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Global Oct 09, 2017

USMNT aims to clinch 2018 FIFA World Cup berth on Tuesday night

CHICAGO (Via U.S. Soccer) – The U.S. Men’s National Team will look to punch a ticket to its eighth-straight FIFA World Cup when it visits Trinidad & Tobago on the last day of Final Round Qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Tuesday.

Thanks to huge advantages in goal difference over Panama and Honduras, a draw against the Soca Warriors would likely be enough for the USA to lock down its place in Russia. Coverage of the Matchday 10 clash kicks off from Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, Trinidad at 8 p.m. ET on beIN Sports and UNIVERSO.

+READ: USA takes control of Group A with 1-0 win over Ghana at U-17 World Cup

U.S. MNT Roster by Position (Club; WCQ Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC; 15/0), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids; 38/0), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake; 0/0)

DEFENDERS (9): DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo; 35/6), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City; 13/1), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG; 24/2), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX; 17/0), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana/MEX; 6/1), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 6/0), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX; 5/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG; (9/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City; 20/3)

MIDFIELDERS (9): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; 5/0),Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution; 0/0), Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 6/1), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union; 10/0), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN; 39/7), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City; 6/0), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire; 1/0), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers; 10/0), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 12/6)

FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/CAN; 40/18), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC; 42/18), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes; 0/0), Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER; 13/5)

2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying – CONCACAF Final Round Standings






Pts .













x-Costa Rica




































Trinidad & Tobago









x- Qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup


Tuesday, Oct. 10
Trinidad & Tobago vs. USA 8 p.m. ET (beIN Sports, UNIVERSO)
Panama vs. Costa Rica 8 p.m. ET (beIN Sports Connect, Telemundo En Vivo
Honduras vs. Mexico 8 p.m. ET (Telemundo, beIN Sports Connect)


With the dominant 4-0 win against Panama on Friday combined with a 1-1 draw between Costa Rica and Honduras, a victory against Trinidad & Tobago would seal the USA’s berth in its eighth-consecutive World Cup. The four-goal shutout may also prove massive in the final tally, as it gives the United States a big lead in goal differential ahead of its closest rivals. Holding 12 points while both Panama and Honduras each have 10, a tie against T&T would mean the U.S. could only be equaled in points for third place by the other two teams. The first tie-breaker is goal differential, and the MNT holds a commanding seven-goal margin above Panama and sits a whopping 12 ahead of Honduras.

So what’s the easiest way for the USA to book its ticket to Russia? Put simply, it’s #Get3GetThru , but there are a few other ways the MNT can lock in third position. Here are all of them:

USA win at Trinidad & Tobago


USA draw at Trinidad & Tobago
Honduras and Panama do not make up goal difference in wins vs. Mexico and Costa Rica respectively


USA loss at Trinidad & Tobago
Honduras and Panama both draw/lose vs. Mexico and Costa Rica respectively

Check out all the scenarios around what needs to happen for the USA to finish third or fourth on the final matchday and take a look at the remaining “mini league” schedule below.

Against Trinidad & Tobago, the USA owns an 18-2-4 all-time record and 13-1-3 mark in World Cup Qualifiers, including 12 shutouts. The MNT has made seven qualifying visits to the dual-island nation, returning with a 4-1-2 advantage. The only defeat in Trinidad came during the Semifinal Round in 2008, when the USA had already qualified for the Hex.

Dating back to qualifying for the 1986 World Cup, the teams have met in every cycle except for the campaign for Brazil 2014. Five players on the current U.S. squad have tallied against Trinidad in World Cup Qualifying: Altidore (5), Pulisic, (2), Arriola, Bradley and Dempsey (1 each). Altidore, Bradley and Pulisic each have game-winners to their credit.

Learn more about Tuesday’s opponents and take a look at the MNT’s full World Cup Qualifying history against the Soca Warriors:

U.S. MNT vs. Trinidad & Tobago – World Cup Qualifying Results



U.S. Goal Scorers



May 15, 1985 2-1 W Borja, Peterson Semifinal St. Louis, Mo.
May 19, 1985 1-0 W Caligiuri Semifinal Torrance, Calif.
May 13, 1989 1-1 D Trittschuh Final Torrance, Calif.
Nov. 19, 1989 1-0 W Caligiuri Final Port of Spain, Trinidad
Nov. 10, 1996 2-0 W Dooley, Wynalda Semifinal Richmond, Va.
Nov. 24, 1996 1-0 W Moore Semifinal Port of Spain, Trinidad
June 20, 2001 2-0 W Razov, Stewart Final Foxborough, Mass.
Nov. 11, 2001 0-0 D Final Port of Spain, Trinidad
Feb. 9, 2005 2-1 W E. Johnson, Lewis Final Port of Spain, Trinidad
Aug. 17, 2005 1-0 W McBride Final East Hartford, Conn.
Sept. 10, 2008 3-0 W Bradley, Dempsey, Ching Semifinal Bridgeview, Ill.
Oct. 15, 2008 1-2 L Davies Semifinal Port of Spain, Trinidad
April 1, 2009 3-0 W Altidore (3) Final Nashville, Tenn.
Sept. 9, 2009 1-0 W Clark Final Port of Spain, Trinidad
Nov. 17, 2015 0-0 D Semifinal Port of Spain, Trinidad
Sept. 6, 2016 4-0 W Kljestan, Altidore (2), Arriola Semifinal Jacksonville, Fla.
June 8, 2017 2-0 W Pulisic (2) Final Commerce City, Colo.

In his two-goal, Budweiser Man of the Match performance against Panama , Jozy Altidore completed his seventh multi-goal game, surpassing Clint Dempsey for sole possession of second place on the all-time list behind Landon Donovan (9). He’s recorded at least one multi-goal game for six straight years since 2013. Coincidentally, his first came against Trinidad & Tobago during final round qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, when he became the youngest player in U.S. Soccer history to score a hat trick. With three assists from Landon Donovan, the U.S. cruised to a 3-0 win on April 1, 2009, in Nashville.

A nearly two-year qualifying process will come to an end next Tuesday, but an important aspect of it all is yellow card accumulation. Rules stipulate that any player that accumulates two yellow cards during CONCACAF’s 16-game World Cup Qualifying marathon must sit out their next official match.

The MNT went into Friday’s contest with nine players who, with another yellow card against Panama, would be suspended for Tuesday’s visit to Trinidad & Tobago: Kellyn Acosta, Paul Arriola, DaMarcus Beasley, Alejandro Bedoya, Matt Besler, Michael Bradley, Geoff Cameron, Clint Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin.

Despite all the fouls, cheap shots and off the ball incidents, the U.S. players maintained their discipline and composure and picked up zero yellow cards. As a result, the likes of team captain Michael Bradley, U.S. all-time leading scorer Clint Dempsey, World Cup veterans Alejandro Bedoya, Matt Besler and DeAndre Yedlin, and up-and-comers Kelly Acosta and Paul Arriola will all be available for selection in the decisive showdown with Trinidad & Tobago.

At this stage, single cautions have now been expunged and will no longer count towards a suspension. However, any player who receives two cautions or a red card in the final game would have to serve the suspension during their team’s next match in an official FIFA competition, including the World Cup.

Circumstances around the decisive USA-Trinidad & Tobago match have conspired to shine a light on one of the most historic moments in U.S. Soccer – in fact, arguably the launch of soccer in the United States in the modern era.

Like the game Tuesday, the teams met on Matchday 10 in qualifying for the 1990 FIFA World Cup. On Nov. 19, 1989 at Hasely Crawford Stadium, the U.S. needed a win to earn its first trip to the World Cup in 40 years, while the Soca Warriors could settle for a draw and qualify for the first time in the nation’s history. In the 30th minute, Paul Caligiuri blasted the “shot heard round the world” that delivered the United States a 1-0 win in Port-of-Spain and began a run of seven-consecutive berths in the World Cup (a feat that only seven other nations have achieved).

Trinidad will once again be inscribed in the annals of U.S. Soccer, and U.S. fans hope the echoes of ’89 will carry into Alto Boldon Stadium.

The MNT has been formidable this year, winning the confederation championship and taking points in all three road World Cup Qualifiers, including the 1-1 draw against Mexico at Estadio Azteca. The 2017 Gold Cup champions have lost only once in 17 matches, tallying 32 goals and recording eight shutouts. Eight players have put their names on the scoresheet multiple times, with Clint Dempsey and Christian Pulisic leading all U.S. scorers with five goals each. Pulisic has also tallied four assists.

With the Final Round reaching crunch time, Arena has called upon a group loaded with experience in World Cup Qualifying. A total of 12 players on the roster have made 11 or more FIFA World Cup Qualifying appearances: Clint Dempsey (42), Jozy Altidore (40), Michael Bradley (39), Tim Howard (38), DaMarcus Beasley (35), Geoff Cameron (24), Graham Zusi (20), Omar Gonzalez (17), Brad Guzan (15), Matt Besler, Bobby Wood (13 each) and Christian Pulisic (12).


  • Since first meeting in 1982, the U.S. Men’s National Team holds a 18-2-4 overall advantage against Trinidad & Tobago.
  • The MNT is 13-1-3 all-time in World Cup Qualifiers vs. the Soca Warriors and is 4-1-2 when those matches have been played in Trinidad.
  • The most famous game between the two nations came on Nov. 19, 1989 when Paul Caligiuri’s long-distance effort stood up in a 1-0 U.S. victory, sending the MNT to its first World Cup in 40 years while ending Trinidad & Tobago’s World Cup dream on the final day of qualifying.
  • Sixteen of the 24 meetings between the two sides have been decided by a goal or less.
  • U.S. MNT head coach Bruce Arena is 4-0-1 all-time vs. Trinidad & Tobago, with all five meetings coming in World Cup Qualifying.


  • A total of 14 players on the roster have made 10 or more FIFA World Cup Qualifying appearances: Clint Dempsey (42), Jozy Altidore (40), Michael Bradley (39), Tim Howard (38), DaMarcus Beasley (35), Geoff Cameron (24), Graham Zusi (20), Omar Gonzalez (17), Brad Guzan (15), Matt Besler, Bobby Wood (13 each), Christian Pulisic (12), Alejandro Bedoya and Darlington Nagbe (10 each).
  • FIFA rules state that only a red card in a team’s final World Cup Qualifying match would force a player to miss his team’s next World Cup match, which means the nine U.S. players that have cautions during qualifying are now safe from receiving another yellow card: Acosta, Arriola, Beasley, Bedoya, Besler, Bradley, Cameron, Dempsey and Yedlin.
  • With his brace against Trinidad & Tobago, Jozy Altidore recorded his seventh-career multi-goal game, placing him second all-time behind only Landon Donovan (9). Altidore has come up with a multi-goal game in every calendar year going back to 2013 – an MNT record.
  • Having already tied Clint Dempsey for first on the MNT’s all-time World Cup Qualifying goals list with 18, Altidore’s 11 all-time goals in the Hex place him only one behind all-time leader, Carlos Pavon of Honduras (12).
  • Though he has four goals and four assists so far, in one way or another, Pulisic has been involved in 11 of the 16 goals scored by the U.S. during the Final Round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying.
  • With his 63rd minute goal on Friday vs. Panama, Bobby Wood has tallied in two-straight matches for the first time since his memorable game-winners against the Netherlands and Germany in June 2015. Wood of course scored an 85th minute equalizer in the MNT’s crucial 1-1 draw at Honduras on Sept. 5.
  • Should he appear vs. Trinidad & Tobago, Altidore will move past Landon Donovan and into sole possession on the MNT’s all-time World Cup Qualifying caps list with 41.
  • Goalkeeper Tim Howard earned his 42nd career clean sheet and 16th all-time in qualifying on Fridayvs. Panama.
  • Defenders Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez have paired in central defense five times in 2017. The MNT is 3-0-2 when they’ve partnered together this year and is 8-3-6 all-time when the two line up together as center backs.
  • Three players will look to make their World Cup Qualifying debuts: goalkeeper Nick Rimando, midfielder Juan Agudelo and forward Chris Wondolowski.
  • Five players have recorded World Cup Qualifying goals against Trinidad & Tobago: Altidore (5), Pulisic, (2), Arriola, Bradley and Dempsey (1 each).
  • Then 19 years old, Altidore memorably tallied a hat trick in a 3-0 qualifying victory against the Soca Warriors on April 1, 2009 in Nashville. He tallied two more in the USA’s 4-0 win vs. T&T during the Semifinal Round on Sept. 6, 2016 in Jacksonville, Fla.
  • That Semifinal Round match also saw Arriola score the fourth goal in his World Cup Qualifying debut for the U.S.
  • Most recently, Pulisic scored both goals in the USA’s 2-0 World Cup Qualifying win on June 8, 2017 in Commerce City, Colo.
  • Having made his MNT debut in 2009, midfielder Dax McCarty earned his first World Cup Qualifying cap vs. Panama. The Orlando area native entered as a substitute for Christian Pulisic in the 57thminute.
  • Benny Feilhaber is back with the MNT for the first time since assisting on the game-winning goal in the USA’s 1-0 friendly win vs. Jamaica on Feb. 5, 2017. The Sporting KC midfielder also enters his first World Cup Qualifying camp since October 2009.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Adrian Foncette (Police FC), Greg Ranjitsingh (Louisville City FC/USA), Glenroy Samuel (Morvant Caledonia United)

DEFENDERS (8): Daneil Cyrus (Juticalpa/HON), Kevan George (Jacksonville Armada/USA), Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Triston Hodge (DirecTV W Connection), Kareem Moses (North Carolina FC/USA), Josiah Trimmingham (Club Sando), Kevon Villaroel (North East Stars), Mekeil Williams (Colorado Rapids/USA)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Neil Benjamin Jr. (W Connection), Levi Garcia (AZ Alkmaar/NED), Khaleem Hyland (Al-Faisaly Harmah/KSA), Joevin Jones (Seattle Sounders/USA), Jared London (Club Sando), Nathan Lewis (San Juan Jabloteh), Leston Paul (Pasaquina FC/SLV), Kathon St. Hillaire (St. Ann’s Rangers);

FORWARDS (3): Trevin Caesar (Sacramento Republic/USA), Akeem Roach (Vida/HON), Shahdon Winchester (Murcielagos/MEX)

Head coach: Denis Lawrence


  • Trinidad enters Matchday 10 having already been eliminated from contention for qualifying for the World Cup.
  • With only three points through nine matches, the Soca Warriors gamely held off group leaders Mexico until the 78th minute on Friday night before succumbing 3-1 in Mexico.
  • T&T boss Dennis Lawrence has built this roster with an eye towards the future, calling 10 players who are 24 years old and under.
  • Khaleem Hyland leads the squad in caps with 74 international appearances.
  • Six players in the squad currently play in the United States, including Seattle Sounders FC winger Joevin Jones and Colorado Rapids defender Mekeil Williams.
  • Minnesota United FC midfielder Kevin Molino picked up his second yellow of the campaign in the loss against Mexico and is suspended for the match. With 38 caps, Molino

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