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USMNT picks up point in scoreless road draw with Trinidad & Tobago

Michael Bradley USMNT Trinidad & Tobago 25

The performance was far from pretty, but it was still effective enough to help the U.S. Men’s National Team grab a result on the road.

The U.S. shared the spoils with Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday night after playing to a scoreless draw in their World Cup qualifier at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain. The Americans had a couple of good opportunities in the second half to jump in front of the Group C match, but the woodwork denied them on both occasions.

With the draw, the U.S. and Trinidad & Tobago sit in a tie for first place in the group with four points apiece. Guatemala trails them by one point after defeating St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 4-0, on the road earlier on Tuesday.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s side came within inches of finding the opener in a much-improved second half. Gyasi Zardes almost netted a minute in, but headed off the woodwork despite having the whole goal at his mercy. Jermaine Jones then came close on a long-range effort in the 78th minute that Soca Warriors goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams pawed off the crossbar.

Trinidad & Tobago was the better side in the opening 45 minutes, and had the clearer goal-scoring chances before halftime. Joevin Jones got on the end of a skipping ball on the left side of the penalty area after just 20 seconds, but skied his shot well over the frame.

Kenwyne Jones came close to putting the host ahead in the 13th minute, pulling off a nice turn from 19 yards out and unleashing a bending shot that pulled wide of Tim Howard’s goal.

Fabian Johnson had the U.S.’s first real chance in the match when he hit a right-footed shot directly at Williams in the 19th minute.

Seven minutes later, Cordell Cato had a 26th-minute chance that he wasted. He got a decent look under pressure inside the right side of the penalty area, but hit a low effort too far past the Howard’s right-hand post.

The U.S. improved after halftime, but Zardes failed to put away Jozy Altidore’s cross in the opening seconds of the final stanza. Matt Besler also had a chance in the 51st minute, getting on the end of a near-post corner from Johnson before nodding over the crossbar.

The Americans’ next World Cup qualifier is not until next March when they visit Guatemala on March 25, but it is likely that they will hold their annual camp in January and that typically includes a friendly or two.


What do you think of the USMNT’s 0-0 draw with Trinidad and Tobago? How pleased are you with the result and performance? Which American players impressed/disappointed you?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Sad game to watch , if we dont correct all this issue ASAP, we wont make it out of the Hexagonal, Last night Costa Rica and Panama played a very intensive game, touching the ball around very well and making all those passes we cant make today. These two teams are rolling right now, and they can hit two and three pases an are on your side close to the goal. Mexico, in my opinion is playing the best soccer, follow by Costa Rica, Panama, we are close in quality to T&T, Jamaica and Haiti. SAD SO SAD

  2. dear soccer friends,

    i did not post here for a while (sorry, busy). this comment has nothing to do with the T&T game. i came back today just b/c of the “paris attacks” in the news.

    on 9/11 this year, i posted here at SBI about 9/11. read my post here:
    9/11 is a crime

    “paris attacks”
    given that
    – 9/11 was a false flag attack
    – al quaeda is a patsy
    – the “war on terror” is a lie
    – we spent billions killing people who never attacked us (evidently) over rights to build an oil pipeline (and perhaps to keep the us dollar as the world’s reserve currency).
    i highly doubt that the “paris attacks” are what “they” say they are.

    a muslim man’s passport was found at the scene of the crime in paris? haha. i remember when a muslim man’s passport was found (they said) at the wtc in ny. i guess the burning building (at the wtc in ny) destroyed everything except this one, paper passport. what a joke. (a very sick joke at that)

    a pretty good source of information that i trust about events of this type is the official iranian news (in english), “presstv”. i guess there is still one place left on earth (iran) where we haven’t bombed somebody into spewing the same lies about 9/11 and the “war on terror” as most of the rest of the “western media”.

    if you love freedom, the REAL perpetrators of this terror must be brought to justice. ask easy questions such as “who benefits?”. in a conflict, don’t get all of your news from “side a”. try to get “side b’s” story, also. you know there are always (at least) two sides to every story, yes? fox news repored? fine. also please listen to presstv or some other news source that might actually represent the “other” point of view. see?

    the patriot must be very “street smart” these days. elected leaders such as gw bush have told us that “they” “hate us because we are free”. does that really make any sense? maybe “they” are angry at us b/c we bomb their cities when they don’t let our oil companies rape their countries of all of their natural resources?

    love your country. love soccer. don’t be an easy whore for criminal lies about muslim nations.

    • It’s not even clear what your point is there.

      There aren’t many rules to respect on message boards but one is relevance. Even I who lives in the city in question doesn’t care to read this – I come here to talk soccer – so I doubt anyone else will.

  3. Didn’t think it was a bad performance, and for once jones actually sat in the holding spot. I think with the spine of howard/guzan, besler, cameron, jones and bradley, concacaf teams are going to struggle to break us down. Thought orozco played a solid game at right back. But i dont think ream is quick enough to play left back in concacaf, love him as a centerback just not outside. FJ shows his class everytime on the field. Yedlin ehhhh, i dont think he has enough quality to play 90 minutes as a winger, either bring him off the bench or start him at right back. Zardes was trash and looked unbelievably raw. Altidore had another fine performance. Nagbe showed skill off the bench. All in all, not a bad showing, good to keep the clean sheet but really should score in this game, we had the better chances, especially in the second half.

      • It all stems back to besler speaking out against klinsmann during the last january camp because of player fitness. Klinsi doesn’t deal with controversy well, which is why it was surprising that FJ got right back in the team. In the past he’s punished donovan, howard and even up and coming players such as trapp, for either speaking out, or not following along with his “master plan”

  4. I actually nodded off a couple of times during the game. One of the most boring and painful games by the USMNT in recent memory. According to the official stats, there were two shots on goal by the US team. Extremely impressive against a major power.

  5. How does JK not use his third sub??? Just crazy on a hot night, throw in Morris or someone else to be a spark, don’t understand why he doesn’t use his subs sometimes.

  6. I saw an interesting stat on twitter, which was that the US has failed to win against an opponent ranked in the fifa top 100 in our last 6 competitive games. Now we will get through to the Hex just fine, but I’m worried about what happens when we get there and actually have to play some decent opposition. These types of performances won’t cut it when we have to play teams like Costa Rica, Mexico, and even Jamaica

    • Amru, in regards to not beating a top 100 ranked team etc; this is nothing new, more or less. sure we’ll have our days where we pull of a 1-0 win against a big team but we’ve never been a top dog or really even a second tier nation. we’re just a solid third rate team that tries to match it’s country’s reputation as a dominating country (for lack of better words). sometimes i think people might confuse talent with desire. 5 people could comment on soccer blogs tomorrow of 5,000,000 could blog and in a sense, tomorrow it wouldn’t affect the talent on our team. I do wish people could curb their overly passionate disdain for perceived failures and just understand it’s going to be a slow grind to becoming a top soccer nation. we have the athletes, the training resources, just not the innate natural talent or cultural acceptance and excitement surrounding the sport; though the latter is gaining rapidly to an extent.

      We’ll get there, boys.

      constructive assessments and criticism help more than spewing hatred

      note: this isn’t all directed at Amru, just kinda tangented (lol, i know) off to a larger point.

  7. I think Ream looked a little slow out there against this squad, but they did seem to want to attack his side on the regular, so maybe I’m just remembering the instances where he was already worn out.

    I understand we were playing conservatively–which is fine–so I get bringing Nagbe in on the wing and moving FabJo to LB. It secures the flank they’ve been most dangerous on all night.

    Even though I’m down on Mix, I would have liked to see him the last few minutes. Bradley was killing combinations, and nobody seemed like they had the vision to pick out our forward’s runs with any precision or creativity.

    I think I understand starting Zardes up top over Wood. GZ seems to have a nice engine and a zest for tracking back, and you bring on Wood late to maybe steal a goal from a worn out back line. That said though, I think starting Wood doesn’t hurt our chances of keeping a clean sheet, and he’s been doing so well for us in the striker role lately, I think we’d have a much better chance of stealing a goal early in that second half.

    Yedlin has a few moments of brilliance, and a few moments that make me say WTF, damn near every game. He’s one of our top 23 players, but not in our best 11, in my opinion.

    As I said above, I applaud that this game plan was so well executed. They never really tested Howard. I did want to see slightly more audacity though; more positive plays and less neutral or negative. Almost every time a CB would get the ball, Jones or Bradley would jog back towards them to receive a 10 yard pass, then turn and look up the field from their own half usually only having 1-2 serious options and not much time. It just felt so inefficient and overly safe. Killa Cam knows how to pass, you don’t need to run back to him for a hand off.

    I’m fine with this whole goaltender switching thing, as long as we keep our CB pair as consistent as possible. I want to see Besler/Cam or Ream/Cam until one of them isn’t getting minutes for their club or someone else emerges. I think Miazga should be next on the list, strangely enough, but don’t think he overtakes Cam without injury or another full outstanding season under his belt.

    Again, this is a good result and I’m optimistic about what this team can do moving forward, but it’s hard to get all pumped up after watching what I considered a dull match, that seemed destined to end 0-0 after about the first ten minutes.

    • I am not sure why you single out Ream. Orozco wasn’t setting the world on fire on the other flank either. I think your analysis is right: T&T had too much speed and both Ream and Orozco were told to stay put. There was one play in the first half where a hopeful through ball was played by the T&T midfield. The T&T striker just kept running, overtook Ream and Besler, splitting the two defenders and got off a good shot. The potential speed for both flanks was enough to have both outside backs stay put. Which is probably why Johnson and Yedlin were moved up to act as old fashioned midfield wingers.

      The real problems were two-fold: 1) Bradley could not make a forward pass to a team mate last evening and 2) Zardes couldn’t stop losing the ball in the first half.

      it looked to me like Bradley was frustrated with his play. He kept dropping further back to get the ball and then he and Jones were stepping on each other’s toes. I put this one on Bradley. Jones played like a lion again last night, and was a a disruptive force in the midfield. How many times did he get fouled? A billion I believe.

  8. The US wasn’t horrible as some here seem to think. Poor finishing did us in. It could have easily been a 2-0 away win it that’s soccer.

    I will say that Yedlin is fast but has the soccer IQ of a flea.

    • YEDLIN IS NOT A RIGHT WING/MIDFIELDER. Sorry for the caps but ffs people are obtuse. Yes, he looks out of place as a right midfielder. Because he has played a miniscule percentage of his matches there. HIs instincts just are not what they would be for someone who came up playing there. That is why when you see him closed in by 2 defenders in deep he looks lost… it isn’t a twitch reaction for him. There is a reason why people constantly admonish JK for playing people out of position (see: the voumes of commentators pointing out that Bradley always looks better as an 8 with the game in front of him than as a 10 leading the charge in the box). Now maybe you understand why people don’t think JK puts this team in the best position to win…. literally.

    • Not really. It is about the same. We have got MORE players at a certain level (MLS) than we have ever had before. But unfortunately we have even less players playing in Europe. It is bad.

  9. Honestly I only saw about 20 minutes because of family commitments and when I saw the game ended 0-0 I couldn’t force myself to watch anymore and deleted it from the dvr.

    Jones seemed much more disciplined staying in his defensive role, Bradley looked bad (I almost put on my tinfoil hat and thought he was trying the throw the game, when he passed directly to the TnT player and then fouled him right outside the box when he wasn’t doing anything with the turnover), it looked pretty much like the formation and tactics we used throughout qualifying last time over these first two games (the diamond appears on the shelf for the time being anyway)

    Two wins over Guatemala in March and we can book our trip to the Hex. (Haters feel free to now blindly defend MB and/or scream how we will lose to Guatemala 5-0)

      • A point would actually pretty much clinch it. 3-3-0 would give us 12 points, Guatemala at this stage the most they could get after 1 point out of the home and away with us would 10 points.

    • That 20 minutes must have been in the first half where he really was pretty awful. He and the rest of the team were much better in the second half and the disappointment was that they didn’t create more chances since most of the second half was played in the T&T half.

  10. I have been saying that a draw is a good result. I also said that the US should play it conservatively and then go for the win the last 20 minutes. We played okay, but not much better than okay and I thought we should have created more chances in the last half hour when we dominated. Everybody keeps saying how wonderful Nagbe is, but I still don’t see it. He has energy and good movement, but he made an errant pass under no pressure when Yedlin was wide open on the flank. He took a meaningless shot from outside that was blocked, he ran around a lot, but really didn’t produce much of anything.. I sometimes worry that Zardes has plateaued and today he wasn’t very effective. Wood was largely invisible after he came on. I think Klinsmann should have brought in Morris for Jozy the last 10 minutes to give the US more energy and speed as the attack was lacking and lagging. And Bradley was pretty bad the first half. He is so uneven at times; we really need a decent play maker in the middle. I wish Nagbe or someone could step up and take that role.

    • A USMNT player made an errant pass?! How dare he shoot from distance!!! GRRRRR. Maybe wait for Nagbe to have more than a half hour on the field before you cast him off Mr. football oracle.

      • My, somebody’s ox has been gored. I’m not saying he’s bad, but what has he actually done to impress? I have watched a fair number of Timbers games over the last several years but he just doesn’t produce the results that Zardes, for example, has. Nor has he done as much as Lletget has done for the Galaxy this season. He looks good on the ball, but you need to do more than look good, like control the play, get assists, score goals. He’s kind of like Moussa Dembele for Tottenham and Belgium, only less skilled. If you want to get the ball from your third to the other third without passing, Dembele is the best man for the job. But that’s all he does. He rarely scores and rarely gets assists, but boy, he sure looks good on the ball.

      • GP- while i usually agree on most things on the board, id disagree about Nabge, he possesses the specific trait we lack, calm possession in the attacking midfield. Nagbe is essentially an upgrade from an aging Nguyen. sure he’s not scoring at the rate of a striker but in 2013 he had 11 in 34, 2014 he was used as a winger to much less success and since he’s moved back to cam he did better in 2015. his ideal fit would be a 433 with MB and JJ (or his eventual replacement–DWill? McCarty? Shipp? etc) sitting behind him.

    • You realize how inane the claims that ” I have watched a fair number of Timbers games over the last several years but he just doesn’t produce the results that Zardes, for example, has. Nor has he done as much as Lletget has done for the Galaxy this season” are? Lletget had 7 goals and 2 assists this season. Darlington had 5 and 5 this year… of course looking at first level stats for effectiveness is kind of silly. Nagbe also dominated Lletget in advances stats like take ons, pass%, tackles and key passes. And as you have pointed out, this was something of a down year for Nagbe in MLS. So the idea that Lletget has been markedly better than Nagbe in MLS is… absurd? Moronic? Clearly biased? Pick one.

      (BTW if you do the same analysis of Zardes against Nagbe you would get the same response only Zardes had worse secondary stats that Lletget).


      • great post, i have an immense amount of respect for Gary Page’s soccer IQ from what he’s said on this board in the past, but I was much surprised to see him ‘not get’ Nagbe. He’s in the right part of his prime for this to work out. in the attack he was calm and active yet it did seem he needs to learn his teammates better. perhaps a starting role in the january camp can achieve this. the negatives i saw (besides ONE bad pass…. which every player will have one in a game, such is life) were simply when he would track back too far while we were in possession. we had MB and JJ both willing to get back and work the ball around with the defense but to often Nagbe was right there literally next to them doing the same as if we had 3 literal CDMs. once he got the ball in the final third he seemed completely sure of his possession and never forced anything.

        I’ve been patiently watching his citizen status for a couple years, and he’s easily top 3 in terms of new players i’d like to see pan out positively (Zelalem and Morris are the other two, TO ME).

        PS-Dom Dwyer 2017 is another player i’m anxiously awaiting

    • Multiple times we had the ball in their third and … bradley lost it. And bradley lost it. And bradley lost it. speed of thought has slowed down. Look we need better players. Michael works harder than anyone on the pitch but to what end? For me he Scotty Parker at his best and that isnt saying a lot. We need better players. Our best are squad players in Europe. ANd thats ok. I dont blame them. We shouldnt expect these players to be at a level they cannot achieve right now.

      Look at Deli Alli for England or Harry Kane. We do not have anyone rising to that kind of level. No one. And England is a B team in Europe.

      We need to realize we are not ever going to dominate concacaf playing our best in MLS. Not ever. Because all the other teams are playing their best in MLS.

      Got to aim higher.

      • Matt your assessment of MLS is exactly right and it is just proliferating mediocre players. Not what it takes to become great internationally. The national team coach is left with a choice to either bunker and counterattack, because that’s our blue-collar level technically, or work with each player and raise their game, which is not something a national team manager should have to do, or even can do. The current coach clearly chose the latter, but we simply keep struggling with the ball, and perhaps each player’s intuitive field-sense. Our players need to go back to playing in Europe, and try to climb the very cutthroat ladder there, for better or worse. It’s our best chance of producing international level players, more to choose from.. In France we call the NT coach a ‘sélectionneur’, not an ‘entraineur.’ Or, he doesn’t train the team, he selects it.

        The young English team was excellent last night (and the French understandably shell-shocked). America doesn’t have anything close to an Alli, Kane, or Stones, not to mention a Varane, Martial, Pogba. But if you go watch youth soccer, pick-up and organized, in France and England you see, there, starting very young, that their level is already much higher, more serious and competitive than their American peers. Very easy to see the difference, technically and in how they understand the game, from age 5.

      • I agree with some and don’t agree with some of what you say but please don’t hold up England as a shining example of player development based on the result against France last night. England looked like a minnow against Spain and would look the same way against France in normal circumstances.

      • Also the idea of blaming MLS, as if trying to have a strong domestic league is bad somehow, is facile. Bradley didn’t become a worse player by coming to MLS. Neither did Jozy or Jones or Clint etc.

      • Agree the England match yesterday could have been a one off, as they are the ultimate choke artists. Also agree MLS is a decent league. But it trumpets itself as a great league, and as long as it continues to overhype decent but incomplete players, the bar won’t be where it should be.

  11. In 2002 we had 3 wins 2 draws and a loss in this round. In 2006 we had 3 wins and 3 draws. In 2010 we had 5 wins and 1 loss and in 2014 we had 4 wins 1 draw and 1 loss.

    Can we chill a moment? We seem to be on pace to be just fine.

    Our talent pool is not markedly better. From 2002-2012 we did absolutely nothing to make it any better. We just worked to create more of the same level player. Quantity over quality unfortunately.

    Its a long road ahead. No coach is going to come and change that.

    • The other day I listed most of the players on the 2006 WC US roster. It included Boca, Gooch, Cherundolo, Donovan, McBride, Reyna, etc. 10 players played in Europe. The 2006 team may have been better than the 2014 team. That 2006 team got one point in group play because we were in a very difficult group. People don’t want to accept what should be obvious. We maybe have more depth after the top players, but no more top players than 10 years ago, and maybe even fewer top players now than then.

      • I think the difference maker in that list you gave though is Donovan. Don’t get me wrong LD was done and in no way should he be on this team. But his pace and skill from 2002 to 2010 and then 2013 Gold Cup could always pressure these smaller CONCACAF teams and a game like tonight would end up 1-0. And I miss John O’Brien, we haven’t been able to replace him and its been 13 years.

      • To Johnnyrazor–I also think we have never had anyone the equal of Reyna as a distributor in midfield. And on the backline you had Gooch, Boca, Pope, Cherundolo, and Berhalter to choose from. That’s certainly a better group than we have had the last few years.

      • Just because someone plays in Europe doesn’t make them better. If MLS was as strong in 2006 as it is now, many of those guys would have been playing in it. I do think we have better overall depth at least than in 2006 although back then I would have expected better player development by now than we actually have.

  12. Not a bad effort. Nonetheless Jurgen has now succeeded in turning the US from a scrappy, hard working team into a European team, only it’s Norway or Slovenia, not Germany

  13. A little too much negativity here. There are some positive takeaways. JK generally made safe choices and played people where they belonged. As a result there were fewer ridiculous gaffes. If we could have only enjoyed such luxuries this past summer. Tim Howard back in goal feels safer. Nagbe looks confident, skilled, and solid. His continued presence in the USMNT is something to be excited about. Even moreso if he and FJ in the mid force Bradley further back where it seems he really belongs. Also, the lineup with an attack partner up top with Jozy looks to be creating more opportunities and it’s been nice to see Wood beginning to fit in. Finally, it was great to see us essentially take TT out of the game in the second half. They showed in the first half that they could be dangerous, but whatever we did in the second half it changed the complexion of the game entirely. We had the better chances. Were we amazing? No. But at least I feel like we have perhaps the luxury of dreaming a bit about things to come and players on the rise as we head into January camp and the new year.

  14. Just a shame Zardes didn’t finish either of his great chances 6 yards from goal, whiffing on one header, and failing to hit a fairly open goal on the second. Personally, I wanted Wood up front from the get go, but once again, JK fools me. Why play Yedlin in midfield, and waste his strength (bombing forward on the over lap). I have always given JK the benefit of the doubt, but I have to finally admit it, he seems to be trying to show everyone how smart he is, instead of doing what we all can see.

  15. The rumor floating around professional soccer websites indicated if Klinsmann didn’t secure 4 points within these two games he was toast. So, I guess he’s safe…for now.

    I saw nothing of the match since beIN isn’t included in my sports package but it doesn’t sound like I missed much.

    • I thought BeIn had exclusive rights to this too which I also do not get. But i noticed that a Spanish channel, NBC Universo, had the game. I had it and I do not have any special packages.
      Got lucky and watched the second half. A heads up going forward for the next away qualifying game.

      • Noted on the additional channels you listed. For some reason I thought it was advertised as being available on WatchESPN (the old ESPN3 online viewer) but no dice.

      • @ Kev keep an eye on that channel in March because for these 2 qualifing fixtures they showed 3 games back to back so they might do it again. Saw mex vs. Honduras good game a straight up fight in every sector of the field for ever inch and even had 2 players carried out on stretchers from both teams. Saw usa vs. t&t zzzzzz and now their showing Salvador vs. Canada.

  16. Klinnsmann’s starting lineup was questionable. It’s like he wanted to play a 3-5-2, but couldn’t pull the trigger. Why not have the lineup on the field at the end for most of the night? Fabian and Yedlin as your wing backs, Jones staying at home, Bradley and Nagbe playing off each other, Wood and Altidore up top? I would actually like to see this in the future, but with an upgrade of Orozco with maybe Hedges as the third CB. Anyway, the U.S. controlled the second half possession wise. Basically, Zardes has to finish that header as a striker.

    • Then: as in now and then. Than: as in learn some f$#^% English! I see this all over the internet. Then is not the same word as than. More evidence highlighting the US in rapid decline.

  17. Franco has pointed it out, analysts at other sites have highlighted it, several posters have echoed it in comments, and now, once again to repeat the painfully obvious:
    Bradley & Bradley DON’T work as a midfield partnership
    Why is Juergen still oblivious to this simple truth?

  18. Packing it in and playing for a draw is just pathetic. But concacaf road qualifiers are soooooooo brutal. The fans are mean and its hot out. Wahhh wahhh wahhh!

    • I’m happy for the point away against a good team–props to the players and coaches for executing a pragmatic plan–but I do wish our approach was a bit more ambitious.

      Player ratings: 5.5

      Coach rating: 5.5

      Game rating: ZZZZZzzzzzz


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