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USMNT content with road draw against Trinidad & Tobago

USMNT applaud Trinidad and Tobago 83

It may not have been ideal and it certainly wasn’t pretty, but the U.S. Men’s National Team is more than happy with the result of Tuesday’s clash with Trinidad & Tobago.

Tasked with traveling to face the tough Soca Warriors, the USMNT emerged from Hasely Crawford Stadium with a point in hand following a scoreless draw. The point keeps the U.S. atop its World Cup Qualifying group, where it will sit until play resumes in March.

“As we expected, it was a tricky game,” said head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “I think T&T started well in the first 20-25 minutes. I think after 20-25 minutes, we took over and chances were on both sides. I think we had the clearer ones. Wished we could have put one of those in, but overall a tie is alright. It keeps us in first place in the group and I give a compliment to the guys.

“It was what we expected: a very tough Trinidad team to play against. This is what you get here when you come down and, at the end of the day, if you take one point away, that’s alright.”

Facing a dangerous T&T attack spearheaded by Kenwyne Jones, the U.S. remained defensively stout throughout the match after emerging from a 20-minute rough spell at the start. With Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron paired at centerback, Jones’ impact was limited. U.S. midfielder Jermaine Jones also helped out, cleaning up any messes coming from second balls.

“He’s strong, he’s powerful, but I thought we did well tonight,” Cameron said of the Soca Warriors forward. “We battled and I thought defensively we were good. Our shape was good. I think they had only one really solid chance, but other than that, I thought we were solid. We defended well and kept it organized. It’s a good point on the road.”

Added goalkeeper Tim Howard: “I think they have a strength and I think they play to that strength. They’ve got some talented guys on the ball for the most part. If you keep them in front of you, it’s no problem. Their biggest threat is Kenwyne and the knockdowns. I think they’ve gotten better for sure.”

Out wide in defense, both Tim Ream and Michael Orozco contributed as well, but the former was forced to leave early with a head injury.

While the defense performed admirably, the attack sputtered on the heels of a commanding 6-1 win over St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

In the midfield, the partnership of Michael Bradley and Jones continued to look a bit awkward, while DeAndre Yedlin and Fabian Johnson didn’t quite get involved as much as they did last time out.

With Jozy Altidore holding up play from the forward position, Gyasi Zardes was presented with the best chances of the night. Zardes whiffed on a good look in the first half, and a second-half header caromed off the crossbar in what was the Americans’ brightest look at a winner.

“I think Gyasi, as long as he gets on the end of those balls, that means he has the smell for it, and makes the right runs and knows how to move,” Klinsmann said. “Then, he gets the opportunity to score, so next time he will score those ones. They didn’t go in today.”

Added Cameron: “We got unlucky. We didn’t take our chances. We had two opportunites, two clear opportunities, two crossbars or whatever, and we could have done better in the final third, but that will come. It’s still a great point on the road. This is qualifying. This is what happens. They always make it difficult when we’re playing away, and they did. They had a great crowd tonight. For me, it was a great performance.”

Now with four points through two games, the U.S. can all but lock up a spot in the final round of qualifying when March’s games roll around. Facing off with Guatemala in back-to-back matches, the Americans have put themselves in a position to survive and advance.

That’s all Klinsmann could ask for. Despite all of its recent struggles, the U.S. remains favorites to qualify should business be taken care of in four months’ time.

“We want to go into Guatemala in March and get three points and beat them at home and make it clear that we finish the group as the No. 1 team,” Klinsmann said. “I think this is our understanding. We know that it’s not easy in no place going away here in CONCACAF, but our goal is to take a huge step there in March with six points and then go through this group.

“It’s important that you don’t give anybody an advantage here by tying this game, even if you wanted to win it. Getting a tie here means you can leave it behind you and I think this is very important.”


  1. It just plain sends the wrong message to say we are “content” with a draw against T&T. US Soccer should be disappointed both in the result and in the way we played.

  2. While it wasn’t pretty and nowhere near where we need to be in order to actually compete on the global stage we need to look at what positives we can take away from this game.
    1) The defense of Ream, Besler, & Cameron looks to be building chemistry. Still need to stabilize the RB spot, but it is a step in the right direction.
    2) First wave of new blood, Zardes, Nagbe, & Wood are showing that they are positive additions to the team. As they grow in experience hopefully their impact will increase as well.
    3) Second wave of new blood (Finlay, Lleget, Rubin, Miazga, & others) should add to the strength of the team starting as soon as the 2016 January Camp Cup Cake.
    4) Players were missing from these 2 games. Love them or hate them…there were still quality players absent from this past camp. Fabian, Chandler, Books, Williams, Morales, etc….when healthy & in form add to the strength & options for the team.

    The January Camp should be very informative regarding which players are ready to take the next step and how the USMNT will look going forward. I’m hoping to see something along the following:

    Bench: Birnbaum, Parker, Diskerud, Trapp, Lleget, Bunbury, Rowe, Agudelo

    * Can’t think of a RB in MLS who would be able to join the pool.

    • If you are looking at only MLS players its probably Tony Beltran or Sheanon Williams. Maybe Justin Morrow (I think he plays more LB) or Sal Zizzo. Only Williams is under 28.

      I am not sure, I know the 4-2-3-1 is all the rage in MLS but not sure it fits with the group you picked. Bradley doesn’t like to play that deep anymore, Zardes would need to tuck more inside not his strong suit and Nagbe is not usually playing that centrally either, likes to attack in between CBs and the outside backs..

      Tony Tchani is still uncapped for Ghana as well, might be worth a run.

      • Well there’s a reason why 4-2-3-1 is all the rage globally, not just MLS, and its because of how tactically malleable it is. It usually transforms on offense into a 4-3-3 , or even 3-4-3 if your bold and really pressing the defense; just like it almost always drops into 4-4-1-1/4-5-1 on defense.

        And I actually disagree with your idea about Bradley not fitting in. I think he’d be great in it, as the 2 DM’s are reserved for 1 holding mid, and 1 defensively sound box-to-box. Give him someone like Beckermen/Kitchen/Williams to pair with and hang back, and you’ll see a much better Bradley, free decide when to hang back and provide over-the-top balls, and when to run in a join the attack.

        The formation 4-2-3-1 the way its played under Mourinho or Wenger, doesn’t require pure-wingers who like to stick close to the outside (which we don’t have, or at least any really good ones), but more like outside AM’s like Hazard or Sanchez, who play exactly how Nagbe would play it. It also allows for your width to come from attacking fullbacks, who we have plenty of assuming Yedlin develops appropriately and Shea can complete the transformation. And of course FabJo.

  3. I think Klinsmann is finally making the strides forward with the national team that the “haters” have been looking forward. The team is moving towards a core group of players for 2018 and the players on the field are starting to resemble the most likely to contribute in 2018. Not playing Gordon and playing Wood, playing Nagbe to attack instead of Beckermen to defend are just two examples of movement in the right direction. I think the USMNT needs to transform from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 though. I was glad to see Klinsmann in his post game cite Nagbe as a CM and I feel he could be a solution. I personally would like to see Kitchen or Williams push out Jones from the starting 11. I’d also like to see Agudelo take the place as that late game sub role Gordon has. Adugelo has the ability to make something from nothing, but isnt starting material. Ream is USMNT material, but isnt a LB. He should compete with Besler for the LCB postion and we should groom Shea or even Lichaj for LB.

    • Formation doesnt matter. Jurgens impact on our development wont be seen till 2022-2026.

      The coaches have said in mutliple interviews that lining up all the youth teams in one uniform and style has not been done before. Working hand in hand to make the different age groups cohesive and together. Will it produce results? Lets hope so but we wont know. OUr first competitive futsal teams are competing now. Just the FIRST year of really getting this competitive. We are getting beat badly too. It shows how far we have to go in this country.

      The point of my statement is…. patience. We are not going to win the world cup anytime soon. Probably not in your or my lifetime. It takes a lot of work and time and development.

      MLS so far has failed in its task to do so. But it is a solid league. I am disappointed that they felt that our top USMNT stars should come back and it would help the USMNT.

      • In what top footballing country does primary player development occur on the national team? It’s certainly good to have a Technical Director setting a tone sending a united message regarding the importance of player development, but… if there is any hope of this country developing large numbers of players, it will have to happen at the club level. In other words- MLS/USL, and hopefully NASL. The greatest changes toward that end have thankfully just begun w/ MLS restarting its program, teams such as LA Galaxy forming USL sides. It’s going to take some time, perhaps a step back in order to take a leap forward, but our hopes really live or die with the fate of our domestic league.

    • We are grooming Shea for that position but he’s not there yet so in the mean time i think Ream will and should stay there. He had a couple of moments last night where a pacy player gave him problems on the end line but those are few and far between. Say what you want but i think Ream has surpassed alot of peoples expectations at LB, whether it’s positioning, defending 1v1 or even getting forward and providing penetrating passes to midfielders in creative positions. You have to think he will get better the more he plays there as well so all in all we’ve found someone that’s more than serviceable at LB until Shea wins the job or not.

      • Ream should absolutely stay in the picture for now. I like his discipline and reliability, and he provides a safe stay-at-home option should a pure-attacking winger emerge. Also, his comfort on the ball and smooth passing is extremely needed on defensive line that resorts far to much to clearing instead of passing away from danger. Nothing wrong with keeping guys like FabJo, Yedlin, Shea in the pool as attacking options, as well as guys like Ream and Cameron as more defensive options.

  4. at an age of 23, 24, etc, realistically how much do players improve in technical skill? I’m talking the basics, trapping, control, pass accuracy. I watch guys like zardes and yedlin (talking yedlin as a winger) and it drives me bananas that they can’t control a pass and then dispatch one out accurately. And then I watch FJ and Nagbe and its like night and day. It just seems fruitless to have speed guys who can’t control a pass. Or is it that our only shot against elite teams is to suffer thru the botched passing and trapping if it means one time we speed behind a defense and score ?

    • Failure to develop players in this country over the past 12 years. 2002-2012 is just an empty wasteland. Donovan and Dempsey are two strikes of lightning but really Dempsey became the player he did in England and Cherundolo in Germany. Donovan was just exceptional but his best years were his loan years to Bayern Everton and everton. Was amazing for USMNT and unstoppable in those three seasons.

      • Yep – MLS is to blame for everything Matt. A 20 team soccer league with 21k+ average attendance, on TV in several other countries, creating actual soccer culture in this country? Who needs that? Things were way better when we had no professional league whatsoever, amirite?

      • Again you are accepting the mediocre player development MLS has given us. Everyone wants to blame Jurgen for players who were developed way before he even joined the program.

        Its unfortunate.

      • Slowleftarm-
        Where exactly did he say MLS was to blame? Besides, What exactly did Matt say that was incorrect? That it took MLS about 20 years to realize they cannot rely on NCAA and the college game to develop their players? That MLS (and US Soccer) relying on a single national center (Bradenton) for ALL your best prospects is an extremely inefficient way of scouting and development?

        Are you really trying to say guys like Dempsey, Cherundolo, Beasley, etc. DID NOT get better by moving to better competition, better training, etc.? That John O’Brien, the “best American player ever” (Donovan’s words, not mine), was worse off for going to Ajax as a teen? Or that in half a season, Lletget has already shown to be one of the most dynamic players on a star-studded LAG; was he wrong to try and hack it at West Ham? Even Donovan, who continues to be one of the most naturally gifted American player, spent his formative years at Bayer Leverkusen, trying to compete for a first-team role on what was probably the best German club at the time. That experience, undeniably a poor one for Donovan personally, but certainly is what established the kind of base that led him to dominate MLS for almost a decade.

        I enjoy the MLS, and I have high hopes for its ability to develop players now that academies are in full swing. But we also need to be realistic

      • Matt has been blasting MLS all day. It’s not that I think these guys can’t get better by going to Europe. I think they can and I think many of them will. But that doesn’t mean the coach gets a free pass either. That sure isn’t how it works elsewhere. Other countries don’t throw their hands up and say “no point blaming the coach, these are the player he has.”

        Also, John O’Brien is not the best American player ever. Not even in the top 100. Maybe Donovan thinks he had the most talent but that’s different than actually accomplishing something.

      • Well, I certainly don’t think the coach ever should get a free pass. But I believe Matt’s original comment was to player development, which the MLS is terrible at. Again, we can be happy with its rise to stability and finally providing some entertaining play, but we also have to realistic in where its is at and demand better. Homegrown talents like Miazga, Trapp, Hamid, etc. should be A LOT more common in a league who is bound by salary caps. They are still far to reliant on the draft system, although that is changing.

        Also, with all due respect, but you lost me with your comment on John O’brien and kind of enforce everything that is wrong with our soccer culture in identifying talent, which is thinking stats and objective data are the end all be all. How many American’s swoon over Messi, and don’t realise that Busquets abilities as the sole DM was equally as important in their successes? Or were perplexed when Henry suggested his son should study and emulate Muller and not Ronaldo/Messi, despite their records and Balon D’Or? The beautiful game is exactly that because of its complexities that cannot be measured.

        I know its subjective, but you’ll probably find O’brien in most Top 10 lists at least. Not in the Top 100? Because he hasn’t accomplished anything? By that logic, NO AMERICAN has ever accomplished anything, except for some MLS cups, if you want to rate them. He at least won the Eredivisie twice, at a time when Dutch soccer was better than it is now. I’ll trust one of the best clubs in the world on player identification and rating. O’brien rivaled Reyna on technical ability, but was FAR more tactically astute and far more balanced in his ability than any other American. So astute, that apart from his regular role as FB, Ajax would play him in various other positions, because he was the second choice in them as well. Series of injuries held him back, like Stu Holden, from not only playing more in the Champions League, but potentially being part of a successful club.

  5. ———Altidore————————–Wood———





    Somehow Altidore seemed efficient for once when people around him were not performing
    Nagbe came in and the midfield became fluent between him, Bradely and jones (T&T seemed to be pinned all of a sudden.
    Cameron was pushing up, breaking up plays and control the backline up high in the middle (Jones is getting old, Beckerman is up there and only getting slower….maybe Cameron at CDM at some point?!!).
    Besler and Ream were solid

    • hmmmm or maybe






      • I like the lineup, but for some reason I just don’t see Besler capable of playing in a 3 man line, let alone leading it from the center.

        I could be wrong, but I just don’t see it as viable.

      • I know right????? Ronda Rousey got knocked out, Jozy Altiore is in my line-up……what is the world coming to?!!!!!! Not really, only because Klinsmann will play him regardless, even he can’t score goals against tough opposition. Only getting rid of Klinsmann can get rid of Altidore. It is what it is

      • “Only getting rid of Klinsmann can get rid of Altidore. It is what it is”

        LoL. Are you sure… that is what they said about the auto insert of Bradley Jr and Altidore into the line-up under Badley and…. 4 years later…

    • Yes, I’m sure that you know better than somebody who has played in a World Cup and spent almost five seasons in the Premier League.

      • ““We got unlucky. We didn’t take our chances. We had two opportunites, two clear opportunities, two crossbars or whatever, and we could have done better in the final third, but that will come. It’s still a great point on the road. This is qualifying. This is what happens. They always make it difficult when we’re playing away, and they did. They had a great crowd tonight. For me, it was a great performance.”

        A GREAT point on the road? ‘This is qualifying’ so it means countries the size of modest US cities are automatic draws on the road because they have ‘great crowds and ‘make it difficult’. It was a GREAT performance?!?!

        Get out of here with that complete garbage Cam…..we don’t think we are better than this? The players don’t even believe it? Please football God Gary Page tell me why that paragraph of total crap out of Cameron is acceptable?

      • Cruising to road wins in CONCACAF has never been easy. Not for us. Not for Mexico. Not anyone. Historical results both recent and decades into the past strongly support this as fact.

        You can make all the arguments you want about population etc.. but those things are just stats that we all know to be vaguely meaningful at best when determining on-field results (ask yourself why India and China have two of the worst teams on earth). As a matter of fact, Google a list of the world’s most populous countries and you will see almost no correlation to soccer success.

      • Mexico certainly appeared to cruise to a road win against Honduras but we can’t expect a CANCACAF road win against a country with the fraction of the resources and supposed ambition because of results a decade ago? ‘But this is the way its always been’ is not an adequate or acceptable if we are supposed to be moving forward.

        Worse is the players reaction to this. Fans are dumb so I guess I understand but the players all talk like they don’t expect anything better than what they have been giving. As US Soccer continues to grow and fill large stadiums with supporters the more it seems like our players are entitled or better than they are.

      • Sure Mexico cruised yesterday. It happens. Ask them about the last cycle. Better yet, since you are on your high horse about how dumb other fans are, why not do some real statistical analysis and check the historical results for the Mexico, the US, or whoever you like in away CONCACAF qualifiers. It’s not just a phenomenon from “a decade ago”. It’s a real, provable phenomenon that pretty much everybody but you accepts.

    • Its how athletes and coaches talk after games. You could look up quotes from every team that got a less than satisfactory result yesterday and see the exact same quotes from their players. Players don’t reach this level without being highly competitive, I am sure there was much cursing and few shin guards were thrown, but by the time the press arrives that all is pushed away. Cameron is an adult and he knows when he needs to act like one.

      • There is a difference between a canned response for our bozo soccer media and referring to your listless draw against a team you should expect to beat as a ‘great performance’.

  6. No more zardes, nagbe should replace him outside and wood should be at forward. Yedlin at rb and just deal with the one or two mistakes he makes every game he is young

    • +1 Why not give Yedlin games at RB right now when his mistakes are far less likely to punish us. He is also much more of an attacking threat when played as a RB as opposed to the winger role he was in last night

    • Nagbe isn’t an outside player…he’s much better in the middle. This is what we need to be playing:

      Johnson Nagbe Yedlin
      Ream Cameron Besler Orozco

    • Against a team like St. Vincent, yes, that 1 or 2 mistakes aren’t gonna cost you. (Although it kind of did; Cameron had a poor clearance, but Yedlin, who covered for Cameron in the center, didn’t close down the attacker, leading to an open shot.) Even against a better team who has less pace than Yedlin, it can be acceptable, because he can recover from his mistakes (BAD HABIT TO DEVELOP, Sigi Schmid should NOT have given him complete freedom to attack during his time in Seattle).

      But a mediocre team, with half decent wingers, and decent pace to compete against Yedlin, its far riskier. It’d probably be closer to 3 or 4 mistakes, with 1 or 2 being a real danger, potential goal.

      Also, contrary to popular belief, you don’t learn skills in games. You learn how and when to apply your skills at match speed, but Yedlin isn’t gonna suddenly learn how to play defense better by playing more defense; if anything, his skills may be stunted by overrelying on what he does right, which is speed. It’s up to him to work his but off in TRAINING at his CLUB, and show Klinsmann that he can be trusted with the RB role.

    • Mediocre is about as good as we’re going to get under Klinsmann. I can accept a draw on the road against T&T if we were just unlucky on the night, but we weren’t. Our style of play was downright cynical and we never really looked threatening. Mark my words in the hex these 0-0 ties will be 1-0 losses

    • You haven’t been watching Concacaf WCQ for a longtime, I take it. It’s always been like this, or since the 1998 tournament at least. In 1990, pre-civilization, our ancestors were huge underdogs there.

    • This is not a sprint, but more like a marathon. It’s not how you start, but how you finish. Please study soccer history because I get tired of repeating salient facts.

    • Agreed!! I can’t stand the settling for mediocrity. It doesn’t matter if this is how “things always are”, how do we become better, if we are always looking to the past for validation? NO. We should go into every game with the same mentality: win.

      • Then when our players are playing champions league football and in the top 3 leagues in europe then we can demand that. While most of our players are competing in MLS I dont expect us to dominate much of anything in concacaf.

      • Geez did Don Garber run over your dog or something? We get it bro – MLS sucks and is the worst soccer league on the planet. We will never get better until all our players play in Europe.

      • No MLS is a solid league. It has reached new heights. I am super excited for my own team in 2017. But my national team players need to be in top leagues not in MLS. Eden hazard and vertonghen are not in Belgium. Neither is Cortois and neither is Benteke or Lukkaku. Maybe we need to expect more from our players and less of our coach.

        Coaches of national teams are not there to develop players. Technical directors are but the players that Jurgen is working with right now are the 12-14 year olds. We wont see them till 2022 and 2026. The ones who are 20-23 were in the system before Jurgen even became a coach.

        This is the talent pool we have. Its unfortunate that MLS has focused on quantity over quality.

      • Yeah but why are we comparing the US, which is the richest country in the world and has 320 million people to Belgium, which has 11 million people? The goal for MLS should be to be at the level of the current top 5 leagues and there’s no reason it can’t be at that level some day. Signing American players is part of that effort to grow and improve.

        And you can’t blame American players for coming to MLS when the salaries on offer are much higher than they are earning in Europe. Bradley is earning 2-3 times what he made at Roma. Altidore, Dempsey are making more too. Pretty sure if Hazard, Courtois et al could earn double their EPL salaries in Brussels or Antwerp, they’d be there!

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