It wasn’t pretty and it certainly wasn’t ambitious but the U.S. emerged from tonight’s first road World Cup qualifier with a point following 0-0 draw versus Trinidad and Tobago.
Coming on the heels of the U.S. MNT’s “Lost Summer” and combined with Friday’s win over St. Vincent and the Grenadines the case can and will be made that four points from the first two World Cup Qualifiers is a solid return.
And given the state of the U.S. MNT following the Gold Cup and the CONCACAF Cup these four points should put the U.S. well on its way to final round of World Cup qualification, AKA, the Hex.
The U.S. opened slowly Tuesday night in a poor first half. Jurgen Klinsmann sent out a cautious lineup, moving DeAndre Yedlin up to a midfield spot after playing the young speedster as a fullback vs the Vincy Heat.
Michael Orozco slotted in for Yedlin at fullback, combining with left flanker Tim Ream to give the U.S. a very defense first fullback pair.
While Fabian Johnson lined up wide left once again Gyasi Zardes moved further up the pitch to play as a forward, alongside Jozy Altidore.
Zardes took the place of the benched Bobby Wood, the pair being the young strikers that Klinsmann wanted to see in place of Clint Dempsey, left off the roster for the relative newcomers.
Before the match, we wondered if Klinsmann would regret his decision to leave the country’s second all-time leading goal scorer home, writing in our preview, “Klinsmann could find himself with egg on his face if the U.S. come up a goal short against the Soca Warriors on Tuesday.”
When Zardes missed a couple of opportunities versus the Soca Warriors on Tuesday, the only man ahead of Deuce on the U.S. MNT scoring chart wondered the same.
Landon Donovan @landondonovan 7m7 minutes ago
A point on the road in T&T is never easy. Can’t help but wonder if it would have been 3 points with Dempsey playing tonight. #TRIvUSA
Still, even with those missed chances and that uninspired first half effort the visiting Americans were well positioned to win this game as it dominated down the stretch.
The best chance in a late U.S. flurry came courtesy of a Jermaine Jones World Cup flashback that saw the New England Revolution(?) veteran very nearly replicate his 2014 wonder strike against Portugal.
Unfortunately for the U.S. T&T keeper Jan-Michael Williams got a fingertip to Jones’ blast and it caromed off of the crossbar and away, leaving open the question, “What would Deuce have done?”
When all’s said and done these four points leave the Yanks well positioned for the next round of WCQ, a home and home versus Guatemala next March.
That should be enough I suppose, but it seems we, the U.S. soccer public were promised something more.
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
TRI 0 0 0
USA: 12-Tim Howard, 16-Michael Orozco, 20-Geoff Cameron, 5-Matt Besler, 3-Tim Ream (6-Darlington Nagbe, 68), 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 13-Jermaine Jones, 4-Michael Bradley (capt.), 23-Fabian Johnson, 9-Gyasi Zardes (18-Bobby Wood, 76), 17-Jozy Altidore
Subs Not Used: 1-Brad Guzan, 7-Miguel Ibarra, 8-Jordan Morris, 10-Mix Diskerud, 11-Brek Shea, 14-Matt Miazga, 15-Kyle Beckerman, 19-Ventura Alvarado, 21-Alan Gordon, 22-Bill Hamid
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
TRI: 21-Jan-Michael Williams, 4-Sheldon Bateau, 5-Daniel Cyrus, 17-Mekeli Williams (16-Justin Hoyte, 76), 6-Radanfah Abu Bakr, 19-Kevan George, 8-Khaleem Hyland, 3-Joevin Jones, 14-Andre Boucaud (20-Heron Cummings, 82), 13- Cordell Cato (11-Trevin Caesar, 85), 9-Kenwyne Jones (capt.)
Subs Not Used: 1-Marvin Phillip, 10-Willis Plaza, 15-Neveal Hackshaw, 23-Lester Peltier, 7-Johnathan Glenn, 2-David Aubrey, 12-Carlyle Mitchell, 18-Yohance Marshall
Head coach: Stephen Hart
Stats Summary: USA / TRI
Shots: 7 / 10
Shots on Goal: 2 / 4
Saves: 4 / 2
Corner Kicks: 7 / 2
Fouls: 12 / 12
Offside: 3 / 1
USA – DeAndre Yedlin (caution) 45+1st minute
USA – Jermaine Jones (caution) 49