|United States||Trinidad & Tobago|
FIFA World Cup™ Qualifier
|2009-04-01||LP Field||Nashville, TN, United States||27959|
Altidore hat-trick sink Warriors to bottom of table
Altidore Hat Trick Provides U.S. Men's National Team With 3-0 Victory Against Trinidad & Tobago. -
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Forward Jozy Altidore became the youngest player in history to score a hat trick for the U.S. Men’s National Team, tallying all three goals tonight for the U.S. Men’s National Team in a dominating 3-0 victory against Trinidad & Tobago in front of a raucous crowd of 27,959 at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. With the victory, the U.S. continued to hold their place at the top of the hexagonal in the final round of qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Altidore had midfielder Landon Donovan to thank for his record-setting performance, as the USA’s all-time leading scorer set up the 19-year-old forward for all three of his strikes while increasing his record-setting tally to 35 career assists. The first connection between the two occurred in the 13th minute, and the duo hooked up two more times in the second half as the U.S. continued their dominance against Trinidad & Tobago at home, now 7-0-1 overall in World Cup qualifying.
With Mexico losing 3-1 to Honduras, and Costa Rica posting a 1-0 win against El Salvador, the USA’s seven points from three games provides them a one-point advantage over second place Costa Rica. The top two teams in the group will face off on June 3 in Matchday 4, with the U.S. traveling to Costa Rica for their second match on the road in the final round. The match is three days earlier than the rest of the hexagonal due to the need to travel to South Africa in preparation for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. The second match for the U.S. on the double fixture date will be against Honduras on June 6 at Soldier Field in Chicago (tickets). Two days later, the U.S. will depart for South Africa.
"Full credit to the players," said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley, who continued the team’s unblemished 6-0-0 home record in 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying. "After the last match we were certainly pleased with the push we made when we were behind, but there were things in that match that we felt were not indicative of what we're all about. The players felt strongly about that, and I think you could see the response from the team from the beginning tonight."
Altidore’s goals marked the first time in his career in which he has scored goals in consecutive games, having scored the USA’s first goal against El Salvador in the 2-2 draw on Saturday, March 28, at Estadio Cuscatlán. It also marked the first time that the U.S. has produced multiple goal scorers in three consecutive home matches, with Sacha Kljestan notching a hat trick in the 3-2 win against Sweden on Jan. 24, 2009, and Michael Bradley scoring a brace in the 2-0 win against Mexico on Feb. 11 in Columbus.
“When you have 11 guys on the field working hard and working together as a team, an individual can have a good night. That's just how it happens, “said Altidore, who increased his tally to five goals in 2010 World Cup qualifying. “When the team plays well, individuals will shine, but at the same time we have to keep the mentality that things aren't easy in CONCACAF. These are good teams to play against and sometimes they're tough to break down, as you saw tonight. I just want to keep going forward and keep working hard and hopefully good things will happen.”
Bradley made a handful of changes from the lineup that started the 2-2 draw against El Salvador four nights earlier, deploying DaMarcus Beasley at left back behind Landon Donovan as a left-sided midfielder. Goalkeeper Tim Howard returned to the starting lineup after serving a one-match suspension for accumulation of yellow cards to earn his seventh career shutout in FIFA World Cup qualifying. Three-time World Cup veteran Pablo Mastroeni also returned to the starting lineup, while Altidore earned his fourth start in qualifying.
Despite being the aggressors from the opening whistle, the U.S. came close to an ominous beginning when a bouncing back pass by Oguchi Onyewu gave Howard some trouble and his one-time clearance went straight at the feet of Stern John. Fortunately, John wasn’t expecting the ball and it deflected off his legs to go wide right of the goal.
The first good chance for the U.S. came in the eighth minute, when a through ball was deflected into the air near the top of the box, falling to Dempsey. He headed it into the penalty area for a charging Ching, the forward doing well to chase the ball down and hold off his defender and slip a dangerous ball across the goal mouth, but it was just out of the reach of Altidore for what could have been an easy tap-in.
Altidore would be in the right place at the right time five minutes later to secure a lead the U.S. would never relinquish. Bocanegra got the ball into the attack with a long ball up the left flank, and four touches later the ball was in the back of T&T’s net. Rising to meet the Bocanegra service, Ching deftly headed the ball to Donovan, who brought it down with his chest and inside the box before slipping a pass across the six-yard box for Altidore to bury with one touch past a helpless Clayton Ince.
Altidore almost doubled the score in the 27th minute after Bradley sent a perfectly weighted cross behind the defense and onto the chest of Altidore near the corner of the six-yard box. He tried to chip the goalkeeper as Ince was rushing out, but the deft attempt dipped over the bar.
Trinidad & Tobago had a handful of chances, including a dangerous chance in the 33rd minute for veteran Stern John. With his back to goal, the seasoned player brought it down with his chest and hit a volley that went wide right of Howard’s goal. Overall, the Soca Warriors finished with only a single shot on goal.
The U.S. had two great sequences back-to-back in the 41st and 42nd minutes, but amazingly wasn’t able to double the lead going into halftime. The first opportunity was created by Beasley slipping Ching into the left side of the penalty area. Ching drove a cross into the six-yard area for Altidore, but his left-footed touch from four yards out let him down and the ball rose agonizingly over the crossbar. Keeping the ball in the area after the goal kick, a through ball for Beasley was deflected back out on the left side of the penalty area right to Donovan. He hit a swerving cross back towards Beasley, who directed a header on frame but straight into the waiting hands of Ince.
The side went into the locker room with a 1-0 lead at halftime, an advantage that has proved almost insurmountable during the Bradley era. The victory increases the team’s record to 16-0-1 when leading at the half. Bradley now boasts a 24-8-4 career record, and 15-1-3 tally against CONCACAF opponents.
ProZone Match Analysis
GP W D L PF PA PD Pts
Warriors go down in Nashville
Davis: Winners And Losers From U.S.-Trinidad.
By: Noah Davis (Goal.Com).
Noah Davis breaks down who came out on top and on bottom after the U.S.'s 3-0 win over T&T.
On the strength of a Jozy Altidore hat trick and three assists from Landon Donovan, the United States Men's National Team waltzed out of Nashville, Tennessee with a 3-0 victory over an overmatched Trinidad and Tobago in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2010 World Cup. It was a deserved scoreline for Bob Bradley's squad, which suffered a setback over the weekend with a 2-2 draw in El Salvador. The win leaves the U.S. in first place of the group on seven points, one ahead of Costa Rica, and in a good spot to secure passage to South Africa.
Brian Ching: If, after watching last night's performance, you still don't think the Houston Dynamo forward deserves a spot in the Starting XI, you should consider taking up another sport. I hear the Connecticut women's basketball team is having an epic season. Altidore got the goals, Donovan the assists, but -- as usual -- Ching did the hard work to make it all happen. His header on Carlos Bocanegra's long ball was a thing of beauty, dropping perfectly to Donovan who took two touches and slotted it across for Altidore's first goal. Throughout the match, Ching (along with Pablo Mastroeni) did the little things the U.S. needs to win. Call him the Shane Battier of the American team, the No Stats All-Star. And keep him on the pitch.
Carlos Edwards: T and T struggled throughout but Edwards more than held his own on the right flank. He abused DaMarcus Beasley a handful of times and presented one of his team's few threats on the American goal. The Sunderland man helped on defense as well, although the one blemish on his night came midway through the first half when he succumbed to pressure from Altidore and coughed up the ball just outside the T and T box. The chance came to nothing, however, and Edwards walked away with his head held high.
Donovan as Distributor: With three assists on Wednesday and one against Mexico in February, the U.S.'s all-time leading scorer now has four helpers in his last three National Team games (and 35 in his career). His passing vision, always good, continues to improve as he matures as a player. On the ball, Donovan has a calmness about him that allows the attacker to pick his spots and deliver the ball with pinpoint accuracy. If Bradley continues the "Donovan as left midfielder" experiment, his star should find the space he needs to work.
The Backheel: Did I see what I think I did? Could it be? Yes, I believe the team showed a bit of attacking flair in Nashville. While the Americans continue to love the long ball, they also demonstrated a willingness to experiment with the backheel and other creativity. On the right, Clint Dempsey and Frankie Hejduk worked these exchanges successfully multiple times, while Michael Bradley had a couple pretty touches in the middle. While the results weren't there -- and the opponent was off its game -- it's nice to see some confidence and inventiveness in the attacking game.
Jonathan Bornsetein/Heath Pearce: The days of the pair platooning at left back look to be over. While Beasley didn't do enough to show he's the answer (see: Edwards, Carlos) the move shows Bradley's willingness to experiment at the position, something he's been reluctant to do previously. With Jonathan Spector and Jay DeMerit rounding into shape, the American coach now has options. Given Oguchi Onyewu's struggles at centerback last night, moving Carlos Bocanegra over probably isn't the solution, but how about giving the Energizer Bunny that is Hedjuk a shot and putting Spector or Marvell Wynne at right back? The possibilities are endless. They don't include Bornstein or Pearce, however.
Anthony Wolfe: Of all the Soca Warriors' failings, Wolfe's were the most obvious. The defender flubbed multiple touches and was consistently beaten by almost every American who came into his territory. The U.S. spent most of the night running down the left flank essentially unimpeded -- both the first goal and Altidore's missed tap in shortly after started there -- and you can look at the right back as the reason why. T and T wasn't winning this match, but Wolfe's play did much to seal that fate. (One question: Will Donovan look as good playing left midfielder against a better defender?)
Donovan as Goal Scorer: After being shut out again on Wednesday night, Donovan has just three tallies for the U.S. National Team since the beginning of 2008. Not a bad total, but you might expect more from the skilled attacker. As referenced above, he's morphing into a distributor -- and succeeding in the role -- but a bit more selfishness could be in order for the U.S.'s best finisher.
A Sense of Urgency: It's simple: When you go up 1-0 early and are dominating, you need to put another ball into the net and finish the job. You could argue the Americans were unlucky not to get another tally in the first half, but the point is that they didn't. To come out flat after halftime and let T and T dictate play for a bit is even more inexcusable. After watching the Red, White, and Blue let up against Mexico after Rafael Marquez's red card and the general lack of passion against El Salvador, you have to wonder about the U.S.'s proverbial killer instinct.
Player Ratings: USA 3-0 Trinidad & Tobago.
By: Greg Lalas (Goal.com).
Hat-trick hero Jozy Altidore tops the rankings, but his frontrunning partner, Brian Ching, is right there with him after another strong supporting performance.
Tim Howard: 6. Untested from start to finish. T&T recorded just one shot on goal.
DaMarcus Beasley: 5.5. Playing an unfamiliar position at left back, looked to get into the attack in the first half. Faded as the second half came and couldn’t keep up with Carlos Edwards.
Carlos Bocanegra: 6. Simple and clean as a good Sancerre. Probably should’ve done better with a second-half header that missed the mark.
Oguchi Onyewu: 5.5. Struggled with his touch and his distribution in the first half, but was strong in the air battling Kenwyne Jones for high balls. Not the easiest feat.
Frankie Hejduk: 7. Active and fearless getting up the right flank. His crosses are still hit or miss, but made a brilliant tackle to stop a dangerous-looking T&T break in the second half.
Landon Donovan: 7. Good run and pass to set up the first goal; a better run and pass to set up the second. Three assists could see Donovan permanently at the left midfield position.
Michael Bradley: 6. Comfortable on the ball, while playing his most defensive game in recent memory. Probably could’ve had a shot himself on the play that led to Altidore’s third goal.
Pablo Mastroeni: 6.5. A steadying presence in the midfield, showed his poise on the ball and toughness in the tackle. And no stupid fouls in dangerous areas. Exactly what the team needed after the indecisive midfield performance in El Salvador.
Clint Dempsey: 5.5. Never really got involved, had trouble finding space. Did well to adjust and come inside so Hejduk could keep overlapping like a madman.
Jozy Altidore: 8. A statement—in triplicate. His first goal was a tap in, his third a goalkeeper mistake, but the second was world class. A hat-trick may not earn him any time with his club team, but it should convince coach Bob Bradley that he needs to be in the starting XI.
Brian Ching: 8. Another subtly masterful performance. Truly masterful. His flicked header led to the first goal. His running off the ball was tireless and creative, consistently opening up space for his teammates.
Jose Francisco Torres (81’): N/A.
Sacha Kljestan (84’): N/A.
Trinidad & Tobago
Clayton Ince: 5. Nothing he could do on the first two goals after his defense let him down. Horrible error on the third goal.
Aklie Edwards: 4.5. Out of his depth. Lost Altidore for the first goal. A sloppy tackle produced the game’s only yellow card.
Keyeno Thomas: 6.5. One of T&T’s only bright lights. Big, tough, and willing to battle with Ching for air balls. Plus, made smart decisions on when to step up and defend high.
Dennis Lawrence: 5. Practically unseen in the first 45, then made to look silly by Altidore on the second goal.
Anthony Wolfe: 4. Overmatched against Donovan, and lost possession much too easily. Left for dead on the play that led to the first goal.
Keon Daniel: 5.5. Good first step and tried to make things happen on the left flank. Couldn’t get past Hejduk enough to deliver a truly dangerous ball. Had a decent attempt on a rebound from a free kick.
Clyde Leon: 4.5. Was he even on the field? Invisible from the opening kick.
Christopher Birchall: 5. Largely overwhelmed in the middle, with little distribution up to the forwards. Any extra touch on the ball was shut down quickly by Mastroeni and Bradley.
Carlos Edwards: 6.5. The Soca Warriors other bright light. Crafty and tenacious on the ball, but with so little help behind him, was forced to hold back too often. His world-class speed caused problems for Beasley in the second half.
Stern John: 5. Not what one would expect from someone with 69 career international goals. Made Trinidad fans miss 37-year-old Dwight Yorke that much more.
Kenwyne Jones: 6. Showed that he plays in a top league, providing a decent target option. But he had no help. And he missed his one half-chance, putting his shot just past the bar.
Makan Hislop (46’): 4.5. No more effective than Aklie Edwards at stopping Donovan. Skinned alive for the second goal. But, hey, he didn’t get booked.
Khaleem Hyland (56’): 5. Made one nice run into the attack but nothing came of it.
Jason Scotland (72’): 5. Nothing of note.
Strikers on strike?
While it is true that T&T is not accustomed to defeating the US, particularly in the US, except for a victory at home last year when they were without several of their team players, the performance in Tennessee was one about which the technical staff, players and thousands of supporters should feel terribly worried and disappointed.
It seemed fairly obvious to me, and should have been to anyone looking on objectively at the game that night, that the US coach and technical team had done their homework but that our technical people had not.
Beasley, who normally plays in midfield on the left side, played in a much deeper position with the sole purpose of negating the speed of Carlos Edwards and what a good job he did in preventing Edwards, most of the time, from going up the right side of the field. Edwards, on the other hand, played right into the US coach’s hands by not trying to go across the field instead.
Hedjuk, the US right back, had freedom of movement up the right side, the T&T left side, for the entire match and I kept wondering whether what I was seeing on television and what others at home were seeing was not observed by Coach Maturana or his assistants. If in fact they had seen what we were seeing, they obviously did nothing about it, or if they had passed on instructions, they certainly were not followed.
Our midfield was non-existent: rarely were Noel and Daniel seen, Birchall tried his best but that was not good enough and there were gaping holes in the middle of the field. Passes were going astray most of the time and there was very little movement off the ball for passes to be made.
The first goal came after Donovan slipped up the left side eluding right back Wolfe, who was terribly out of position, played the ball square for young Altidore to slide it in with the inside of his right foot past goalkeeper Ince. It seemed that there was very little communication between stopper Lawrence and Thomas, as Thomas’s sliding tackle was seconds late.
With the score at 1-0 at half-time, T&T was still in with a chance with an improved start at the beginning of the second half. Kenwyn Jones must have left his star rating in England with Sunderland because little was seen of him in the first half and the second half started the same way, as he seemed to be just wandering around the field. He had one shot at goal, which went high and wide after Stern John had faked and allowed the ball to go to him. That was his first and last attempt in ninety minutes.
The T&T team had its best period of the game in the first ten minutes or so after the start of the second half, but really never looked dangerous.
Makan Hislop, whose position is normally at stopper, was a replacement for Anthony Wolfe, but he seemed to be out of his depth in that position as the US forwards and midfielders were constantly getting behind his back. Khaleem Hyland came in as a substitute for Chris Birchall, who was found to be chasing shadows for most of the time he was on the field.
The second US goal again came from a Donovan pass to Altidore, who left stopper Lawrence flat on his back, before slotting the ball past an advancing Ince. I have some sympathy for Ince as he was left to the mercy of the US attackers time and time again. T&T’s other stopper, Thomas, came on the scene after the ball had struck the back of the net.
It seemed all over bar the shouting as the US midfielders - Mastroeni, Bradley and Donovan - had almost the entire middle to themselves. With desperation setting in, Coach Maturana decided on sending in Scotland for Daniel, who had made very little contribution while he was on the field. For the 20 minutes or so that Scotland was on the field, he must have touched the ball on about three occasions, almost as many times as Jones had touched it for the entire game.
To add insult to injury, Altidore got his third goal of a hat-trick in the dying minutes of the game. A chip pass over a square defence found Bradley, who passed square to Donovan, who in turn found Altidore just around the 18-yard box. His not too powerful shot slipped under the body of goalkeeper Ince, who unfortunately made his first error. It was certainly a difficult night for Ince, as in addition to having three goals scored against him due to an inept midfield and blundering defence, he was to get the sad news after the game of his sister’s death.
A lot of work has to be done, but there is time, two months, before the next game - against Costa Rica at home - to fix what needs to be urgently fixed. Captain Dwight Yorke will be back but, as I mentioned in a previous article, his legs will not take him through a hard 90-minute game. He needs help in midfield, and the defence needs a lot of patchwork. I still wonder if there are not better wing-backs in the country to replace those now on the team, and our highly paid strikers need to strike. Right now they seem to be “on strike”.
Desperate times need desperate measures and I look forward to seeing some in the near future if we are to see South Africa in 2010.
I know Mr Warner well enough to feel that some change is going to happen soon.
Footnote: This article was written by Sedley Joseph, former national footballer and, before the resignation of Coach Maturana and the appointment of Russel Latapy.
|3.||Aklie Edwards 54 '|
|6.||Dennis Lawrence (capt.)|
|56' Khaleem Hyland|
|71' Jason Scotland|
|46' Makan Hislop|
|46'||Makan Hislop for Anthony Wolfe|
|56'||Khaleem Hyland for Christopher Birchall|
|71'||Jason Scotland for Keon Daniel|