Tue, Feb
Match Report
United States Trinidad & Tobago
United States T&T flag

FIFA World Cup™ Qualifier
2009-04-01LP FieldNashville, TN, United States27959

Altidore hat-trick sink Warriors to bottom of table

FL - Makan Hislop, Carlos Edwards and hat-trick hero Jozy Altidore.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.

Second-half action began with a dangerous chance for the U.S. in the 50th minute, when Donovan sent a free kick into the box. The looping ball connected with captain Bocanegra, but his header went over the crossbar.

Trinidad & Tobago defender Akile Edwards will sit out the squad’s next match due to yellow card accumulation after earning a yellow card in the 53rd minute with a late tackle on Altidore. Just 10 minutes later, forward Kenwyne Jones produced some danger off a free kick. Jones lined up about 25 yards out and sent a shot right into the wall. The ball bounced right back to him and hit it again, sending it toward the upper left corner. Howard was prepared for it, however, and calmly snagged it out of the air.

In the 71st minute, Altidore struck again, once again assisted by Donovan. Awaiting a pass from Beasley, the midfielder cleverly spun past his defender and held the ball on the left side before slipping a ball into the center for Altidore, who cut it past his defender and calmly curled a shot past Ince into the far side netting.

With the match winding down and both teams still pushing forward, Bradley used two of the three allowed substitutions, bringing in José Francisco Torres for Brian Ching in the 81st minute and Sacha Kljestan for Clint Dempsey in the 84th minute. One minute later, the fresh legs seemed to spark the attack as Kljestan held onto the ball on the right side and sent a looping cross that went over everybody in the area, including Ince. Torres brought it down on the left side and passed it into the middle for Donovan, but he couldn’t get a good look and sent a weak shot wide right.

The U.S. was not done attacking, however, and the ever-energetic Frankie Hejduk alertly sent a long ball up the right side for Bradley in the 89th minute who perfectly timed a run behind the defense. The assistant referee’s flag stayed down as Bradley found himself alone with the ball and a clear path to the goal. Bradley carried the ball into the area and unselfishly dished it out to an unmarked Donovan on the left side of the six-yard box. Donovan, who could have easily taken a point-blank shot, instead tapped it back out to the center of the area where Altidore took one touch before delivering a weak shot that bounced just under a diving Ince and slithered into the lower left corner to seal the hat trick.

•Altidore Becomes Youngest U.S. Player in Modern Era to Score Hat Trick

•U.S. Remains in First Place of Final Round Qualifying With Seven Points

•Altidore Tallies His Sixth Career Goal for the U.S. and Fifth in World Cup Qualifying

Video Highlights.

ProZone Match Analysis


Match: United States vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Date: April 1, 2009
Competition: FIFA World Cup Qualifying; Final Round
Venue: LP Field - Nashville, Tennessee
Kickoff: 6:45 p.m. MT
Attendance: 27,959
Weather: Fair, 61 degrees

Scoring Summary: 1    2    F
USA                               1    2    3
TRI                                 0   0    0

USA – Jozy Altidore (Landon Donovan)  13th minute
USA – Altidore (Donovan)                          71
USA – Altidore (Donovan)                          89


USA: 1-Tim Howard; 2-Frankie Hejduk, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt), 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 8-Clint Dempsey (16-Sacha Kljestan, 84), 12-Michael Bradley, 4-Pablo Mastroeni, 10-Landon Donovan, 11-Brian Ching (6- José Francisco Torres, 81), 17-Jozy Altidore

Subs not used: 18-Brad Guzan, 9-Eddie Johnson, 13-Maurice Edu, 14-Jay DeMerit, 15-Jonathan Bornstein

Head Coach: Bob Bradley

TRI: 1-Clayton Ince; 3-Aklie Edwards, 8-Anthony Wolfe (4-Makan Hislop, 46), 5-Keyeno Thomas, 6-Dennis Lawrence (capt); 7-Christopher Birchall (16-Khaleem Hyland, 56), 11-Carlos Edwards, 2-Clyde Leon, 17-Keon Daniel (12-Jason Scotland, 71); 15-Kenwyne Jones, 14-Stern John

Subs not used: 9-Trent Noel, 10-Russell Latapy, 13-Densill Theobald, 18-Jan Michael Williams

Head Coach: Francisco Maturana

Stats Summary: USA / TRI
Shots: 14 / 6
Shots on Goal: 6 / 1
Saves: 1 / 3
Corner Kicks: 2 / 2
Fouls: 12 / 14
Offside: 3 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
TRI – Aklie Edwards (caution)     53rd minute

Referee: Roberto Moreno (PAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Daniel Williamson (PAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Pastrana (HON)
Fourth Official: Luis Rodriguez (PAN) Man of the Match:
Jozy Altidore


GP   W   D   L  PF  PA  PD  Pts
USA                 3   2   1   0   7   2  +5   7
Costa Rica          3   2   0   1   3   2  +1   6
Honduras            3   1   1   1   4   4   0   4
Mexico              3   1   0   2   3   5  -2   3
El Salvador         3   0   2   1   4   5  -1   2
Trinidad & Tobago   3   0   2   1   3   6  -3   2

Warriors go down in Nashville
By Shaun Fuentes (TTFF)

Trinidad and Tobago slipped to bottom of the CONCACAF standings when they fell 3-0 to the United States in Wednesday's 2010 World Cup Qualifier at LP Field, Nashville. Jozy Altidore became the youngest American with an international hat trick, with goals  in the 13th, 71st and 89th minutes, all three times off passes from Landon Donovan.

The 19-year-old forward, an increasingly important part of the U.S. roster, also scored as a substitute in the 77th minute last Saturday to start the U.S. comeback from a two-goal deficit in a 2-2 tie at El Salvador. He has six goals in nine international appearances.

"Disappointing is the only way to describe our performance and how we feel tonight," Maturana told TTFF Media.

"There aren't much good things to say about the way we played. We conceded at difficult moments in the match and the very little positives we can take forward will have to be properly assessed before we do anything. Right now we we have to review a lot of things regarding our preparation as we need to look very deeply at our position and everything that we do regarding our approach to the matches coming up," he added.

T&T, after collecting a point at home to Honduras on Saturday, were expected to give a much better showing but took a while to settle and suffered a setback with USA's opening goal. Their front pair of Sunderland striker Kenwyne Jones and Bristol City's Stern John had little sight on goal in the first half and neither man could make good of the couple tries they mustered after the interval.

Winger Carlos Edwards also tried to make things happen on the right but his his effective runs were limited with DaMarcus Beasley being shifted to left back to close down the Sunderland runner.

"It's pretty cool," Altidore said. "Most important is we came out, and the guys rebounded from the El Salvador game, and we made a statement -- made a statement we are one of the teams to be reckoned with in CONCACAF."

Altidore eclipsed the mark for youngest hat trick set in 2004, when 20-year-old Eddie Johnson scored three times as a substitute in a 6-0 win over Panama in the semifinals of qualifying.

"He's earned it," Donovan said. "He has played well. He deserved it."

U.S. coach Bob Bradley made four changes to his starting lineup and used an offensive formation. He dropped DaMarcus Beasley from midfield to left back in place of Heath Pearce, started Brian Ching and Altidore up front, and left Donovan (left) and Clint Dempsey (right) in advanced midfield roles. With Beasley roaming up, it resembled a 4-3-3 at times.

"They both made so many plays," Donovan said of Altidore and Ching.

No. 75 Trinidad and Tobago, playing without suspended 37-year-old star Dwight Yorke, didn't have a shot on goal against the world's 17th-ranked team until Keon Daniel's attempt on a rebound after a free kick bounced off a defensive wall in the 63rd minute.

American goalkeeper Tim Howard, returning from a one-game suspension for a yellow card, nearly got into trouble in the sixth minute when he kicked a free kick right to  John. But it bounced off the forward and went wide. Six minutes later, Bocanegra played a long ball up the left to Ching, and he headed it to Donovan.

Donovan chested the ball, then crossed to Altidore, who broke free of Aklie Edwards and beat goalkeeper Clayton Ince from 6 yards. It was the fourth goal in nine international appearances for the 19-year-old.

Altidore had two other chances in the first half, putting an angled shot wide in the 27th minute and popping an open shot over the crossbar in the 41st.

He got the second goal after taking a pass from Donovan and faking out Trinidad captain Dennis Lawrence. On the final goal, Michael Bradley received a long pass and played the ball into the penalty area to Donovan, who bent it back to Altidore. His shot from 19 yards bounced in off the hands of Ince.

John also had a decent effort which went wide when he took down an incoming right side cross in the first half. Second half saw him fail to connect properly to a right side delivery by Edwards while Jones also powered one over bar from inside the box.

Next up, T&T host Costa Rica in Port of Spain on June 6.

In other matches, Carlos Costly scored twice and Carlos Pavon added another to give Honduras a 3-1 over victory Mexico and earn its first win in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

The win was critical for Honduras, which had just one point out of its first two matches in the final hexagonal stage and was playing its first home game. The result moved los Catrachos in front of El Tricolor with four points and in third behind standings leader USA and second-place Costa Rica.

Meantime, veteran midfielder Walter Centeno scored the lone goal in the 69th minute strike and gave Costa Rica a 1-0 victory over visiting El Salvador in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying Wednesday night.

The 34-year-old Deportivo Saprissa mainstay was making his 127th appearance for the Ticos and connected on a curving cross from midfielder Roy Myrie in the penalty area, sending the ball past El Salvador goalkeeper Miguel Montes for his 20th international goal.

The result moved Costa Rica into second place in the six-team CONCACAF hexagonal with six points, one behind the United States, after three of 10 matches. El Salvador remained with two points, tied at the bottom of the pact with T&T. Three teams will automatically qualify for the 32-team World Cup field in South Africa while a fourth will face off against a South American side for another berth.

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 (

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?
Catholic News.

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.

Little communication

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.

1.Clayton Ince
3.Aklie Edwards Yellow Card 54 '
6.Dennis Lawrence (capt.)
5.Keyeno Thomas
7.Subbed outChristopher Birchall
 Subbed in 56' Khaleem Hyland
17.Subbed outKeon Daniel
 Subbed in 71' Jason Scotland
11.Carlos Edwards
2.Clyde Leon
14.Stern John
15.Kenwyne Jones
8.Subbed outAnthony Wolfe
 Subbed in 46' Makan Hislop
4.Makan Hislop
16.Khaleem Hyland
12.Jason Scotland
18.Jan-Michael Williams
10.Russell Latapy
9.Trent Noel
13.Densill Theobald
 Francisco Maturana
46'Subbed outSubbed inMakan Hislop for Anthony Wolfe
56'Subbed outSubbed inKhaleem Hyland for Christopher Birchall
71'Subbed outSubbed inJason Scotland for Keon Daniel
54'Yellow CardAklie Edwards