Winning Streak Snapped As Young U.S. Men's National Team Falls to Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (Oct. 15, 2008) — With a berth to next year’s Final Round of qualifying already secure, the U.S. Men’s National Team fell 2-1 to Trinidad & Tobago on a 79th-minute penalty kick on Wednesday night at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Trinidad.

Experience was the story of the game, as Russell Latapy, 40, and Dwight Yorke, 36, scored both goals for Trinidad, while also helping the Soca Warriors hold a U.S. lineup that averaged less than 24-years-old to just three shots all evening. After a scoreless first half, Latapy opened the scoring in the 61st minute and then Charlie Davies notched the equalizer with 15 minutes remaining, but Yorke put the Soca Warriors one step closer to advancing to the Final Round when he stepped up and buried the game-winning spot kick.

For the U.S., only four of the 11 starters had more than 10 caps going into the game, while central defender Michael Orozco was making his first career international appearance. Jose Torres, who made his first appearance as a reserve against Cuba just four days earlier, was also making his first career start for the U.S. Men. Meanwhile, for Trinidad & Tobago, Latapy and Yorke played in the infamous match on Nov. 19, 1989, in which Paul Caligiuri scored the goal that gave the U.S. a 1-0 victory and earned a place at the 1990 FIFA World Cup.

The win for Trinidad & Tobago was their first in 14 years against the U.S., and first-ever FIFA World Cup qualifying win in a dozen tries.

“It was a hard fought match. I thought both teams went after each other in a way that made it hard,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley after his first loss to a CONCACAF opponent. “In the second half, I thought we had a good response when we went down 1-0, and unfortunately when the game is 1-1 and everything is to play for, we have a foul.  Certainly we have a lot of respect for Trinidad & Tobago.  They have a lot of talented players, and we knew it was going to be a physical game. It was hard match and a physical match, with intensity on both sides."

After a nervous first quarter by both teams that included two chances on set pieces by Trinidad & Tobago, the game settled down and the U.S. was able to hold possession but struggled to create any dangerous chances in the final third.

Trinidad & Tobago’s first chance came from a few yards outside the top corner of the penalty area in the fourth minute after a foul by José Torres. Keon Daniel curled in a right footed free kick that goalkeeper Brad Guzan punched out at the far post. His clearance bounced off the foot of Maurice Edu and came back toward goal, but Orozco was able to clear the dangerous rebound.

In the 17th minute there was again a nervous moment for the U.S. in the area, when a corner kick bounced around Guzan’s area before it fell to Keyeno Thomas, who first whiffed at the ball, but got a second chance only to drill a 12-yard shot over everything.

The hosts would have three more chances in the first half, the first in the 24th minute with Jason Scotland forcing a Guzan save at the near post, and later a shot by Chris Birchill that deflected off Orozco and took a tricky bounce before Guzan smothered. In first half stoppage time, Scotland shot wide from 20 yards after a pass from Latapy split the U.S. defense.

The best U.S. chance of the first half was in the 25th minute, as Jozy Altidore dribbled past one defender and held the ball just long enough to time a through ball to DaMarcus Beasley, who got into the area alone. Before Beasley, wearing the captain’s arm band for the first time in his 82 appearances, could cut the ball back, the linesman signaled offside in a decision that was later refuted by television replays.

The second half started with much of the same, as a Torres through ball for Altidore caused the lineman to raise his flag on a close call, and on the other end Scotland couldn’t get a ball inside the post after Trinidad & Tobago caught the U.S. pushing up and Birchill sent the clearance back into the area.

Trinidad & Tobago got on the score sheet first in the 61st minute as they attacked the U.S. up the middle before the ball was sent wide right to Carlos Edwards. He dribbled one-on-one vs. Heath Pearce to get into the area before chipping a soft pass back into the center. Latapy backed off his run to create space away from Danny Califf, and hit a first-time shot that hit the post and went off a diving Guzan’s back before going into the net.

The U.S. was able to respond in the 75th minute, as Davies found the back of the net just six minutes after coming into the game. The play started on the right with Altidore laying the ball back to Maurice Edu. Edu’s first touch forward was overcooked, but fortunately went right back to Altidore who was able to turn through the Trinidad & Tobago defense and dribble to the endline, where his low cross was tapped into an open goal by a charging Davies.

Three minutes later, Edwards was dangerous again as Trinidad & Tobago substitute Khaleem Hyland sent a cross from the left that was deftly settled by Edwards beyond the far post before he uncorked a shot that was cleared over the goal by Orzoco. On the ensuing corner, Altidore surrendered a penalty as he grabbed a handful of Makan Hislop’s jersey in plain site of referee Walter Quesada, who pointed to the spot. Yorke converted the game-winner for Trinidad & Tobago.

In the 83rd minute Altidore had the opportunity to redeem the penalty he surrendered. Beasley sent a long free kick to the right side of the area that was headed across goal by Sacha Kljestan and then flicked left again by Davies. Altidore was unmarked at the far post, but hit the header wide from three yards out.

The U.S. team’s seven-game winning streak in qualifiers that dated to 2005 was snapped, as was their perfect run in 2010 qualifying. The loss also snapped a record three-game winning streak in road qualifiers. Pearce, making the start at left back, is now the only U.S. player to appear in all seven FIFA World Cup qualifying matches this cycle.

In the other Group 1 match, Cuba stunned Guatemala 2-1 in Havana, meaning that Trinidad & Tobago holds a three point edge over Guatemala going into the final match day.

The U.S. team will regroup for its final match of the year and final qualifier from the Semifinal Round on Nov. 19 vs. a Guatemala team that needs a win for any hope of advancing to the hexagonal next year. Tickets for their first-ever appearance at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. are on sale now at ussoccer.com, the stadium’s box office, and Colorado Dick’s Sporting Goods stores.

U.S. Men's National Team Match Report

Match-up: USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Date: October 15, 2008
Competition: 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying – Semifinal Round
Venue: Hasely Crawford Stadium – Port of Spain, Trinidad
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
Attendance: 18,000
Weather: 80 degrees, clear

Scoring Summary:     
                                          1     2        F
USA                                  0     1        1
Trinidad & Tobago        0     2        2

TRI – Russel Latapy (Carlos Edwards)        61st minute
USA – Charlie Davies (Jozy Altidore)             75.
TRI – Dwight Yorke (penalty kick)                   79.
USA: 18-Brad Guzan; 15-Heath Pearce (11-Chris Rolfe, 88), 14-Danny Califf, 5-Michael Orozco, 2-Frankie Hejduk; 7-DaMarcus Beasley, 4-Jose Francisco Torres (8-Danny Szetela, 84), 17-Freddy Adu (10-Charlie Davies, 69), 13-Maurice Edu, 16-Sacha Kljestan; 17; 9-Jozy Altidore.
Subs: 1-Troy Perkins, 3-Jonathan Bornstein, 6-Marvell Wynne, 12-Brian Carroll.
Head Coach: Bob Bradley

TRI: 1-Clayton Ince; 3-Akile Edwards, 5-Keyeno Thomas (4-Makan Hislop, 35), 6-Dennis Lawrence; 7-Chris Brichill, 9-Keon Daniel, 10-Russel Latapy (8-Khaleem Hyland, 76), 11-Carlos Edwards, 16-Silvio Spann, 12-Jason Scotland (14-Stern John, 67), 17-Dwight Yorke
Subs: 2-Clyde Leon, 13-Osei Telesford, 15-Darryl Roberts, 18-Marvin Phillip
Head Coach: Francisco Maturana

Stats Summary:   
                           USA / TRI
Shots                     3 / 8
Shots on Goal      1 / 4
Saves                     2 / 0
Corner Kicks        4 / 4
Fouls                   14 / 11
Offside                  3 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Jozy Altidore (caution)        78th minute

Referee: Walter Quesada (CRC)
1st Asst.: Leonel Leal (CRC)
2nd Asst.: Osvaldo Luna (CRC)
Fourth Official: Oscar Moncada (HON)

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MNT Oct 15, 2008