This game was not a friendly. Last night’s USA vs Trinidad and Tobago game was part of the path to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. With back to back goals by Jozy Altidore, and goals from Sacha Kljestan and Paul Arriola, the US dominated the Qualifying Semifinal match 4-0 on Tuesday night at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL.
The US secured first place in Group C of the Semifinal Round CONCACAF, and now qualifies to competed in “The Hex”.
After serving one-game suspensions, Michael Bradley and Michael Orozco are slated to join the team. DeAndre Yedlin was out due to suspension and Matt Besler departed camp to meet his new-born daughter. Bradley returned to partner with Sacha Kljestan in the middle, while Christian Pulisic started on the left wing.
From the start, Team USA was a bit sluggish. in the first 25 minutes as both teams felt each other out. In the 9th minute, Sacha Kljestan turned words goal on a quick midfield exchange and fed Christian Pulsar who was open on the left. the show was blocked by TTFA goalie Marvin Phillip, who had a long night.
in the 44th minute, Fabian Johnson began on the left, playing for Sacha Kljestan in the penalty area before returning a back heel to the left back in stride. Johnson then played for Christian Pulisic whose centering pass was heeled away by Radanfah Abu Bakr before Carlyle Mitchell took another swing. His clearance was blocked by Kljestan who quickly poked the ball in the lower, right corner. USA 1 TRI 0.
In the 59th minute, The Jozy Altidore show began. Fabian Johnson broke free down the left before feeding Altidore into the area. The MNT forward took a touch past his marker before firing a low shot inside the right post to double the advantage and make Altidore the MNT’s all-time leading scorer in World Cup Qualifying. USA 2 TRI 0
Altidore was at it again in the 62nd minute after taking advantage of an opening after a quick combination between Pulisic and Kljestan on the left saw Pulisic cross for Altidore at the right post. Jose had an easy tap-in, giving him his 16th all-time World Cup Qualifying goal. USA 3 TRI 0.
In the 71st minute, Pulisic intercepted a T&T pass in his own half and rushed upfield to the edge of the Trinidad box before laying the ball off to Jordan Morris who turned away from pressure and played the ball back to the center of the pitch for Sacha Kljestan to send it on to the feet of Jozy Altidore, who sent an incisive cross through the box for a sliding Pulisic to get a redirected shot on goal that was saved by Soca Warriors ‘keeper Marvin Phillip. The rebound fell to the onrushing Arriola who hit a one-time shot into the vacated net for his first World Cup Qualifying goal. USA 4, TRI 0 Final.
The USA reached milestones in this match:
- At 17 years, 353 days, Christian Pulisic is the youngest player in MNT history to start a FIFA World Cup qualifier, beating Jozy Altidore’s previous mark of 18 years, 343 days set on Sept. 1, 2001 vs. Honduras.
- Jozy Altidore’s 59th minute goal moved him past Clint Dempsey into first place on the MNT’s all-time World Cup Qualifying goals list with 15. His 62nd minute strike padded his lead over Dempsey, giving him 16.
- Tim Howard earned his 32nd World Cup Qualifying appearance, moving past Kasey Keller for the most all-time among MNT goalkeepers and into fourth in team history. Howard is 22-7-3 all-time in World Cup Qualifying.
- Captain Michael Bradley became the 12th player in MNT history to reach 30 World Cup Qualifying caps.
Next up for Team USA: The U.S. MNT gets set for CONCACAF’s Final Round of Qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup with an historic visit to take on Cuba in Havana on Friday, Oct. 7 on ESPN and Univision Networks.