World Cup Qualifying Preview: United States vs. Trinidad and Tobago

It may be an away game for the USA, but they are under pressure to chase the full points, but Trinidad and Tobago are also desperate for a result as well.
By Noah Davis

Who: United States vs. Trinidad and Tobago

What: CONCACAF World Cup 2010 Qualifying

When: Wednesday, September 9; 7 p.m. EST

Where: Hasley Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain, Trinidad

TV: ESPN Classic, TeleFutura

After a nail-biting 2-1 victory over El Salvador on Saturday night in Utah, the United States Men's National Team sits on 13 points, tied for first place in the final round of CONCACAF 2010 World Cup qualifying. The squad's reward: a trip to Trinidad's Hasley Crawford Stadium for another virtual must-win affair against the last place Soca Warriors.

Even with a victory in the Caribbean on Wednesday night, the Americans cannot qualify, but three points would mean they would only need one win in their final two games to punch a ticket to South Africa. The U.S. has struggled on the road during qualification, but should possess enough quality to defeat a T&T side that fell 4-1 in Honduras on its last outing.  

Seeing yellow

Despite some inconsistent refereeing, none of the nine U.S. players -- Jozy Altidore, Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo, Ricardo Clark, Jay DeMerit, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Benny Feilhaber, and Conor Casey -- carrying yellow cards into Saturday night's fixture picked up a second.

Carlos Bocanegra | USA captain in yellow-card peril

As a result, Bob Bradley will have his entire first-choice line up except for an injured DeMerit. With the Watford captain missing, Bradley should slot Chad Marshall alongside Oguchi Onyewu, who returns from a one-match suspension, while Bocanegra can slide over to left back and replace Jonathan Bornstein, who struggled against El Salvador. (The American manager might also leave the team captain in the center, push Spector to the left, and put Cherundolo on the right.)

Additionally, with a potentially vital fixture in Honduras looming as the U.S.'s next fixture, it will be essential for those nine players to avoid seeing a second yellow card, a difficult task since the Americans rarely get any favors from CONCACAF officials on the road.  

Stanky Legs: The Charlie and Jozy Show

The U.S. found their strikeforce in the likes of Altidore and Charlie Davies. The pair combined nicely on Saturday and while their exchanges didn't result in a goal, it's a pleasure to watch the partnership (and the dance moves) develop on the pitch.

Altidore, who leads the team with six goals scored during the qualification process, has always been too strong for CONCACF defenders and looks to have found some touch during his brief stint at Hull City.

Charlie Davies | Striker is in fine form

Davies isn't afraid to take the ball at anyone, and he's become a difference-maker when attacking the net (although he did seem to tire against El Salvador). Bradley could still choose to adopt a more defensive formation and leave half of the duo on the bench as a potential late-match substitute, but he'd be stupid to do that in such a winnable game. Look for the pair to start at the top of the American formation for a long time to come.  

Giant killers

The last time the U.S. ventured to Hasely Crawford Stadium, the Red, White, and Blue suffered their only defeat of the semifinal round of qualifying. (They were already through to the Hexagonal Round.)

This time, both squads need three points desperately. T&T, which qualified for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, will be officially eliminated with a loss.

Former star Russell Latapy took over as interim head coach in April and is desperately attempting to lead his team to the promised land of South Africa. He received reinforcements in the form of English Premier League men Jlloyd Samuel and Bobby Zamora, but the first player didn't fare well in his debut against Honduras, and the former English youth international hasn't suited up due to injury.

For the Soca Warriors to have a chance, striker Kenwyne Jones will have to break his oh-for-World Cup qualifying streak. Ultimately, though, T&T won't have enough against a U.S. side that's simply too strong.  

Projected U.S. Line Up





Projected Trinidad and Tobago Line Up


Samuel--Andrews--Abu Bakr--Edwards


-----------Glen-------------Jones----------- Prediction

United States 2-0 Trinidad and Tobago

Noah Davis covers the United States Men's National Team for

For more on the U.S. Men's National Team, check out the dedicated page on