The U.S. Men’s National Team used two second-half goals in a span of 10 minutes from 18-year-old Christian Pulisic to earn a 2-0 World Cup Qualifying victory against Trinidad & Tobago in front of a sellout crowd of 19,188 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.
With the victory, the U.S. is now 2-2-1 (seven points) in the Final Round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup ahead of Sunday’s match away to rivals Mexico at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City (8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, Univision and UDN). The clean sheet was USA goalkeeper Tim Howard’s 39th career shutout in 115 international games. He has 14 shutouts in 34 World Cup Qualifiers.
Pulisic’s two goals gave him seven in 15 international games and five in World Cup Qualifiers. The teenage phenom has scored four goals in his last four games, including the goal-winner in the recent 1-0 friendly with Venezuela.
Facing a Trinidad & Tobago side content to absorb pressure and counter, the U.S. attacked early and often, seeing a 15th minute attempt from Clint Dempsey swing just over the cross bar, before John Brooks and Jozy Altidore forced T&T goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams into back-to-back diving saves 10 minute later.
The Soca Warriors would break some of the pressure and get their best chance of the half in the 33rd minute when Khaleem Hyland crossed from the left for Kenwyne Jones. USA goalkeeper Howard couldn’t get to the ball in time and Jones nodded his effort off the cross bar before it was cleared from danger.
The U.S. forced another two-save sequence out of Williams in the 35th minute when Jorge Villafaña’s long-range effort was palmed away before Altidore’s follow-up header was tipped out for a corner kick. Trinidad & Tobago kept the U.S. honest just before the break, when another counter attack resulted in Hyland blasting a low effort that forced a diving stop out of Howard.
The breakthrough came just seven minutes into the second half when a well-worked build up between Darlington Nagbe and Dempsey eventually saw DeAndre Yedlin pick out Pulisic, who slid through the area to finish his sixth international goal in the 52nd minute.
Pulisic doubled the U.S. lead 10 minutes later when a simple combination between Yedlin and Altidore allowed the 18-year-old a lane into the box where he finished past Williams and inside the right post.
The U.S. nearly had a third when Alejandro Bedoya connected with fellow substitute Bobby Wood, who powered his effort from the top off the area off the left post in the 84th minute.
Next on the Schedule: The U.S. MNT quickly shifts its focus to the much anticipated road trip to face Mexico on Sunday, June 11. Kickoff from historic Estadio Azteca in Mexico City is schedule for 8:30 p.m. ET and the match can be seen live on FS1, Univision and UDN.
USA – Christian Pulisic (DeAndre Yedlin), 52nd minute: The U.S. broke through on a great team goal early in the second half. Darlington Nagbe picked up a loose ball and drove toward goal where he played a quick combination with Clint Dempsey to get into the box. When Nagbe was cut off in the area, he laid back for Yedlin, whose low cross found Pulisic sliding through the area to beat Jan-Michael Williams. USA 1, TRI 0
USA – Christian Pulisic (Jozy Altidore), 62nd minute: Arena’s side doubled the advantage 10 minutes later when a simple combination between Yedlin and Altidore saw the veteran forward slip Pulisic into the box on the right. The 18-year-old attacker entered the area before beating Williams inside the near post for his second of the match. USA 2, TRI 0 FINAL
- With the brace, Christian Pulisic now has seven international goals in 15 total appearances and five goals in eight World Cup Qualifying caps.
- The double was also the second multi-goal game of Pulisic’s MNT career, with his first coming in a 6-0 World Cup Qualifying win against St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Sept. 2, 2016.
- Pulisic has now scored four goals in his last four games for the U.S. MNT.
- DeAndre Yedlin tallied his seventh career assist on Pulisic’s first strike; it was his second in World Cup Qualifying.
- Jozy Altidore recorded his 12th career assist in the 62nd minute. With five, Altidore now sits tied with Pulisic for the most assists in CONCACAF during 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying.
- Goalkeeper Tim Howard made two saves to earn his 14th clean sheet in 36 World Cup Qualifying appearances and 39th in 115 total games for the USA.
- Clint Dempsey made his 134th appearance, tying him with Jeff Agoos for third on the MNT all-time caps list. Dempsey (39) also now sits just one World Cup Qualifying appearance behind Landon Donovan for the USA’s all-time lead in that category.
- Geoff Cameron and John Brooks paired in central defense together for the 10th time. Since first partnering together in a 4-3 win at Bosnia-Herzegovina on Aug. 14, 2013, the USA has gone 7-2-1 when the two have started in central defense.
- The U.S. MNT improved its record to 3-0-0 all-time at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
- The MNT is 18-2-4 all-time against Trinidad & Tobago. The USA has gone 13-1-3 in World Cup Qualifiers against the Soca Warriors and 9-0-1 all-time at home.
- Head coach Bruce Arena improves his record to 4-0-1 all-time against Trinidad & Tobago
- The U.S. MNT is unbeaten in six matches since Arena returned to his position last November, going 3-0-3, while scoring 11 goals and conceding just two.
– U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report –
Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Date: June 8, 2017
Competition: 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying – Final Round
Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park; Commerce City, Colo.
Kickoff: 6 p.m. MT
Attendance: 19,188 (sellout)
Weather: 82 degrees; partly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 2 2
TRI 0 0 0
USA – Christian Pulisic (DeAndre Yedlin) 52nd minute
USA – Christian Pulisic (Jozy Altidore) 62
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 20-Geoff Cameron, 6-John Brooks, 21-Jorge Villafaña; 4-Michael Bradley (capt.); 23-Fabian Johnson (11-Alejandro Bedoya, 74), 10-Christian Pulisic, 15-Darlington Nagbe, 8-Clint Dempsey (16-Kellyn Acosta, 61), 17-Jozy Altidore (9-Bobby Wood, 83)
Subs not used: 12-Brad Guzan, 22-Nick Rimando, 3-Omar Gonzalez, 5-Tim Ream, 7-DaMarcus Beasley, 13-Dax McCarty, 14-Paul Arriola, 18-Jordan Morris, 19-Graham Zusi
Head coach: Bruce Arena
TRI : 21-Jan-Michael Williams; 11-Akhenaton Edwards, 4-Sheldon Bateau, 17-Mekeil Williams, 5-Daneil Cyrus; 10-Kevin Molino, 19-Kevan George, 8-Khaleem Hyland (23-Leston Paul, 76), 3-Joevin Jones (12-Shahdon Winchester, 68); 7-Nathan Lewis, 9-Kenwyne Jones (capt.) (20-Jamille Boatswain, 82)
Subs not used: 1-Marvin Phillip, 2-Aubrey David, 6-Radanfah Abu Bakr, 13-Hughtun Hector, 14-Andre Boucaud, 15-Curtis Gonzales, 16-Alvin Jones, 18-Hashim Arcia, 22-Adrian Foncette
Head coach: Dennis Lawrence
Stats Summary: USA / TRI
Shots: 15 / 11
Shots on Goal: 9 / 2
Saves: 2 / 7
Corner Kicks: 4 / 5
Fouls: 3 / 4
Offside: 0 / 4
TRI – Leston Paul (caution) 76th minute
USA – Alejandro Bedoya (caution) 85
Referee: Oscar Moncada (HON)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Ramirez (HON)
Assistant Referee 2: Melvyn Cruz (HON)
Fourth Official: Raul Castro (HON)