|Trinidad & Tobago||United States|
FIFA World Cup™ Qualifier
|2009-09-09||Hasely Crawford Stadium||Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||12000|
U.S. picks up first road win of final round qualifying with 1-0 win in T&T
Ricardo Clark’s first career FIFA World Cup qualifying goal in the 62nd minute against Trinidad & Tobago put the U.S. three points closer to qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup with a 1-0 victory in Port of Spain.
After eight games, the U.S. sits in first place of the six-team group with 16 points on the strength of a 5-2-1 record. The U.S. has clinched a top four position, which guarantees at least a playoff with the fifth-place team from South America for a berth in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
- United States Men's National Team Match Report -
Match: United States vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Date: September 9, 2009
Competition: FIFA World Cup Qualifier – Final Round
Venue: Hasely Crawford Stadium – Port of Spain, Trinidad
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 82 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
TRI 0 0 0
USA - Ricardo Clark (Landon Donovan) 62nd minute
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 2-Jonathan Spector, 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 12-Jonathan Bornstein; 8-Clint Dempsey (7-Stuart Holden, 82), 13-Ricardo Clark, 4-Michael Bradley, 10-Landon Donovan; 9-Charlie Davies (11-Brian Ching, 77), 17-Jozy Altidore (16-Benny Feilhaber, 63)
Subs not used: 6-Steve Cherundolo, 14-Jose Francisco Torres , 15-Chad Marshall, 18-Brad Guzan
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
TRI: 1-Clayton Ince; 11-Carlos Edwards, 3-Radanfa Abu Bakr, 6-Dennis Lawrence (capt.), 4-Jlloyd Samuel; 10-Hayden Tinto (12-Keon Daniel, 66), 2-Clyde Leon, 8-Trent Noel (9-Jason Scotland, 84), 16-Silvio Spann (14-Kerry Baptiste, 72); 13-Cornell Glen, 17-Kenwyne Jones
Subs not used: 5-Keyeno Thomas, 7-Densil Theobald, 15-Lyndon Andrews, 18-Marvin Philip
Head Coach: Russell Latapy
Stats Summary: USA / TRI
Shots: 11 / 10
Shots on Goal: 6 / 4
Saves: 4 / 5
Corner Kicks: 6 / 5
Fouls: 14 / 14
Offside: 3 / 5
TRI – Jlloyd Samuel (caution) 25th minute
Referee: Joel Aguilar (SLV)
Assistant Referee 1: William Torres (SLV)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Zumba (SLV)
Fourth Official: Elmer Bonilla (SLV)
ussoccer.com Man of the Match
Player Ratings: Trinidad & Tobago 0-1 USA
By Zac Lee Rigg (goal.com)
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Clayton Ince 7
Pulled off a handful of top quality saves when his defenders let him down and marked his area well when coming for crosses. Was a bit unfortunate on the goal as the ball whipped through two defenders before curving to the very edge of the net.
Silvio Spann 5
Looked a bit behind the pace when marking the fleet-footed Donovan and didn't overlap into the attack at all. It was a mild, conservative game put out by Spann, and eventually he was taken off for a more attacking option.
Dennis Lawrence 6
The captain didn't have his troops very well organized as the pacy American attackers drifted all through the backline.
Radanfah Abu Bakr 7
Whenever a T&T defender made a crucial last ditch tackle or interception, it was inevitably Abu Bakr. The 22-year-old offered a stern, resolute performance to hold his backline together.
Jlloyd Samuel 4
Didn't look like a Premier League player at all. He overran tackles and let players past him with ease. Picked up a yellow for a studs-up challenge on Spector that, if it had connected, could have drawn red.
Hayden Tinto 6
The diminutive midfielder opened each half brightly. In the first he was the best outlet from the defense and had some joy running at Bornstein. After him and Edwards switched flanks, however, he went silent until the second half. Never managed to create a testing final ball before coming off.
Clyde Leon 6
Buzzed around the middle of the park on both sides of the ball.
Trent Noel 5
Aside from hitting a powerful free kick in the first half which Howard saved, Noel had a very quiet game. He tended to disappear quite a bit, and eventually disappeared to the bench as the Soca Warriors chased the game.
Carlos Edwards 5
When on his preferred right flank he saw much more of the ball. However, he never managed to get into positions to use his pace or trickery. Much more is expected of the winger.
Kenwyne Jones 6
Looked a bit less mobile than usual, only popping up in the box to head chances on net. While his accuracy was fine, his headers lacked the power needed to get his name on the scoresheet.
Cornell Glen 7.5
The first half was all about Glen. The nippy forward tore through the U.S. backline with ease, pulling defenders out of position and creating chances. His curling cross for Jones was the first real chance for the team, and his lob was inches away from opening the scoring. Eventually, though, the remaining image of Glen from this game will be him pounding his fists into the ground like a petulant child as that chance smacked off the post and back into play.
Daniel Keon 5
Offered better free kick delivery upon entering the game, but couldn't create that final chance.
Kerry Baptiste N/A
Jason Scotland N/A
Tim Howard 8.5
The Everton stopper was in exactly the right place for every header put his way. In between the saves that he made look easy he pulled off a few snap reaction blocks to preserve his clean sheet.
Jonathan Spector 6.5
It's telling that whoever switched over to his flank, be it Tinto or Edwards, they all of the sudden became very quiet.
Oguchi Onyewu 5
After not playing for Milan or against El Salvador, Onyewu looked decidedly off pace. He blustered around, using his size to push attackers out of the way, but never looked very comfortable.
Carlos Bocanegra 6
Continued his reinstatement to the center of defense with another clever, organized display.
Jonathan Bornstein 5
Can consider himself quite lucky to have started after his mistake in the El Salvador game, and continued to look shaky. Both Lawrence and Tinto had luck running at him and he was left kicking at scraps.
Clint Dempsey 6
Was crucial to the buildup to the goal and had a few nice touches, but spent large parts of the game performing a defensive shift. He was moved up top late in the match, but couldn't create anything of note and made way for Holden.
Ricardo Clark 7
Something happened to the Dynamo midfielder at halftime. Maybe he realized he didn't have much longer on the pitch after an anonymous first half. Indeed, his replacement was getting dressed when he smashed a violently swerving ball through two defenders and past Ince for the opener. This came after an energetic and tenacious opening minutes to the second half.
Michael Bradley 7
The coach's son was calm and poised in the middle of the park. He kept play moving and intercepted anything that came through the middle. Bradley's play is infinitely better when he can keep his cool, and today was one of those days.
Landon Donovan 8
Let's get the disappointments out of the way: missed two chances in the box that a player of his caliber should really be finishing, was caught offside too much, and his free kick delivery wasn't up to his best. And yet, despite all that, Donovan dominated this game once again, orchestrating every U.S. attack and spraying the ball around like he's been a playmaker all his life. He assisted the goal and created nearly every other good chance the U.S. had.
Charlie Davies 6.5
In the opening of the game, Davies looked to be the only American who wanted a win. He buzzed around defenders and manufactured several half-chances by sheer will and athleticism alone. Perhaps he spent his energy too soon, as he faded from the game, aside from a low blast he should have done better with in the second half. With 15 minutes left in the game he made way for the more possession-oriented Ching.
Jozy Altidore 6.5
This was nowhere near as deadly as the last time he lined up against T&T and scored a hat-trick, but it was a serviceable display from the youngster. He created the best chance the U.S. had in the first half and put a long distance effort on net to test Ince. After the opening goal he made way for Feilhaber.
Benny Feilhaber 6
Looked much brighter on the wings after coming in than he did starting in the middle against El Salvador. His technical ability from deep kept attacks flowing.
Brian Ching N/A
Stuart Holden 6
For the third game in a row, Holden delivered an exquisite ball from the right that should have earned him an assist. Davies, Torres, and now Donovan all owe the youngster an explanation for why they didn't finish the balls he's put on platters for them.
A win isn't just a win for U.S. soccer.
By: Kevin Eubanks (Bakersfield Sports Examiner).
Three points and all was well with the United States, or at least that’s what many in the American media are quick to point out after the Americans’ 1-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago which, with some help from El Salvador, moved the U.S. to the top of the CONCACAF table with just two matches remaining in qualifying.
But it was three points and all wasn’t quite well in Port of Spain, to be honest. It was another sloppy, uninspiring performance from the Americans who were once again just able to pull out one piece of brilliance to edge yet another not-so-great opponent in qualifying.
The best news of the night came from San Salvador where Costa Rica fell 1-0 to El Salvador, giving the Americans some breathing room with two matches remaining in qualifying for FIFA World Cup 2010. But a win might still be necessary to get the U.S. to South Africa and a win isn’t going to come easy in the final two matches of qualifying. First comes a trip to San Pedro Sula where Honduras is 4-0-0 in this cycle of qualifying while outscoring its opponents by a combined 12-2. Then it’s back to Washington D.C. for the final qualifying match against Costa Rica, which might have struggled of late, but did dominate the U.S. in San Jose in January 3-1.
It’s been five matches since the U.S. found this amazing level of mediocrity beginning with that loss at Costa Rica, followed by three 2-1 results – wins against Honduras and El Salvador sandwiched around the 2-1 defeat at Estadio Azteca to Mexico. The latest was Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago in Port of Spain, and while any road victory should be cherished in World Cup qualifying, this was anything but a thing of beauty.
Landon Donovan made sense of the match: "I know people like to look at teams on paper and say, 'This should be an easy win.' These games are not easy anywhere in the world. There are a lot of teams that struggle to get through these games. We played well, we didn't play perfect, but we got the result we needed."
The term “playing well” was an overstatement, but Donovan is right: Traveling in CONCACAF is not easy and the U.S. did get the full three points out of the match. But it was how the U.S. earned the win that was troubling. It was another treacherous opening half-hour allowing the opposition to completely control the match. It has been the American mantra that opposition in CONCACAF come out with high energy before the home crowd, but that excuse is beginning to wear thin, especially when the U.S. gets dominated on home soil in the first 30 minutes of matches.
A quality side can expect that high energy and take the bite out out of the opposition by holding possession and forcing the opponent to chase instead of simply allowing the other team to build momentum by giving the ball away in the midfield time after time. But in the end, that’s the problem with the Americans – they can’t possess the ball. It’s why they haven’t been able to get out to quick starts in World Cup qualifying and it’s why they couldn’t hold a 2-0 lead over Brazil. If you give Brazil an entire half of possession, it’s going to score a lot of goals.
It’s a head-scratcher why Bob Bradley continues to run out Clint Dempsey match after match when he continually loses possession, is the opposite of Donovan when it comes to work rate, and sometimes doesn’t seem to care how the team is fairing. Some might overlook Dempsey’s poor form of late because of a goal here and there, but despite an occasional goal, his production is actually counteractive to the good of the team.
And there were other negatives. Charlie Davies wasn’t his disruptive self up top, Michael Bradley disappeared after a successful first half, Ricardo Clark – despite the goal – was otherwise a non-factor, and it’s becoming clear that Carlos Bocanegra’s better days are behind him.
Focusing on the negatives is something that goalkeeper Tim Howard won’t do: “You get into halftime and all the things that went on in the first half, you try to talk about. You can’t fix every problem but we felt we didn’t play nearly as well as we could have. But we still came in 0-0. That was a positive and we wanted to build on that. We also wanted to reiterate the importance of getting a victory and not letting this one slip.”
Howard might have been the top positive for the U.S. in this match. Along with Oguchi Onyewu, Howard did his best to keep the defense organized, and when it did break down, his vision and reaction were brilliant. Besides his unusually poor performance on set pieces, Donovan was his typical, hard-working self. Jozy Altidore might not be world class yet, but he showed more strength on the ball and ripped a 30-yard blast that T&T goalkeeper Clayton Ince did well to deflect. Even Jonathan Bornstein wasn’t a disaster, something that can always be looked at as a positive.
So it was far from brilliant, but no one will remember how the U.S., or any other team for that matter, gets to South Africa. The goal is to just get there, and the U.S. now has many different scenarios in October to make that happen. In short, any American win or Costa Rica loss ensures the U.S. a spot in South Africa. Even a loss to Honduras and a draw with Costa Rica would get the U.S. through (U.S. would finish with 17 points, Costa Rica could only get to 16 in that scenario).
Obviously, it was a big win for the U.S. on Wednesday and it would take a disaster to not reach the World Cup at this point. But after its performance at the FIFA Confederations Cup last summer, American soccer fans expect – and deserve – a higher level of play from their team.
All is well – for now.
|3.||Radanfah Abu Bakr|
|6.||Dennis Lawrence (capt.)|
|4.||Jlloyd Samuel 25 '|
|84' Jason Scotland|
|71' Kerry Baptiste|
|66' Keon Daniel|
|66'||Keon Daniel for Hayden Tinto|
|71'||Kerry Baptiste for Silvio Spann|
|84'||Jason Scotland for Trent Noel|