CARSON, Calif. (June 9, 2007) — The U.S. Men’s National Team defeated Trinidad & Tobago 2-0 to move into first place in Group B of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, guaranteeing the United States a spot in the tournament quarterfinals.
Brian Ching and Eddie Johnson scored first and second half goals, respectively, to give the USA a comfortable win in front of a sold-out crowd at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Second-half substitute Landon Donovan also got on the board for the USA, assisting on Johnson’s goal to move into first place all-time with 85 career points for the United States.
The USA made ten changes to the lineup that opened the tournament by defeating Guatemala 1-0 on June 7, with Benny Feilhaber the lone carryover. With much more space to operate than in their opening match, the United States quickly started to find seams in the Trinidad & Tobago defense. Justin Mapp, in particular, had the run of the left side, able to create numerous scoring opportunities.
"Before the tournament we wanted to look at two groups for sure," said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley after the game. "When the games come so quickly, we feel good about the depth that we have. I think that showed today. Throughout the year we have brought some new players into the team. Today was the first game for Michael Parkhurst, and I thought that he had a good solid match and that is important. It shows that going forward, we have the ability to create some pretty good combinations in all parts of the field, in our defense, in our midfield and with our forwards, and hopefully gives us not only the depth, but a little bit of flexibility, in terms of the way we play."
As they did against Guatemala, the USA got on the board just shy of the half-hour mark, after dominating possession for most of the game. On the 29th minute goal, Mapp stunned defender Seon Power with his speed in chasing down a long ball from Jonathan Spector into space on the left flank. With a confident touch, Mapp pushed the ball past Power and barreled into the box. Ching, who had initially started to drift to the near post, charged towards the center of the goal and directed the well-weighted ball into the back of the net. The goal resembled the Dempsey-Twellman combination from two nights ago, and was the fifth goal of Ching’s career.
In contrast to the USA, Trinidad & Tobago only made one change to their starting 11, despite having played less than 48 hours prior. The match was halted for several minutes in the first half after a collision between Williams and defender Anthony Noriega. Noriega lay on the field for seven minutes before being stretchered off with a suspected broken jaw. Following that collision, Trinidad & Tobago was forced to make their second substitution just five minutes late when Thomas Nickcelson came off with an injury.
As the half came to a close, both sides had a chance to change the face of the match. First, a miscommunication between Jay DeMerit and Michael Parkhurst (making his international debut) nearly gave striker Andre Pouissant a free run at goal, but Parkhurst gamely recovered to knock the ball over the endline. Then a quick counterattack the other way saw Johnson and Steve Ralston on the break, with Johnson feeding Ralston near the top of the box. He cut back inside past his mark, the left-footed effort forcing Williams into a sprawling save.
To begin the second half, Bradley substituted Donovan for Feilhaber, which caused even more problems for an out-gunned opponent. Within 10 minutes, Donovan was already on the board, timing a perfect run at the halfway line to sprint unchallenged into the right side of the penalty area with the ball. With two Trinidad & Tobago defenders chasing, Donovan rolled a perfect ball on the grass to Eddie Johnson to easily slam home for his 10th international goal.
For Donovan, the assist was the 25th of his career (already a record) and moved him past Eric Wynalda into first place all-time for the United States with 85 career points. The goal for Johnson was his first for the United States since a 4-0 victory against Guatemala on Feb. 19, 2006 (a span of 13 games).
“I was pleased to see Brian get on the scoreboard for us,” said Bradley. “I thought in the game against Ecuador he worked very hard and created openings for other players. He has been an important player for us and it is nice to see him score the game-winner today. It was a great set-up from Justin Mapp. Again we see the talent that he has and the ability he has to create some plays. On the second goal, just a great run and an unselfish play by Landon Donovan.”
Kasey Keller was called upon to make a number of solid saves during the match, none bigger than a parrying save of a 90th minute blast by Kerry Baptiste that preserved the shutout in his 99th career cap. The victory was the 51st of Keller’s career, and it was his 47th all-time shutout, extending his all-time USA bests.
The victory improved the USA’s incredible all-time record in opening round Gold Cup action to 20-0-1, and gave the team six points after two games, three more than both El Salvador and Guatemala. The United States is the first team in the tournament to guarantee passage into the second round, and is the only team in the tournament not to allow a goal.
The USA will close out group play on Tuesday, June 12 in Foxborough, Mass., against El Salvador (live on FSC and Telefutura at 7 p.m. ET). The 12-team Gold Cup tournament runs through June 24 where the final is slated for Soldier Field in Chicago. Immediately following the Gold Cup, the USA will participate in the 2007 Copa America, the regional championship of South America. The 12-team tournament will run from June 26 to July 15 in nine cities across Venezuela. The U.S. will open Group C play against Argentina on June 28, before facing Paraguay on July 2 and Colombia on July 5.
-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --
Match-up: USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Date: June 9, 2007
Competition: CONCACAF Gold Cup – Group B
Venue: The Home Depot Center – Carson, Calif.
Kickoff: 2 p.m. PT
Weather: 71, clear
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 1 2
Trinidad & Tobago 0 0 0
USA – Brian Ching (Justin Mapp) 29th minute
USA – Eddie Johnson (Landon Donovan) 54.
USA: 18-Kasey Keller (capt.); Frank Simek, 12-Jay DeMerit, Michael Parkhurst, 4-Jonathan Spector; 14-Steve Ralston, 5-Benny Feilhaber (10-Landon Donovan, 46), 19-Ricardo Clark, 21-Justin Mapp; 11-Brian Ching (6-Michael Bradley, 65), 9-Eddie Johnson (20-Taylor Twellman, 72)
Subs not used: 1-Tim Howard; 2-Frankie Hejduk, 3-Carlos Bocanegra, 7-DaMarcus Beasley
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
TRI: 21-Jan Michael Williams, 5-Keyeno Thomas, 6-Thomas Nickcolson (8-Kerry Baptiste, 24), 17-Seon Power, 20- Anthony Noriega (13-Christon Baptiste, 20), 2-Romauld Aguillera, 15-Andrei Pacheco (7-Trent Noel, 81), 16-Silvio Spann, 18-Densill Theobald, 11-Andre Toussaint, 14-Darryl Roberts
Subs not used: 1-Daurance Williams, 4-Dwayne Jack, 9- Errol McFarlane, 23-Kendall Jagdeosingh
Head Coach: Wilhelmus Rijsbergen
Stats Summary: USA TRI
Shots 16 8
Saves 2 6
Corner Kicks 0 4
Fouls 15 15
Offside 8 7
TRI – Keyeno Thomas (caution) 51st minute
TRI – Andrei Pacheco (caution) 77th minute
Referee: Roberto Moreno (PAN)
1st Asst.: Daniel Williamson (PAN)
2nd Asst.: Hiran Depico (CUB)
Fourth Official: German Arredondo (MEX)
Sierra Mist Man of the Match: Brian Ching
Standings & Schedule/Results Available on Gold Cup Competitions Page