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Stiff Test as Warriors healthy and ready for US

Published: 
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
T&T's captain Kenwyne Jones, left, blasts a shot under pressure from Guatemala's Hamilton Lopez, centre, and Elias Vasquez, during their 2018 World Cup qualifying match in Guatemala City, on Friday. T&T won the match 2-1 and would be looking for another good result tonight against the United States. AP Photo

United States coach Jurgen Klinsman expects his team to be up against a very competitive Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors when the teams meet for their second round World Cup qualifying match at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, from 7.36 tonight.

The Americans are coming off  a 6-1 thumping over St. Vincent and the Grenadines in their opener last Friday while the Soca Warriors beat Guatemala 2-1 in Guatemala City, as both teams made winning starts to their campaigns.

The Soca Warriors will be brimming with confidence following their away victory and after their final preparation late yesterday evening, coach Stephen Hart noted that all his players were in good health and were ready to take on the Americans.

“Everyone’s healthy and that’s a big thing for us this time. We have switched our focus to tomorrow’s match and our prepaprations were specific to that over the past few sessions.”

The Warriors can expect a sea of red at the Stadium tonight as TTFA officials revealed yesterday that tickets for the covered stands were all sold out while there were just a few remaining for the uncovered area. The local team will  be looking to level the playing field with the Americans, having won just three of the nine matches played at the Stadium since 1982.   

All nine previous matches have been decided by a goal or less, with the most infamous being the November 19, 1989 0-1 loss which earned the Americans a place in the Italy finals of 1990, when T&T needed just a draw to reach the World Cup finals for the first time.  

Klinsman said yesterday that his players respected the T&T team. “They’re a good team, but our team is good as well. We want to come here and show them that we’re able to get three points or at least a tie and move on out of our group

“The fact they got a win in Guatemala City is huge for them,” said  Klinsmann. “It gives them a good feeling going up against the United States. We have to be prepared for that – it’s one of the reasons we came to Trinidad & Tobago early. We flew right after our game all the way from St. Louis down to Port of Spain to be prepared. We’ll be prepared for the climate and we’ll be prepared for a very physical battle.”

While Klinsmann has never faced the Caribbean nation, he gave credit to their growth over the past year in bolstering the overall strength of the CONCACAF region.

“They played a very good Gold Cup and also had some good results in friendlies and other test games,” he said. “You have to give Trinidad & Tobago a lot of respect. They’re known for their physical game and known for being strong. A lot of their players play in the English Championship and obviously playing at home they have a lot of confidence, and they want to prove to the world that they’re a good team. Over the years they’ve improved themselves on the technical side and on the mental side as well.”

Like their manager, most of the current 23-man roster has never faced T&T, with only Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Tim Howard and Michael Orozco seeing time against the Soca Warriors previously. While they’re somewhat of an unknown for most of the squad, Klinsmann says the team will be prepared for a stiff test.

USA vs T&T Matches in Port of Spain

Date Result Competition
March 21, 1982 2-1 L Friendly
Nov. 19, 1989 1-0 L WCQ
Nov. 18, 1990 0-0 D Friendly
Nov. 19, 1994 0-1 W Friendly
Nov. 24, 1996 1-0 L WCQ
Nov. 11, 2001 0-0 D WCQ
Feb. 9, 2005 2-1 L WCQ
Oct. 15, 2008 1-2 W WCQ
Sept. 9, 2009 1-0 L WCQ

T&T Squad: Jan-Michael Williams, Marvin Phillip, Daneil Cyrus, Justin Hoyte, Carlyle Mitchell, Sheldon Bateau, Radanfah Abu Bakr, Yohance Marshall, Mekell Williams, Aubrey David, Andre Boucaud, Khaleem Hyland, Kevan George, Neveal Hackshaw, Trevin Caesar, Cordell Cato, Joevin Jones, Lester Peltier, Keron Cummings, Kenwyne Jones (captain), Willis Plaza, Jonathan Glenn.

US Squad:  Jody Altidore, Ventura Alvarado, Kyle Beckerman, Matt Besler, Michael Bradley, Geoff Cameron, Mix Discerud, Alan Gordon, Brad Guzman, Bill Hamid, Tim Howard, Miguel Ibarra,  Fabian Johnson, Jermaine Jones, Matt Miazga, Jordan Morris, Darlington Nagbe, Michael Orozco, Brek Shea, Tim Ream, Bobby Wood, Deandre Yedflin, Gyasi Zardes.

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