Five Things to Know: Trinidad & Tobago

As the U.S. prepares to take on its final hurdle of Semifinal Round of World Cup Qualifying vs. Trinidad & Tobago, here are five things you need to know about the Soca Warriors.

Jacksonville: A Nice Home

The MNT returns to Jacksonville’s EverBank Field for the fifth time in Tuesday night’s semifinal round World Cup Qualifying finale against Trinidad & Tobago. While this is the MNT’s first competitive match at the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars, the River City venue has proved an excellent backdrop for some memorable MNT moments throughout the years.

After falling 2-0 to a Jurgen Klinsmann-led Germany side at the opening match of the 1998 FIFA World Cup, the U.S. exacted some revenge the following February as German-based players Jovan Kirovski, Tony Sanneh and Claudio Reyna all scored first-half goals to earn an emphatic 3-0 victory against Die Mannschaft. The reigning European champions featured Lothar Matthaus, Oliver Kahn and Jens Jeremies that day.

WATCH: MNT defeats Germany 3-0 in 1999

Returning 13 years later under the direction of Klinsmann, the U.S. got a hat trick from Landon Donovan and memorable goals from Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones in a 5-1 rout of Scotland on May 26, 2012.

WATCH: MNT trounces Scotland 5-1 in 2012

A little more than two years on from that result, the MNT played the its last match in the Send Off Series before the 2014 FIFA World Cup as Jozy Altidore scored on both sides of halftime to give the U.S. a 2-1 win against Nigeria on June 7, 2014.

MNT Results at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.



Goal Scorers

June 17, 1997

USA 2, Israel 1

Lalas, Kirovski

Feb. 6, 1999

USA 3, Germany 0

Kirovski, Sanneh, Reyna

May 26, 2012

USA 5, Scotland 1

Donovan (3), Bradley, J. Jones

June 7, 2014

USA 2, Nigeria 1

Altidore (2)


Trinidad & Tobago comes into Tuesday’s match having already advanced to the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup by virtue of a nervy 2-2 draw with Guatemala on Friday night in Port of Spain.

While there are a few outcomes that would see the MNT advance, both teams still have all to play for as they try to finish on top of Group C. Only a win would allow the United States to finish first, while group leaders Trinidad & Tobago need only a draw.

Why is that important?

With the schedule for the final round of qualifying already determined, finishing atop the group for either team would set up a home clash with Mexico to open the Hex in mid-November. It would also mean a visit to likely Group B winners Costa Rica on Matchday 2 of the final round.

Since the current qualifying format was put into place for the 1998 World Cup cycle, the U.S. has always finished tops in its semifinal round qualifying group, laying the foundation for advancement to the World Cup.

Strong History vs. T&T

The MNT has fared well against Trinidad & Tobago, going 16-2-4 against the Soca Warriors since their first meeting, a 2-1 victory in 1982. The U.S. holds an 11-1-2 record against Trinidad in World Cup Qualifying, with the only loss coming in 2008 when the MNT had already advanced to the semifinal round.

More importantly, the U.S. holds an 11-0-1 all-time record at home against T&T, with the only tie coming in a World Cup qualifier, a 1-1 draw on May 13, 1989 in Torrance, Calif.

Tim Howard: All The Stats

Two-time World Cup veteran Howard returns to EverBank Field, the venue where he earned his 100th cap in the MNT’s 2-1 victory against Nigeria in 2014, ready to collect another career milestone on Tuesday night. Slated to start in goal vs. the Soca Warriors, Howard will move past former teammate and mentor Kasey Keller as the MNT’s all-time leader in World Cup Qualifying caps with 32.

With 109 career appearances for the USA, Howard is already the MNT’s most-capped goalkeeper of all-time and has been a part of the team’s long success against Trinidad & Tobago. The Colorado Rapids goalkeeper holds an unbeaten 3-0-1 in four matches against T&T and has never conceded a goal.

Changes in The Back

With center back Matt Besler heading home from camp to meet his new daughter and right back DeAndre Yedlin serving a one-match suspension after picking up his second yellow card of the semifinal round on Friday at St. Vincent, MNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann will switch things up in defense.

Having returned to the MNT after missing out on this summer’s Copa America Centenario, one possibility to replace Besler at center back is Omar Gonzalez. The 6-5 center back helped Pachuca to the Liga MX Clausura title earlier this year and has appeared in every match for Los Tuzos thus far in the new Apertura campaign.

If he gets the call, he’ll be ready.

“My mindframe is the same that I’ve had since coming into this camp, just be ready for anything,” he told reporters on Sunday. “I knew that I wasn’t going to maybe see the field against St. Vincent and my mindset has always been to come in, work hard, make it hard for the person I’m playing against and just have a good attitude, be a good team player and go from there. So far it’s worked well. I’ve felt good in the group, I’m happy to be back and everything is going well.”

Other options at center back include Steve Birnbaum and Michael Orozco, who could also start at right back in place of Yedlin.