With three games left in World Cup qualifying, Landon Donovan sees the match against Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday as a must-win.PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad--It may seem obvious, but Landon Donovan has asserted that the United States needs to beat Trinidad and Tobago in order to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.
In the second game in five days, the U.S. will take on the Soca Warriors in Port of Spain, Trinidad. The U.S. has yet to win away in the final round of the Hexegonal. It has lost at Costa Rica and Mexico and only squeaked out of El Salvador with a point. There are only three games left in CONCACAF qualifying with the top four teams only separated by a point.
“We need to win this game,” said U.S. star Landon Donovan. “Our last two are very difficult games and this is a team that’s not mathematically out.”
Donovan is one of nine U.S. internationals one booking away from a suspension. In CONCACAF, yellow cards accumulate through all rounds of qualifying, meaning bookings accrued over two years ago stick with players. Last game, a come-from-behind 2-1 win over El Salvador in Utah's Rio Tinto Stadium, saw defender Oguchi Onyewu sit out due to yellow card accumulation. He is expected to return to the starting lineup on Wednesday and, since no one picked up a booking on Saturday, there are no other suspensions.
“At this point we can’t worry about yellow cards,” said Donovan. “Last game we were a little cautious of it and we did a good job of it.”
When the U.S. last faced T&T, Jozy Altidore became the youngest American to score an international hat-trick, thanks to a trio of assists from Donovan. Altidore is expected to lineup in attack with Charlie Davies, who should recover from a left calf contusion suffered against El Salvador to start. Donovan has moved into a deeper wing position to accommodate the pair up front and he thinks the pacy duo is performing well.
“They’ve done a pretty good job for us up top,” Donovan said. “They’ve done the things that come natural to them. They’re aggressive, they take people on, they make chances, they score goals. We’re still working with both of them to make sure they’re engaged defensively. If they develop that part of their game, I think they'll be around here for a long time.”
Of the 13 goals scored by the U.S. in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying, Donovan has scored two and assisted seven. He'll be looking to add to that tally, perhaps with help from Davies and Altidore, against Trinidad and Tobago.
Allen Ramsey, Goal.com with assistance from Zac Lee Rigg in Los Angeles
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