In Port of Prince, Trinidad, the US Men’s National Team went to a 0-0 draw with Trinidad and Tobago to each get a point and share the top two spots in their World Cup Qualifying group.
This game will be remembered for being a tale of two halves and steady improvement. After an incredibly poor first 20 seconds of the game, in which Trinidad and Tobago nutmegged Tim Ream and missed a wide open shot, the USMNT eventually got better. Even though they were better, Trinidad and Tobago still had their chances and although the stats were in the USMNT’s favor, T&T were the better team in the first half.
Though in the second half, the USMNT made some tactical moves and some crucial subs in Darlington Nagbe and Bobby Wood respectively, the USMNT improved to the point they actually had control of the game at certain points. After two shots that hit off the crossbar, there were signs of improvement despite the scoreless draw.
I know many will see this game as another step back for the USMNT and that is justified. The USMNT missed out on a couple good chances and really should have converted on one of those shots. I’m going to take this in a general CONCACAF sense. In CONCACAF world, it doesn’t really matter who is who, it is tough to beat a team on the road. World Cup Qualifying in CONCACAF is essentially if you get draws when you’re away and get wins at home, you will qualify for the World Cup. Following this strategy, it may not be glamourous (CONCACAF games hardly ever are) but it’ll get you to Russia.
Also, Trinidad and Tobago is no pushover in CONCACAF. Take the FIFA Rankings with a grain of salt, but Trinidad and Tobago is the fourth ranked CONCACAF team in FIFA. Kenwyne Jones is a formidable threat and the heart of the T&T team. Trinidad and Tobago won their group in the Gold Cup a few months ago and if not for a penalty kick loss to Panama, there would’ve been a good chance for T&T to face the USMNT. Trinidad and Tobago is closer to the top three CONCACAF teams than many believe.
So all in all, this game most likely didn’t change your opinion about the team at all. This was a game where if you were on the #KlinsmannOut train and think this team is worse than it has ever been with no end in sight, your opinion didn’t change. If you were on the #InJurgenWeTrust train and feel there is time to get better and Klinsmann is doing other things that’s helping, your opinion didn’t change either. As far as tonight was concerned, the USMNT improved but there’s way more room for improvement. The USMNT is in a round in which they should easily advance to the Hex but they are very likely facing Trinidad and Tobago once again in the Hex. And if that happens, when points are at a premium, the USMNT cannot afford to play like this and expect easy success.