Posts Tagged ‘Trinidad & Tobago’

Three More Points: US 1, Trinidad & Tobago 0

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TSG: Check back for the full review first thing in the morning if not sooner.

As Matthew excellently pointed out at half, the US wasn’t playing as a team in the first half and couldn’t figure out what style they were supposed to play — possession through the middle or a boomer-and-prayer.

The US did play dramatically different in the second half (but “dramatically” can only be used since the first half was so poor). Thankfully, one of Rico Clark’s two good touches all night was a wicked blast that bent away from keeper and found the back of the net. Then the US held on for another close victory against a supposedly inferior opponent.

In the second half, we did see the USMNT link some passes and hold possession. However, with the generally uneven and sloppy play versus El Salvador and again today, I kept thinking back to that Seinfeld episode where Jerry is at the rental car place and they ran out of cars.

Jerry: I don’t understand, I made a reservation, do you have my reservation?

Agent: Yes, we do, unfortunately we ran out of cars.

Jerry: But the reservation keeps the car here. That’s why you have the reservation.

Agent: I know why we have reservations.

Jerry: I don’t think you do. If you did, I’d have a car. See, you know how to take the reservation, you just don’t know how to *hold* the reservation and that’s really the most important part of the reservation, the holding. Anybody can just take them.

But can you put all the fault on the players? If your defense is struggling do you start a mid-field that is possessionally-challenged? (yes, I made that word up) The biggest thing I am left wondering is how this game would have been different if Feilhaber started. (And that isn’t coming from any undue adoration for guy, rather from the seemingly unique skill set he brings the team.)

On to the defense…perhaps I was a little harsh on the defense in the first half. Regardless, they did play better in the 2nd. Gooch seemed to play his way into the flow, was strong on headers and held-up well in his tough match-up versus Jones. Boca rebounded nicely. Meanwhile the wingbacks didn’t get any worse…which at this point, is a positive.

I’m leaving the full critique of Bob and Friends (Lando, Howard, Holden, etc.) to Matthew in the review, but I’ll just finish with this…

For at least the next 75 minutes or so, the US is at the top of the CONCACAF standings (yeah!), but this game is another in a disturbing trend of making things harder than they should have been. Or, on the other hand, this may be exactly what the USMNT is…a squad that is only marginally better than others in the top six of CONCACAF.

Which do you think?

US versus Trinidad and Tobago – Second Half

US eek out a win in a VERY boring game

US eek out a win in a VERY boring game

Disappointing play from the US but they get the three points which is whats important. Hopefully they can use their remaining games to capture the sort of form they had at the confed cup. Bradley should use those games to test out some of the the fringe layers. I would like to see Torres and Holden especially, get a longer run out.


92: Everyone looks like they have taken too much NyQuil. Slow and sloppy all around. Wow this might be the US’s first away win in a long time. Really sloppy and sluggish play in the T&T box. US should have scored there. Late shot from T&T that Howard watches go wide.

3 minutes of extra time…PLEASE END THIS

89: Holden gets the ball out wide and sends a great cross in that Donovan sends over the bar from the 6 yard box. He should have done better. Impressive from Holden though. T&T showing lots of heart though and are attacking hard but to no avail.

86: Ching with a nice run down the wing but his cross is behind Holden. T&T counter well but danger is averted.

83: Dempsey off and Holden in, He was impressive against El Sal. Hopefully he can continue his fine play in this game.

81: T&T sends in a nice cross but everyone falls over and it goes for a goal kick

79: Good shot from Dempsey goes sailing wide. At least he’s alive. US gets a corner which is POORLY taken by Donovan. That was horrendous from the US talisman.

77: Ching on for Davies. Opportunity for Ching to get  in Bradleys WC plans. He won’t make the starting 11 but he could be useful as a sub.

72: Another substitution for T&T…though it flashed too quick for me to figure out who it was.

68: T&T playing sloppily now and the US are beginning to take control off the game. Just as i say that Dempsey gives the ball away…Sigh

67: Tinto off and Daniel in for T&T. Game is back to its lull.

65: Carlos Edwards tests Howard with a stinging drive but Howard is equal to the task. He has been T&T’s best player this game.

63: US Substitution, Altidore off: Felihaber In

61: GOAL! US SCORES…Finally. Ricardo Clark with a cracker of a shot seevral shots outside the box. Great goal but somewhat undeserved. No matter US up 1-0

60: US looking to make some subs. Hopefully this will ignite SOMETHING into the USMNT. Dempsey hopefully will be out as he seems have some form of delibatating flu.

58: Gooch with a silly foul and T&T get a free kick in a dangerous position, but free kick is blasted high and wide.

57: US resorted back to the first half ways and T&T becoming more and more confident. Pace of game has stepped up though. US are attacking more which is good. Defense however is still shambolic BUT holding up

52: The Soca warriors looking increasingly more dangerous on all set pieces and get a nice header on goal but is cleared off the line.

50: US playing much better now but Donovan seems to take the ball of Dempsey just as he is about to shoot…but then sends a nice cross which is hacked away by a T&T defender

48: Better from the US as Donovan (who is playing well) sends a cross in, that a T&T defender gets a slight nod otherwise Jozy would have a clear shot to goal.

46: TWEEEEET…and the second half is under way. Hopefully the US will come out with a little more purpose. They need to attack more and keep the ball. Its the same as the last match except they were sharper (believe it or not) against El Sal. Basically the USMNT needs a swift kick in the A$$. Maybe like Mark said, the introduction of some players like Holden can inject some much needed pace and drive to the game.

Half time can’t come soon enough for the US. Bradley will have some stern words for the players. Refs are terrible too. T&T playing well.

45: Donovan played through beautifully by Altidore but shot is excellently saved by Ince.

42: Steel drums beginning to get louder. US give up a silly free kick in a dangerous area, About the same distance and position from the last one. Edwards and Noel over it. Another pretty kick but this one is agonizingly wide. Nice hot from Noel.

40: Davies and Altidore have a nice partnership going with the former sending an inviting cross in. No one there to meet it. Is it really hot there? could that be the reason for the USMNT sluggish play?

39: US build up nicely but a deflected shot from Donovan goes slowly wide. No corner though…everyone including ref and linesmen asleep at this point.

37: T&T free kick. Looking to put this into a box. Feekick brings out a great save from Howard. Lovely shot from Jones i believe. T&T gaining in confidence. US need to do something.

34: More shoddy defending from the US results in a T&T corner. US lucky here. Bradley will have plenty to say, nay shout at the US players during halftime.

33: US defenders are still letting their opponents run at them instead of challenging the ball…dangerous way of playing. T&T crossing well but Bocanegro defends well with a diving header.

30: WOW all sorts of excitement in 30 seconds. T&T have shot which bounces of the woodwork and the US counter with a cannon of a shot from Altidore but straight at Ince, the T&T keeper. US waking up and playing better.

24: Altidore ties to high jump a T&T defender and lands smack on his back…ouch but the US win a free kick. Nothing much of it. US play is sluggish at best. T&T player gets a yellow card for a reckless challenge. Free kick is pretty terrible. Man i hate to slam the US team but they really need to win this game and to do it in an emphatic manner.


Argentina down 1-0 against Paraguay…wow…Poor ol Diego

20: OH a shot…ambitious by Davies and straight at the keeper…This is the most exciting thing that has happened all game.

18: US win a corner. Is there a microphone in Donovans shoe? on the flag post? US winning multiple corners but cannot do anything with them.

15: US wins a corner…This game is bordering on boring. I have a feeling if the US scores first T&T will fold…BUT other way around and this becomes an interesting game. Corner is terrible and T&T counter but get whistled for offside…close one.

12: Kenwyn Jones sends in an inviting ball in from the wing but no one is there to meet it. T&T looking mildly dangerous on the counter. US and I might need a redbull at halftime

10: US beginning to wake up and Davies makes a nice run and wins a corner. Donovan kicks straight to keeper. T&T on the breakaway but Howard grabs the ball well.

Looks like T&T are up for it tonight and their hustle is stifling the US creativity.

7: Donovan gets caught in possession and T&T work the ball but Jones shoots into row Z.

5: US really need to step up their play. In order for them to consistently play with the big boys they need to OWN the teams they should dominate. US get a free kick about 20 yards outside the box. Shot goes wide by Dempsey.

3: A lot of route 1 football going on over here…just booting the ball and hoping…Hopefully this is not a telling sign for the game. The crowd is non existent…sigh

1 minute: PEEP PEEP…US kicks off

CALYPSO version of star spangled banner…NICE! wonder if they will do a island version of “when the saints go marching in”

This whole captains addressing fair play thing is weird. Did they do this in the other games? Both captains said it with such heartfelt passion!

WOAH…stadium is empty…who the hell is making all that noise? stadium is now silent…sigh

Crowds are banging on their drums, rooting the soca warriors on. If US win they will automatically qualify for the WC and not be in that dreaded 4th spot which will have to play in a playoff game against at this point either Columbia versus Argentina.

Howdy All,

Looks like a pretty strong line up with Clark coming in for Felhaber. Good chance for him to prove himself. Also good for the US to secure a win under hostile conditions. Gooch is back after a one game suspension and that will hopefully shore up the line for the US which was frankly pretty dodgy against El Salvador.

In other WCQ news, England become the 10th team to qualify for the WC with Spain the 11th. Scotland and Belgium are eliminated. Portugal still have a slim chance and France survived a draw with 10 men against Serbia.

USMNT Starting XI (vs. Trinidad & Tobago)

Welcome Back! Now get to work.

Welcome Back! Now get to work.

Here’s your starting XI:

K: Tim Howard

DEF: Spector, Onyewu, Bocanegra, Bornstein

MID: Dempsey, Bradley, Clark, Donovan

S: Davies, Altidore

SUBS: Guzan, Marshall, Cherundolo, Feilhaber, Holden, Torres, Ching


Game Day: US vs. Trinidad & Tobago

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[TSG: We will be adding news and notes in this post until game time, so check back throughout the day for updates. The Starting XI will be posted just before game time and then Shaun kicks off his live blog of the action. We’ll also have analysis at half and soon after the final whistle. All followed by our thorough game review.]

The Yanks are coming!

The Yanks are coming

Opponent: Trinidad & Tobago (Soca Warriors)

Location: Halsey Crawford Stadium (Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago)

Game Time: 7:00pm Eastern (coverage begins at 6:30pm)

Coverage: ESPN Classic (tv), (web)


  • Remember, if you’re watching online at ESPN you need to make sure your internet service provider supports ESPN360. Also, log on early. ESPN keeps their stream free of nasty buffering by delaying the game slightly the more folks that log on. So if you’re early, you’ll be delayed by 1-5 seconds–if you’re late, you may be delayed by as much as 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Don’t look for anything too creative in the back four today. Allegedly, Bradley let on after yesterday’s practice that the “two primary possibilities” are 1) Gooch and Marshall in the middle with Boca on the left and 2) Gooch and Boca in the middle with Bornstein on the left. (No mention of RB in the post.)
  • Charlies Davies fully participated in the 45-minute practice session yesterday. Unless he is really sore today, we expect him to start, but it’s doubtful Davies goes the full 90.
  • For all the talk about elevation at Azteca and Rio Tinto the US plays this game basically at sea level. So, no excuses for tiring down the stretch if the US considers fitness a strength, right? (FYI: The weather forecast for game time is 80 degrees with a 30% chance of rain.)
  • Do you think US Soccer wonders how U.S. Open tennis can get 25 hours of coverage a day on ESPN while the USMNT is relegated to ESPN Classic (again) for a crucial qualifier to the biggest single-sport tournament in the solar system?
  • TSG wants a full-on rip from beyond the 18′ for a US goal today. We’ve seen counters, headers, and goalmouth scrambles from the US senior team–how about Stu-Holden-in-Foxboro bomb today?
  • One thing I try to do before games is find news written from the other side about the forthcoming match. This one was a gem this morning, specifically because apparently the way the US scores goals is “our barging play through centre field.” Now, I don’t know what that means, but I don’t think it’s the US style.
  • Fool’s Day highlights….should have included these earlier. I can watch that first goal over and over again (and let’s remember Ching’s flick-on header as the catalyst)

Anything to add?

US vs. Trinidad & Tobago – New Dynamics

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First off, some acknowledgment on El Salvador.

Absolutely first rate commentating by my brother on the review of the El Salvador match. Spot on with his analysis in my opinion. We only differed on Mike Bradley’s impact as I expect even more from our center mids.

Great job by Shaun–a Brit I might add–in keeping the in-game minutes. It’s great, especially on this publication, to get a more impartial view to how the game is running.

Did Marshall play big enough to earn another start?

Did Marshall play big enough to earn another start?

As for the US’s play against El Salvador–I had many of my questions answered and a few more were cultivated.  For example, can Chad Marshall add enough offense to be considered in the center back rotation? Speaking of that rotation, Captain Carlos played an exceedingly strong game mentally with a few blemishes physically, how does his role evolve?

Are we seeing Landon effect on our wingback evaluation? While Bornstein was rusty against top competition, he clearly did an admirable job of containment with help from Landon. Conversely, Spector’s play was spotty, in the absence of Donovan. Was it an anomaly or was Spector’s play dicey with the lack of LD to provide cover?

Have we seen the beginning of Ric0 Clark’s diminishing pitch time?

Fresh questions from a game where the US fan should have expected a more dominating performance from the home team. And let’s not forget another small note: “Benny! Benny! Benny!”

With these thoughts in mind and Rio Tinto still fresh in our memory, let’s get to our T&T preview.

The Port-of-Spain pitch presents an extremely different game dynamic for Team USA vs. T&T. And dynamic is the word we’ll use here as we process through the preview.

Soca Warrior namesake

Soca Warrior namesake

Quick aside: Has anyone else wondered the origins of T&T’s phenomenal nickname, the Soca Warriors. It simply, in basic terms, means, “dancing warriors” as “soca” is a form of Caribbean dancing that has its roots in T&T through “Lord Shorty” considered the father of Soca. (Shame he missed the MTV generation.)

Okay, back to the preview and dynamics. The US will face a decidedly different team and offensive attack. T&T comes in with nary a clue on how to navigate to the World Cup 2010. After a coaching change a few months ago, that also saw famed star Dwight Yorke assume an assistant role, the Soca Warriors come in, in last place in the group and attempting to revamp their entire game strategy and approach–not a good combination if you’re trying to survive. The new look Warriors boast a more offensive game than earlier this year (Altidore’s trifecta led to a 3-0 Fool’s Day drubbing in Nashville, Tenn.) but that offensive game has opened up even more holes in the transition and defensive side that the U.S. can exploit. Honduras took kindly to those holes this past weekend to the tune of 4-1.

Continue reading

Davies Update, DeMerit Out vs. T&T, Highlights

Davies Update

Charlie Davies continues to update folks on his injury via Twitter. Yesterday, he mentioned that it was stiff and sore and sought treatment three different times. And here’s the latest update from the man himself:

Davies Update

DeMerit & Casey Don’t Travel

According to the MNT blog as, Jay DeMerit (groin) and Connor Casey (wisdom teeth / removed from roster) did not travel with the squad to Port of Spain for Wednesday’s match versus Trinidad & Tobago.

We’ll have the full preview tomorrow, but let us know what you think the starting back four should look like in light of Saturday’s struggles and DeMerit’s continued absence. Obviously, Gooch and Boca will be in there somewhere. That would leave  all kinds of combos possible among the remaining pool of Spector (maybe his USMNT debut at LB?), Dolo, Marshall and even Goodson or…umm…Bornstein.

Official US Soccer highlight reel from the 2-1 victory over El Salvador

Click here to view the 7-minute package on


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