couple good opportunities but got a little bit better in the first half. We had two good goals by Christian.. I think there were other chances we could have finished. Their ‘keeper did well. But I thought they (T&T) did a terrific job. The games are tough.”
“I was frustrated. I think we were frustrated going in at half time,” Arena added.
T&T now sit on three points in the cellar position while the win gives Bruce Arena’s side, who came into the night in fourth place, seven points from five matches. Mexico moved to thirteen points with a 3-0 win at home to Honduras while Panama picked up a point in Costa Rica with a 0-0 draw.
Trinidad and Tobago (3-4-2-1): 21.Jan-Michael Williams (GK); 5.Daneil Cyrus, 4.Sheldon Bateau, 17.Mekeil Williams; 11.Carlos Edwards, 19.Kevan George, 8.Khaleem Hyland (23.Leston Paul 75th - Yellow 76), 3.Joevin Jones (12.Shahdon Winchester 67th); 10.Kevin Molino, 7.Nathan Lewis; 9.Kenwyne Jones (capt) (20.Jamille Boatswain 81st).
Unused substitutes: 1.Marvin Phillip (GK), 22.Adrian Foncette (GK), 2.Aubrey David, 6.Radanfah Abu Bakr, 13.Hughtun Hector, 14.Andre Boucaud, 15.Curtis Gonzales, 16.Alvin Jones, 18.Hashim Arcia.
Coach: Dennis Lawrence
United States (4-1-3-2): 1.Tim Howard (GK); 2.DeAndre Yedlin, 17.Geoff Cameron, 6.John Brooks, 21.Jorge Villafana; 4.Michael Bradley (capt); 15.Darlington Nagbe, 10.Christian Pulisic, 23.Fabian Johnson (11.Alejandro Bedoya 73rd - Yellow 85); 8.Clint Dempsey (16.Kellyn Acosta 60th), 17.Jozy Altidore (9.Bobby Wood 82nd).
Unused substitutes: 12.Brad Guzan (GK), 22.Nick Ramando (GK), 3.Omar Gonzales, 5.Tim Ream, 7.DaMarcus Beasley, 13.Dax McCarty, 14.Paul Arriola, 18.Jordan Morris, 19.Graham Zusi.
Coach: Bruce Arena
Referee: Oscar Moncada (Honduras).
Dennis Lawrence at Post Match Press Conference - T&T vs USA
United States 2 (Christian Pulisic 52, 62) v Trinidad and Tobago 0
Costa Rica 0 v Panama 0
Mexico 3 (Alanis Oswaldo 35, Hirving Lozano 63, Raul Jiminez 66) v Honduras 0
# - P W D L F A Pts - (-/+)
1. Mexico 5 4 1 0 8 1 13 (+7)
2. Costa Rica 5 2 2 1 7 3 8 (+4)
3. United States 5 2 1 2 10 7 7 (+3)
4. Panama 5 1 3 1 2 2 6 (0)
5. Honduras 5 1 1 3 4 12 4 (-8)
6. Trinidad & Tobago 5 1 0 4 2 8 3 (-6)
Pulisic scores two goals as U.S. soccer team tops Trinidad and Tobago.
By Associated Press.
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. | Christian Pulisic rescued the United States with a pair of second-half goals, and the Americans beat Trinidad and Tobago 2-0 on Thursday night to move into third place at the halfway point in the final round of World Cup qualifying.
Pulisic, an 18-year-old phenom from Hershey, Pennsylvania, ended a frustrating start for the U.S. offense with a goal in the 52nd minute, then added another in the 62nd.
“It just took us a little while to get going,” Pulisic said.
Pulisic made his international debut 15 months ago and has seven goals and five assists in 15 appearances, including four goals and three assists in his last four contests.
“He’s having fun,” U.S. coach Bruce Arena said. “He’s a natural for the game. He sees the game very well.”
After crashing to an 0-2 start in the hexagonal of the North and Central American and Caribbean region, the U.S. is back among the top three, which earn berths at next year’s tournament in Russia. Mexico leads with 10 points, followed by Costa Rica, which has seven and is ahead of the U.S. on goal difference. Panama (five), Honduras (four) and Trinidad (three) trail.
The fourth-place team advances to a playoff against Asia’s No. 5 nation.
The Americans have three wins and three draws since Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann as coach in November. The team’s biggest test in Arena’s second stint comes Sunday at Mexico.
“It’s going to be a tough one down there,” Pulisic said.
Kenwyne Jones nearly put the Soca Warriors up in the 33rd minute, beating goalkeeper Tim Howard to a cross but putting a header off the crossbar. Clint Dempsey John Brooks and Jozy Altidore all had good chances, but T&T keeper Jan-Michael Williams made several sprawling saves.
After helping Borussia Dortmund win last month’s German Cup final, becoming the youngest American to earn a medal for a European club, Pulisic had another breakthrough moment with his second two-goal game for the U.S.
Michael Bradley forced a turnover, DeAndre Yedlin recovered the ball and passed to Darlington Nagbe, who went around a defender and dribbled upfield. He passed to Clint Dempsey, who sent the ball back wide to Yedlin. He crossed to Pulisic, who slid and scored from 4 yards with his left foot, then sprinted for a corner and slid on both knees to celebrate.
Trinidad’s Nathan Lewis beat Howard off the ensuing kickoff, but Yedlin had stepped up, causing an offside call that disallowed the goal.
Pulisic started the run that led to the second goal, passing to Yedlin, who sent the ball to Altidore, Pulisic burst past Kavan George and slotted in a right-footed shot from about 10 yards to Williams’ short side.
“He’s a fantastic player,” Trinidad coach Dennis Lawrence said.
Bobby Wood nearly got a third goal, hitting a post shortly after replacing Altidore in the 83rd.
The U.S. is unbeaten against Trinidad in home qualifiers, winning nine matches and drawing one and outscoring the Soca Warriors 21-2 — including 17 in a row since 1989.
The game at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park is at about 5,200 feet, which will prepare the Americans for Sunday night’s qualifier at Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium, which is around 7,820 feet above sea level.
This time, there was no need for snow shovels in Denver. The weather was partly cloudy and 82 degrees, a contrast for the Snow Classico in March 2013, a 1-0 win over Costa Rica.
Pulisic scores twice to lead US to 2-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago.
By Steven Goff (mercurynews).
COMMERCE CITY, COLO. — This was supposed to be the lighter assignment in a compact stretch of 2018 World Cup qualifiers, a home task undertaken by a full-strength lineup tangling with a last-place foe before venturing into an archrival’s den this weekend.
But as Thursday’s match crept into the second half and a sellout crowd at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park fidgeted, the U.S. men’s national soccer team found itself locked in a scoreless duel with Trinidad and Tobago.
It didn’t stay that way much longer.
The ringleader was, to the surprise of fewer and fewer observers here and abroad, the unit’s youngest member, 18-year-old Christian Pulisic, who scored twice in a 10-minute span for a 2-0 victory.
The Hershey, Pennsylvania, midfielder was the benefactor of elegant work by teammates in the 52nd minute and finished an angled opportunity in the 62nd to continue a spellbinding start to his international career.
Pulisic, who plays professionally for German titan Borussia Dortmund, has scored four goals in his past four U.S. appearances and seven in 15 matches since joining the senior squad 15 months ago.
With a victory at the midway point of the schedule, the United States (2-2-1, seven points) moved into the thick of things in CONCACAF’s six-nation final round, pending the outcome of Thursday’s other matches: Mexico vs. Honduras and Costa Rica vs. Panama. Three teams will earn automatic berths in next summer’s World Cup in Russia, with a fourth entering a playoff.
By dodging a scare against Trinidad and Tobago (1-4-0, three points), the Americans will feel a whole lot better about their visit to Azteca Stadium on Sunday to face front-running Mexico.
On Pulisic’s first goal, Darlington Nagbe unlocked T&T’s midfield with tight footwork and played a combination with Clint Dempsey at the top of the box. Nagbe tracked the return pass and touched the ball to DeAndre Yedlin, for a piercing cross into the six-yard box. A sliding Pulisic guided it into the net from four yards.
A moment later, T&T’s Nathan Lewis was ruled offside on an apparent equalizer.
On the second goal, Pulisic led the charge out of the U.S. end before connecting with Yedlin, who supplied Jozy Altidore. The big striker’s one-timed through ball met Pulisic in stride on the right side of the box. Jan-Michael Williams cut down the angle, but Pulisic beat him to the near post.
Coach Bruce Arena’s lineup and formation mirrored the set-up for the Venezuela friendly last weekend, with one exception: Altidore, a late arrival to training camp. He partnered up front with Dempsey.
The only injury concern was John Brooks, but after resuming regular workouts this week, he paired in central defense with Geoff Cameron. They were flanked by Yedlin and Jorge Villafaña.
Pulisic reprised the playmaking role in front of captain Michael Bradley, with Nagbe and Fabian Johnson on the wings. Tim Howard, performing in his MLS home stadium, was in goal for the 115th international match.
With the onus on his team to win at home, Arena fielded a proactive lineup. Given the difficult circumstances in Mexico, he plans to make several changes and probably install a more defensive alignment.
Hanging by a thread in the CONCACAF race, the visiting Soca Warriors hoped to catch the Americans on the counterattack with Joevin Jones (Seattle Sounders) or through set pieces or crosses with striker Kenwyne Jones (Atlanta United).
It took less than two minutes for T&T to go after Pulisic, just as Panama did in a punishing March qualifier. Khaleem Hyland grabbed him by the shoulders in the center circle and swung him to the grass.
The visitors put nine players behind the ball, clogged the central artery and challenged the Americans to solve the puzzle. They began to find their way: Dempsey missed by a whisker; Villafaña combined with Altidore for a close-in header; and Altidore liberated Pulisic for a long run and high effort.
The best opportunity, however, belonged to the Soca Warriors as Kenwyne Jones beat Howard to a high ball and headed off the crossbar in the 33rd minute.
Williams made consecutive quality saves on Villafaña and Altidore, and with T&T gaining confidence going forward, Howard had to turn away Hyland’s low bid, leaving the match alarmingly scoreless for the Americans.
Then the second half began, and Pulisic and Co. got started.