BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (Sept. 10, 2008) — The U.S. Men’s National Team earned their fifth consecutive shutout in qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup with an impressive 3-0 win Wednesday against Trinidad & Tobago in front of 11, 452 fans at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. First half goals from Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey were complemented by a second half strike from Brian Ching to keep the U.S. in first place in Group 1 with nine points after three matches. With the shutout, the U.S. increased their streak to 551 minutes without allowing a goal.
The victory marked a trio of records for the U.S. history books, including the first time ever the U.S. has earned six consecutive shutouts, going back to the team’s 0-0 draw against Argentina on June 8 at Giants Stadium. The victory was also the sixth straight victory in World Cup qualifying dating back to the final match of the 2006 campaign, setting a team record. The five straight victories in one cycle also ties a team record set during the Final Round of the last qualifying run.
“It’s good to have gotten this round off to such a good start," said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. "We found a good rhythm and did a good job moving the ball and finding the little seams in their defense. I think that set the tone for the game. It was a good win, and halfway through this round I think we continue to improve and that’s what it’s all about.”
Back on home soil for the first time in this Semifinal Round, the U.S. came out aggressive from the start. Trinidad & Tobago were content to put numbers behind the ball, deploying a defensive formation with 10 players looking to stifle the U.S. attack. The team had the perfect answer to that approach, scoring before 10 minutes had passed from another textbook set piece.
After DaMarcus Beasley won a foul on the left side about 20 yards from goal, Landon Donovan swung a free kick into the six-yard box. With several players crashing, Bradley cleverly re-directed the cross off the outside of his right foot and to the far post past Marvin Phillip, who was rendered helpless. The goal was Bradley’s second in World Cup qualifying, and the third of his international career.
Clint Dempsey doubled the U.S. lead eight minutes later. A string of passes put the T&T defense on their heels, beginning with Oguchi Onyewu winning a ball and knocking it to Sacha Kljestan, who then played into Dempsey. The midfielder delivered a ball to Beasley, who had roamed into the center of the park. As Dempsey sprinted forward, Beasley held the ball before sending a through ball that was misplayed by Keyeno Thomas allowing the Fulham midfielder in on goal, and he wasted no time by firing a low shot past Phillip. The goal was Dempsey’s second in as many games and his fourth in four World Cup qualifiers he has played in this cycle.
The waves of U.S. attacks continued, the smooth surface allowing for crisp passes and long-flighted balls to change the point of attack. Both Donovan and Beasley were effective in getting behind the T&T defense and slipping dangerous crosses into the box.
The U.S. nearly got their third goal on the half hour mark, Donovan racing in behind the T&T defense and looking to pick out Ching at the penalty spot. His curling ball arrived at an awkward height for Ching, and he was unable to get a clean shot on goal. By the end of the first half, the U.S. held a 6-1 advantage in shots.
Trinidad & Tobago showed a little more life to start the second stanza, earning two corner kicks in the first five minutes. The U.S. got a scare in the 53rd minute, first when a cross from Cyd Gray was deflected by Onyewu just outside the near post. On the ensuing corner, a header that appeared pegged for the far side netting was cleared off the line by Steve Cherundolo.
The U.S. put their third goal on the board in the 57th minute on another service from Beasley. After Cherundolo was fouled 40 yards from goal, Beasley drove an in-swinger to the top of the six-yard box. Onyewu rose above his mark and headed the ball towards goal, with his effort saved by Phillip. The rebound fell to Ching, who easily deposited his third goal of the 2010 qualifying campaign and his fifth overall in qualifying.
T&T nearly got one back three minutes later when a shot by Cornell Glenn was saved by Howard. The rebound was finished off by Anthony Wolfe, but the linesman’s offside flag was correctly held high.
Kljestan nearly got on the scoresheet in the 63rd minute, when Ching sent in a cross that Donovan hustled to collect. Donovan passed it back to Kljestan, who tried his luck on goal, forcing Phillip to make a point-blank save.
The U.S. made a double-substitution in the 67th minute, replacing goalscorers Bradley and Ching with Eddie Johnson and Ricardo Clark. The U.S. made their final substitution in the 78th minute, with Eddie Lewis replacing Dempsey. Lewis has appeared in nine of the USA’s 11 matches in 2008.
Two minutes after coming in, Lewis made his presence felt as he possessed the ball up the left flank and sent in a cross to a wide open Donovan, who skimmed the ball with his head wide right of the right post.
Lewis earned the team a corner kick in the 81st minute, sending in a cross to where Onyewu was rushing into the center. Onyewu and a defender both slid toward the ball and the backspin caused it to stop dead in front of the goal, where Thomas did well to clear it out of danger.
The U.S. created another dangerous opportunity in the 82nd minute, when Beasley sent a corner kick back to Kljestan at the top of the area. Kljestan passed it out to Lewis on the left and Lewis sent it into the middle for Johnson, but his final shot was blocked by a defender. The rebound bounced right back to Johnson who sent it back towards the goal, only to have is second attempt also stuffed by the Trinidadian defense.
The Soca Warriors continued to pressure in the waning moments of the match, getting dangerously close in the 87th minute. Gray controlled the ball just outside the area on the right side, firing a shot past a cluster of red and white jerseys and just wide of Howard’s goal. With the shutout, Howard has now posted five shutouts in six career World Cup qualifying appearances.
The U.S. Men’s National Team will get a break from qualifying until the second leg of games begins for the Semifinal Round. The U.S. will face Cuba at 7 p.m. ET on Oct. 11 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., before traveling to take on Trinidad & Tobago on Oct. 15. The U.S. wraps up Semifinal Round qualifying against Guatemala at 6 p.m. MT on Nov. 19 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.
-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --
Match-up: USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Date: September 10, 2008
Competition: 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying – Semifinal Round
Venue: Toyota Park – Bridgeview, Ill.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. CT
Weather: 68 degrees, clear
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 1 3
Trinidad & Tobago 0 0 0
USA – Michael Bradley (Landon Donovan) 9th minute
USA – Clint Dempsey (DaMarcus Beasley) 18.
USA – Brian Ching (Oguchi Onyewu) 57.
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 15-Heath Pearce, 3-Carlos Bocanegra-capt., 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 6-Steve Cherundolo; 17-DaMarcus Beasley, 12-Michael Bradley (4-Rico Clark, 67), 16-Sacha Kljestan, 8-Clint Dempsey (7-Eddie Lewis, 78); 10-Landon Donovan, 11-Brian Ching (9-Eddie Johnson, 67)
Subs Not Used: 18-Brad Guzan, 2-Frankie Hejduk, 13-Maurice Edu, 14-Danny Califf
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
TRI: 1-Marvin Phillip; 3-Akile Edwards, 5-Keyeno Thomas, 9-Makan Hislop, 8-Cyd Gray; 17-Keon Daniel, 4-Osei Telesford, 2-Clyde Leon, 7-Carlos Edwards; 12-Densil Theobald (14-Anthony Wolfe, 46), 13-Cornell Glenn
Subs Not Used: 18-Jan-Michael Williams, 6-Dennis Lawrence, 10-Andre Toussaint, 11-Jason Scotland, 15-Kerry Baptiste, 16-Julius James
Head Coach: Francisco Maturana
Stats Summary: USA / TRI
Shots 11 / 6
Shots on Goal 6 / 2
Saves 1 / 3
Corner Kicks 4 / 5
Fouls 9 / 12
Offside 9 / 1
TRI – Akile Edwards (caution) 57th minute
USA – Steve Cherundolo (caution) 59.
TRI – Clyde Leon (caution) 59.
Referee: Courtney Campbell (JAM)
1st Asst.: Stephen Brown (JAM)
2nd Asst.: Triston Tulloch (JAM)
Fourth Official: Howard Stennet (JAM)
Sierra Mist Man of the Match: Michael Bradley