United States adjusting to new system as crucial World Cup qualifier looms

Ross Houston
June 8, 2017

When: Thursday, June 8th at 6:00pm Mountain Time. The Soca Warriors have never beaten the United States in an away World Cup qualifier, but should we see a surprise happen in the Mile High City, service would have to be provided from players such as Atlanta United's Kenwyne Jones. The tactics for the Mexico game would then come down to what result the team got against Trinidad & Tobago and the amount of energy it expended in Colorado. Watched his team with Ajax and was really good. To accomplish that goal, dropping points against the likes of T+T, stuck at the bottom of the six-team group and likely to stay there, is unthinkable.

The road to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation continues for the United States as they look to take a step closer to qualification.

The top three teams in the CONCACAF Final Round automatically qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

With third-place Panama traveling to second-place Costa Rica also on Thursday, a US win in Commerce City, Colo., and a tie or loss by Panama would see the teams swap places at the midway point of the 10-match qualifying phase. It just helps us to close the gap to where we need to be on Thursday. Soca is a type of music that originated in T&T and is short hand for "Soul of Calypso".

And no, Howard adamantly stressed, the Americans won't get caught looking toward their matchup three days later in Mexico City against Mexico.

Fortunately for the USA, T&T appear in disarray. The small caribbean nation was on the verge of their first ever qualification into the World Cup back in 1989.

USA coach Bruce Arena looked at the rosy side of a surprise draw with Venezuela in an exhibition game over the weekend. "But we're prepared, so we're hoping that we can run them into the ground and that our guys are ready". The players have to know that the country is behind them. The played in group B in Germany against the likes of England, Swede, and Paraguay.

The Caribbean nation is all that separates the US from the basement of the six-team Hexagonal that will reach the halfway stage this week. But history was theirs none the less.

Midfielder Joevin Jones is a teammate of USA forwards Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris with MLS' Seattle Sounders FC. That was evident in a 1-1 draw during an exhibition game against Venezuela last weekend. With his strength and presence up top he will be able to draw the attention of both center backs, allowing more time and space for the midfield to go to work. Trinidad and Tobago also now sit rock bottom of the group, having lost three of their first four encounters. There is no reason that this won't continue on Thursday night. They now sit in last, but with a win they could theoretically move up into third place. The USA's only loss to T&T in qualifying came on October 15, 2008, a semifinal-round meeting in Port-of-Spain where the visitors did not field a full-strength lineup on account of the fact that they'd already clinched advancement to the Hex. This is where Jones comes into play.

Jozy Altidore and Tim Howard both reflect on the USMNT camp thus far, as well as how crucial their Trinidad match is.

Before leaving the snow-capped Rockies for the thin air of Mexico City, the Americans must apply all their energy and thought into defeating Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in this Denver suburb. But Mexico won in Port-of-Spain four days later, leaving T&T facing a steep climb to get back into anything approaching World Cup contention.

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