Trinidad and Tobago’s Men will be playing for Gold Cup 2019 survival when they face off with host nation United States at the First Energy Stadium in Cleveland from 8pm on Saturday.
A win is needed by T&T to keep alive any chances of progressing to the quarter finals of the competition following Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to Panama. For the US, the result matters for more than one reason. The talk here among the US fans and the media is that the Stars and Stripes men still will want to put that night in Couva behind them and exorcise at least some of the demons by taking care business this time around
USA’s Christian Pulisic has acknowledged that beating T&T in Cleveland is “not going to change anything.” But, he told reporters, “Obviously, I want some revenge. I want to beat them. The team is going to go out and give it everything. We want to win that game.”
And for Alvin Jones, the man who scored the goal that sent the US packing, “It’s just another game in terms of it will not change our chances or theirs of going to the World Cup. But for us, we need to win, it’s that simple,” he told TTFA Media.
Skipper Khaleem Hyland is fully aware of the requirements and his leadership and experience will be vital.
“Yes. We know how critical this game will be. We just have to go out there and leave everything on the pitch. We all know what is at stake. The fans will be against us and America and will be going all out to get a win. But we will not go in there and throw in the towel. For us, survival is the main thing and only a win will guarantee that,” Hyland said.
T&T head coach Dennis Lawrence conducted a one-hour session at the stadium on Friday evening after addressing the media. The conditions were cool on Friday as opposed to the continuous rain the previous day and is expected to remain dry on matchday which should make it ideal for a proper game at the venue which is primarily for American football. It is the home field of the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League and seats 67,895.
“It’s straightforward. There is a lot of history between both countries but like I said before, I want these boys to write their own history. We know what is in front of us and what needs to be done,” Lawrence said.
T&T last met the US at the Gold Cup in 2007, losing 2-0. Prior to that T&T opened the scoring through Arnold Dwarika but lost 3-2 in the 1996 edition with Dwarika netting a double that day.
“The mindset is to get full three points,” said goalkeeper Foncette. We need to win to stay close to the other teams in the group and get out of it . It is a do or die game and there is nothing else on our minds. That time around (2017) was completely different to now. We already knew our fate. We couldn’t qualify for the World Cup and we had nothing to lose. The tables have turned now but this time we have everything to lose. It’s win or go home,” goalkeeper Adrian Foncette said. He stood between the uprights when the teams met in Couva in 2017.
- T&T and USA have met three times at the Gold Cup In the first competition in 1991, T&T scores first through Leonson Lewis in 67′ but conceded in the 85′ and 87′ to lose 2-1.
- T&T have never defeated the US outside of Port of Spain and Couva.
- Of his 89 appearances for T&T, six of those were against the US for Dennis Lawrence including the 2-1 win in Port of Spain in 2008 in which Russell Latapy and Dwight Yorke were on the scoresheet.
- Ten of T&T’s Gold Cup squad members currently play professionally in the US.
- Captain Khaleem Hyland is T&T’s most capped player with 85 since his debut versus Puerto Rico in 2008.