The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team is one step away from clinching a playoff spot at the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship when it faces Trinidad & Tobago on Wednesday, Jan. 21, at the Montego Bay Sports Complex in Jamaica.
The USA has won back-to-back games against Aruba and Jamaica and is third in Group A with a 2-1-1 record and seven points behind Panama (4-0-0, 12 points) and Guatemala (3-0-1, 10 points). Trinidad & Tobago is fourth in the group at 1-2-1 (4 points), Jamaica is fifth at 0-3-1 (1 point) and Aruba is sixth (0-4-0, 0 points).
If these standings hold, Panama would win the group and earn automatic qualification to the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand. The second- and third-place teams, currently Guatemala and the USA, would advance to a playoff match on Saturday. The CONCACAF U-20 Championship’s four playoff-bound teams will be reseeded to determine the matchups, and the two playoff winners would then qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
The U.S. will clinch a playoff berth with either a win or a draw against Trinidad & Tobago.
The U.S. U-20 MNT is coming off a 2-0 win against Jamaica on Sunday, Jan. 18, highlighted by two penalty kick goals from Romain Gall. Gall is tied with Mexico’s Hirving Lozano with five goals in this tournament.
Trinidad & Tobago opened the qualifying stage with a 2-2 draw against Jamaica and a 5-1 victory against Aruba. Trinidad then lost 2-0 to Guatemala on Jan. 14 and group leader Panama 1-0 on Sunday, Jan. 18. Aikim Andrews and Kadeem Corbin have scored two goals apiece to lead Trinidad & Tobago in this tournament.
USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago Notes:
- The USA has faced Trinidad & Tobago more than any other Group A opponent with 13 previous meetings in either a CONCACAF Youth Tournament or Championship.
- The U.S. is 9-2-2 all-time against Trinidad & Tobago and enters the Jan. 21 match with a six-game unbeaten streak head-to-head (5-0-1).
- During the six-game unbeaten run, the USA has outscored Trinidad & Tobago 23-3. Despite the flurry of goals, the USA most recently played host Trinidad to a scoreless draw through regulation at the 2009 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, advancing with a 4-3 shootout victory.
- Other recent wins included a 6-1 victory on Jan. 12, 2005, in Carson, California. Eddie Gaven notched a hat trick while a 15-year-old Freddy Adu and Will John also scored a goal apiece. The USA also benefited from a Trinidad own goal. The U-20s built a 5-1 lead through the game’s first 25 minutes.
- The U.S. earned a berth for the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship with a 5-1 win against Trinidad in qualifying on March 20, 2001. DaMarcus Beasley scored twice, and Landon Donovan, Bobby Convey and Brad Davis each contributed a goal.
- Other memorable wins during this unbeaten streak feature a 6-1 clobbering to win its group at the 17th CONCACAF Youth Championship on Aug. 9, 1998, with Chris Albright and Nick Garcia scoring two goals apiece in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. On Aug. 22, 1994, Chad Barrett’s two goals led the way for a 4-0 USA win in Puerto Cortes, Honduras. That was preceded by a 2-0 win on May 5, 1992, that included goals from Gregg Berhalter and Chris Faklaris in the 14th CONCACAF Youth Tournament.
- The USA’s first match against Trinidad & Tobago was at the fifth CONCACAF Youth Tournament in 1974. After winning Group C with a 2-0-1 record, the U.S. played Trinidad to a 1-1 draw through regulation but fell 4-3 in penalties on Aug. 28.
- The U.S. took on Trinidad & Tobago twice in the CONCACAF Youth Tournament in Honduras in 1978, earning a 4-0 win in the first round and a 3-0 victory in the second round.
- Additional USA triumphs included the 10th CONCACAF Youth Tournament, with a Dave Smyth goal leading the U.S. to a 1-0 victory on Sept. 3, 1984, and a convincing 4-1 win at the 12th CONCACAF Youth Tournament on April 9, 1988. Ben Crawley led the way with two goals in Guatemala City.