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USA 3, Trinidad & Tobago 0: A Look Back


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You wanted more goals? Check.

You wanted a dominating victory? Check.

You wanted to see Michael Bradley have a great game? Check.

You wanted to see Eddie Johnson play well? Um, yeah, well, you can’t have it all.

The U.S. men’s national team put together a comprehensive 3-0 victory against an overmatched an uninspired Trinidad & Tobago team on Wednesday night and there were far more positives than negatives.

No, it wasn’t perfect. The attack squandered chances and Johnson was, well, awful in 23 minutes, but there were enough positives to go around from the U.S. team’s third World Cup qualifying won of the round.

You can start with the midfield, where Sacha Kljestan and Michael Bradley worked very well together. Kljestan has an attacking mindset that is considerably different from the other players Bradley has been paired with in the middle (Mastroeni, Edu and Clark) and this allowed Bradley to sit back a bit more and make him self available for all his teammates. He sprayed the ball around well and looked forward far more than in recent matches (T&T’s lack of pressure also helped)

The back-line was dominant but it had as much to do with the toothless T&T attack as it had to do with the Americans. Oguchi Onyewu dominated when he had to but was barely tested. Tim Howard was also light on action, with a diving stop in the second half the only really tough save he had to make all night.

You had Beasley showing much more energy and verve than he showed against Cuba, though I still think he showed some signs of rust. What matters is he showed progress and after the injuries he has had to deal with that is a very positive step.

You also had Dempsey showing some life and some energy to make you think that maybe, just maybe, that goal against Cuba will wake him up. Of course he still needs Roy Hodgson to start playing him or else he will risk getting rusty. Luckily for the national team, there probably aren’t any more crucial qualifiers this year and Dempsey will have a chance to leave Fulham in the January window to get some playing time if things don’t improve.

Now he is my take on Brian Ching. He isn’t a goal-machine, and he isn’t making anybody forget Brian McBride, but he can still serve a purpose on this team. Some folks get caught up in him being a target forward and thinking that the current U.S. team isn’t equipped to provide service from the flanks to make Ching effective. This ignores the fact that Ching is better with the ball at his feet that some realize, and he’s great at holding up the ball for teammates to make runs off him. The job should eventually fall to a player like Jozy Altidore, but for now, Ching doesn’t do a bad job.

Now it will be up to Bob Bradley to decide when to bring in the young players, the likes of Altidore and Adu and Cooper. I say do it ASAP. No, you don’t have to bring in a team full of inexperienced players, but we all know the players who have been on the outside looking in. The Americans are set to face Cuba without star player Roberto Linares, who drew a red card against Guatemala. The U.S. team should be able to beat Cuba at RFK Stadium next month with a few youngsters in the lineup.

Back to last night’s game. Here is a poll question for you. Which players performance impressed you the most?

And for those of you who missed it, here is my piece on the game for
What did you think of last night’s game? Share your thoughts below.


  1. I fail to see why BB is so willing to sacrifice the #9 as a player who just stands around with his back to goal and poses no real scoring threat. Whether its Ching or anyone else, that is a thankless role in the US scheme. No sense throwing Altidore out there to get kicked from behind all night. Cooper may be able to create something for himself (Ching can’t).

    As for man of the match, I though Klejstan was the key for the US. He played simple, quick, two-touch soccer all night long. T & T looked slower than Cuba because the ball moved faster. If you play as many slow, square balls as Edu did against Cuba, the opponents are going to look like good defenders. MB was guilty as well. Sacha did more than enough to justify another start.

  2. when is bob B going to realize that eddie johnson will never produce for the national team. we all know he is talented but he hasnt had a productive game in how long? especially when we have young exciting talent waiting on the bench that may actually produce or at least excite like we saw in glimpses at the olympics.

  3., over on the right, is a video player, click on “Highlights: MNT 3, Tri 0”.

    These are the best highlights online.

    On goal #1, it is Ching and Gooch who are offside. Lil Mikey was on but Ching and Gooch are not passive, very much a part of the play. The goal is shown 3 times on on and the 2nd time shows the best angle.

    On goal #2, the last highlight loop of this goal shows a close-up of Gooch handball. It’s his left-hand. Plain as day.

    Goal #3, all 3 angles show Gooch making contact with the keeper, whistle should have gone before ball came down to Ching.

    Accrington Stanley “The club that wouldn’t die”

  4. Mig,

    “””MB was onside by a bunch”””

    Lil Mikey, Gooch and Boca were up there and 2 of the 3 were offside when the kick was taken. Being right in front of the keeper, they were not passive, all part of the play. Lil Mikey’s “Traumtor” should have been chalked-off. What game were you watching?

    The second goal, Gooch handled during the build-up to the ball to Dempsey, not called.

    There wasn’t a question of offside on the 2nd goal, just the handball that wasn’t called.

    The third goal, having replayed it, unlike you, was definitely a foul on Gooch when he crashed into the T & T keeper in order to get onto the free kick. Thus, whether Ching was on or not (to be honest after further review he looked onside) doesn’t matter, as the play should have been whistled dead after Gooch knocked the keeper onto his back.

    So, the actual result could have been 0-0, despite how awful T & T played, the first 15 minutes of the second half being the exception.

    Accrington Stanley “The club that wouldn’t die”

  5. im not a huge fan of donovan, but i thought he played very well against T&T. he was fighting hard and tracked back on D. anyone else notice when bradley was taken out, the passing seemed to lack. granted it may be because we replaced bradley with clark, but seemed like bradley held the team together. that being said, he still has room for improvement.

  6. Gooch was excellent! Pearce is pathetic – stops the flow of the game. Put Demerit there even if it isn’t his natural position. I think our expectations of Bradley are unrealistic – he’s not Riquelme or Essien but he’s been pretty decent overall. So Ching can hold the ball and yet he can’t score as evidenced by the sitter he missed on Donovan’s superb cross. I feel like we’re still 5 or 6 players short of our first team including Altidore, Adu, and Cooper.

  7. I’m actually happy with the win– that said, i have a couple comments.

    1. I think MB does pretty well as the holding mid. I’m not quite sure why people think he’s so horrible. Yes, he’s got some work to do, but he’s a pretty good option when paired up with some one more offensively minded. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see what Mo can do with Sacha or Benny at his side, but I don’t think the nepotism is as bad as ppl say.

    2. Speaking of Sacha, he’s one of my favorite young US players. Yeah, he’ll commit a stupid foul here and there (ok more than most would like), but i like that fire– he’ll settle as he matures (def by 2010). He’ll get even better after he makes the jump across the pond. Note: Yes, i’m from Orange County, CA, but i liked him before i found out he was an Irvine Strikers product.

    3. Am I the only one that thinks Pearce is a little suspect? Maybe he’s the only good option we have at LB, but having him back there sometimes scares me– remember the Guatemala game? Just ruminating… I can admit that I might still be bitter that it was Pearce that got beat by Jonny Magallon (who produces no offense for either Mex or his club team Guadalajara)… beat not once by Jonny, but twice. That’s two of his three int’l goals…

    4. Ching does fine for us up there– though he doesn’t have that killer instinct a striker needs. I’d like to see what Jozy can do, and i have my doubts about Coop.

    5. Landon! quit disappearing and play a full 90 would you 🙂

    i don’t know a lot about a lot, just a little bit about a little bit.

  8. Sacha one of the few american players who can one touch a ball. Played well. Dont see what you see in Ching Iives. Any college line backer can do what he does. His close range misses make Chad Barrett look like Nistelroy

  9. panther- the first game in a long time the US actually played control and possessed soccer…. and MB was capable of play offense and defense successfully and scored…. therefore, i blame his lack of offense in previous games on the typical boot-the-ball style the US has been playing lately….

    if you would take clark over bradley you are foolish

  10. Stanly Villa: Your position has been made clear by several posts over the last week-plus(that I saw).

    MB was onside by a bunch. Dempsey was onside by a step and a half. Ching wasn’t even a candidate for being offside the way the ball moved.

    I’m not one to call somebody out but you’re just trolling. Try to be creative if you’re just looking for a rise. It’s boring…if you want be interesting and troll successfully, at least say something credible.

    Cheers all,

  11. DL be serious guy. Bradley has played more minutes than any other Nats player. With that said, can you name two good games he’s played? He’s foul prone, Easily beaten, and can’t connect a pass for anything. I’m not saying Clark is Gattuso or anyone, but I’d take him over Bradley any day. You guys are only so enamored with him b/c he scored all those goals with Herenveen, but he hasn’t replicated that with the Nats. He’s been borderline horrible. He wasn’t even good in the Olympics.

  12. Just catching up with the comments. A better performance but still far from convincing against poor competition.

    Nice to see the manager actually go the bench for a change, Lewis was a positive additional, he can at least pass the ball – EJ, well, no comment.

    Dont quite understand selection of Kljestan – wud like to know how many short back and lateral passes he made, zero forward thinking. Beasley lacks a final ball. Ching – no, we need a true goalscorer, think Twellman cud be perhaps best current alternative, with Altidore hopefully on way up.

    Bradley certainly has potential but needs to mature still, Germany will no doubt help. Lets hope Edu and Adu prove themselves and become serious part of 2012 campaign, hope so.

    Jury out on the Manager.

  13. I’d like to see Chad Marshall brought in. He’s had an excellent season for Columbus this year. He’s been my most productive fantasy player.

  14. Of course, Stanley Villa, if we are going to play “if the game was refereed properly,” you must admit that there were two instances in which the TnT defender fouled a US playing in the TnT box, which clearly should have been PKs for the US.

  15. Oh, on the build-up to the second goal, Gooch handled clearly and plainly, the Jamaican ref just either missed it or didn’t call it. So, really, this great triumph of Dad’s coaching was in reality a 0-0 draw against a bunch of players thrown together at the last minute with a new coach as all 3 goals were illegal. The 2 other goals were both OFFSIDE. What a joke.

  16. “””On the first goal MB was on”””

    Nope, afraid not. The Jamaican AR blew the call. Lil Mikey and another player, you say Ching, who were so close they were touching (so neither was in a passive offside position), were both off when Landon took the kick. During the flight of the ball, the T & T defenders rushed back and make it look like Lil Mikey was level, but it was a blown offside call. 2nd half goal was ridiculously offside as well. Shocking.

  17. Anyone know where to find highlights of the game? I dutifully tivo’d the other qualifiers, only to miss the game with goals and where you could see the field.

  18. Honestly, Trinidad & Tobago were so bad last night that it made our performance look good. We were still really sloppy in the 2nd half and we were getting away with murder in the 1st half (like holding the ball way too much instead of making quick passes).

    Whatever. The US needs to cut it against top teams or we’re still 3 and done in the 2010 WC.

  19. Happy with the result, but disappointed with the crowd in Chicago. What’s going on there? Its still a WCQ.

    I’m in DC. I promise you the lower bowl will be full.

    Oh, and I’ll be one of the many crying if they give EJ another chance.

  20. Agree with Delarge, Bradley’s giveaway that lead to the goal that was called back was just awful. I replayed it on the tivo a couple times and while Boca’s pass wasn’t great I still think that was just a terrible play. A better team would have taken advantage.


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