Trinidad and Tobago 0, USA 0 | CONCACAF World Cup Qualifier Match Recap
The US national team knew they’d have a much tougher fight on their hands Tuesday night in Trinidad & Tobago than what they faced in their CONCACAF World Cup qualifying opening 6-1 win last week over minnows St. Vincent & the Grenadines.
And they indeed were given all they could handle in a closely contested match that ended in a scoreless draw Tuesday night at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
The draw leaves the USMNT and Trinidad & Tobago tied atop Group 3 with four points through two matches. Trinidad beat Guatemala 2-1 last week.
Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann made a handful of changes from Friday’s win over St. Vincent & the Grenadines, most notably handing veteran goalkeeper Tim Howard just his second start since he returned from his self-imposed hiatus following his heroics against Belgium in the 2014 World Cup.
Keeping the flat 4-4-2 formation from Friday, Klinsmann also slid LA Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes from the right wing up top alongside Jozy Altidore, moving Bobby Wood to the bench and DeAndre Yedlin from right back to the wing and Michael Orozco off the bench to right back.
The US backline was tested right away when, 20 seconds in, Kenwyne Jones broke free on the right wing for an open cross to the Chicago Fire midfielder Joevin Jones at the top of the box. Jones sent his right-footed blast well high, however.
The Soca Warriors had another golden opportunity in the 13th minute when Kenwyne Jones took a long ball at the edge of the area, fended off Orozco, spun and fired just high.
The USMNT began to pick up steam on the 20-minute mark, when both Fabian Johnson and Altidore fired off shots.
The Americans rocked onto the front foot in the second half, nearly finding the opener in the 47th minute when Altidore sent a perfect cross across the box to Zardes, who rose up for a booming header that clanged off the bar.
The US found woodwork again in the 78th minute when Jermaine Jones took a go from nearly 40 yards out, a right-footed shot that beat goalkeeper Jan Michael-Williams but grazed off the top of the bar.
In the end, even with the offensive substitutions of Portland Timbers attacker Darlington Nagbe -- making his second USMNT appearance in his first camp -- and Wood, the Yanks were unable to pierce the Soca Warriors' defense.
The USMNT will complete the first round of Group 2 matches when they face Guatemala twice in a home and away during the March 2016 FIFA window.