USA 4, Trinidad & Tobago 0 | 2018 World Cup Qualifying Match Recap
Book those tickets, United States fans. Your team is on to the final stage of qualifying for World Cup 2018 – and they're going in on a roll.
Jozy Altidore scored twice and took over the career USMNT scoring lead in World Cup qualifying, and Sacha Kljestan scored in his first World Cup qualifying start since October 2013 as the United States won Group C with a 4-0 victory over Trinidad & Tobago at EverBank Field on Tuesday night.
Altidore's second-half brace put the match comfortably away after the US took a 1-0 lead into the break. He broke the previous mark of 14 qualifying goals in the 59th minute, then added his 16th in the 63rd.
Kljestan has two goals and two assists in the last two qualifiers for the Yanks, who finished group play on 13 points – winning their final two matches by a combined 10-0 margin – and will open Hexagonal play at home against Mexico on Nov. 11.
The Soca Warriors, who came in already assured of a spot in the Hexagonal, finish on 11 points and will face either Costa Rica or Panama in their Hex opener.
Seventeen-year-old Christian Pulisic, who broke Altidore's mark as the youngest US starter in a World Cup qualifier after scoring twice off the bench in Friday's 6-0 rout of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, recorded the assist on Altidore's second goal. Pulisic nearly put the home side up 1-0 just after the half-hour mark, only to be denied off both posts.
Kljestan would not be denied in the 44th minute, though, winning the ball in traffic near the top of the penalty area and slotting a left-footed toe-poke just inside the right post.
Second-half sub Paul Arriola added a fourth goal with a putback in the 71st minute.
- 44' - USA - Sacha Kljestan
- 59' - USA - Jozy Altidore (Fabian Johnson)
- 63' - USA - Jozy Altidore (Christian Pulisic)
- 71' - USA - Paul Arriola
- Full Box Score
- FORTRESS TIMMY: US goalkeeper Tim Howard started in place of Brad Guzan and recorded his fifth shutout in as many matches against Trinidad and Tobago, making five saves on the way to Tuesday night's clean sheet. He is 4-0-1 against the Soca Warriors. Howard also made his 32nd start in a World Cup qualifier, moving him one spot ahead of Kasey Keller for the career lead among US 'keepers.
- TRIUMPHANT RETURN: Sacha Kljestan has made the most of his return from exile with the United States. In the Yanks' two most recent matches, the New York Red Bulls playmaker has two goals and two assists – making a strong case for inclusion in the Hexagonal stage roster.
- JOZYVILLE, FLORIDA: Jozy Altidore's record-breaking brace on Tuesday continued a run of international goalscoring in Jacksonville for the big Toronto FC striker. He has now scored in his last three matches there.
- USA – (Hexagonal Stage WCQ) Nov. 11 vs. Mexico (Time/Venue TBD)
- TRI – (Hexagonal Stage WCQ) Nov. 11 vs. Costa Rica (Time/Venue TBD)