T&T earns rare point against U.S. in World Cup qualifying

​Trinidad and Tobago captain Kenwyne Jones (partially hidden at centre) shares a congratulatory hug with a United States player following their 0-0 World Cup qualifying CONCACAF Group C draw on November 17, 2015 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain. (Photo courtesy Allan V. Crane / CA Images)

Issued on Wednesday 18 November 2015

Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart screamed out in satisfaction on the final blow of Mexican referee César Ramos Palazuelos’ whistle on Tuesday night in FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying.

Hart’s side had held their CONCACAF Group C rivals, United States, to a 0-0 draw in front of a sea-of-red supporters at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad for a rare point.

However Hart believes the Soca Warriors were capable of maximum three points against the visiting Americans.

“I thought (our) players left everything out on the pitch tonight,” Hart said following the game. “They pushed themselves from the start and they never gave up. I was really impressed with the way we handled the game, but while a point is good, I felt we had the chance to get the win tonight. I would have ideally loved to be going into the next set of games with six points, but we’ve got four and we’ll work with that.”

Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart reacts during his side’s 0-0 draw with the United States on November 17, 2015 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain. (Photo courtesy Allan V. Crane / CA Images)

T&T entered the match having lost 11 out of 14 all-time World Cup qualifiers (2W-1D-11L) to the United States. The Trinidadians last defeated the U.S. in World Cup qualifying seven years ago, with a 2-1 score at the Port-of-Spain venue.

The Soca Warriors, spurred by last Friday’s 2-1 win away to Guatemala, didn’t disappoint the thousands of locals that showed up.

But albeit being the aggressor in the opening moments T&T failed to trouble U.S. veteran goalkeeper Tim Howard.

The only attempt on target for the Soca Warriors came in the 63rd minute but the attempt from Chicago Fire player Joevin Jones afforded the 36-year-old Everton goalie, Howard, a comfortable take.

Jones (J), formerly of W Connection, had two other attempts on the night, hitting beyond the target in the 8th minute and in the final of three stoppage-time minutes. Similarly, Kenwyne Jones, Cordell Cato and substitute Keron Cummings, also had missed attempts in the 13th, 26th and 87th minutes, respectively.

In the end both T&T and the U.S. remained tied with 4 points apiece on the strength of 1W-1D-0L records, although the Americans lead the group with a superior goal difference (+5 to +1) thanks to their opening 6-1 win over St. Vincent and the Grenadines last Friday.

“Exactly how we figured it would go – tight game, point on the road, all is well,” Howard is quoted as saying following the match.

“Overall a tie is alright,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who had displeasure written all over his face after his side had rattled the T&T crossbar twice on the night.

U.S. forward Gyasi Zardes had a golden opportunity two minutes inside the second half but to the disbelief of many, the 24-year-old LA Galaxy player, free at the back post, headed a perfectly placed Jozy Altidore right side cross onto the bar.

Altidore himself had an attempt from 26 yards in the 21st minute but that flew inches high of goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams’ crossbar.

​Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams (bottom right) shares a light moment with defender Sheldon Bateau during the Soca Warriors 0-0 draw with the United States in their World Cup qualifying game on November 17, 2015 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain. (Photo courtesy Allan V. Crane / CA Images)

Williams, who made a comfortable low gather against a Johnson strike in the 20th minute, was brilliant with 12 minutes of regulation time left.

The Central FC goalie produced a fingertip save to deflect a 30-yard Jermaine Jones’ strike onto the crossbar and out for a corner, preserving his clean sheet.

“If you are able to take your chance, the result can look different,” said U.S. captain Michael Bradley. “If you can’t, it’s vital you are defensively solid and, at worst, come away 0-0.”

The Soca Warriors who will reassemble on Boxing Day to prepare for the Copa América Centenario play-in clash with Haiti on January 8.

Whereas Group C of the CONCACAF Semi-Final round of World Cup qualifying will resume play on March 25, 2016 with St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) hosting T&T and the U.S. travelling to Guatemala, who rebounded from their opening loss to defeated SVG 4-0 on Tuesday. (See full T&T fixtures below)

Teams on Tuesday night at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Trinidad.

Trinidad and Tobago (4-2-3-1): 21.Jan-Michael Williams (GK), 17.Mekeil Williams (16.Justin Hoyte 76th minute), 6.Radanfah Abu Bakr, 4.Sheldon Bateau, 14.Andre Boucaud (20.Keron Cummings 81st minute), 9.Kenwyne Jones, 13.Cordell Cato (11.Trevin Caesar 84th minute), 5.Daneil Cyrus, 3.Joevin Jones, 8.Khaleem Hyland

Unused substitutes: 1.Marvin Phillip (GK), 7.Jonathan Glenn, 8.Yohance Marshall, 10.Willis Plaza, 12.Carlyle Mitchell, 15.Neveal Hackshaw, 23.Lester Peltier

Coach: Stephen Hart

United States (4-4-2): 12.Tim Howard (GK), 2.DeAndre Yedlin, 3.Tim Ream (6.Darlington Nagbe 67th minute), 4.Michael Bradley (captain), 5.Matt Beasler, 9.Gyasi Zardes (18.Bobby Wood 75th minute), 13.Jermaine Jones, 16.Michael Orozco, 17.Jozy Altidore, 20.Geoff Cameron, 23.Fabian Johnson

Unused substitutes: 1.Brad Guzan (GK), 7.Miguel Ibarra, 8.Jordan Morris, 10.Mix Diskerud, 11.Brek Shea, 14.Matt Miazga, 15.Kyle Beckerman, 19.Ventura Alvarado, 21.Alan Gordon, 22.Bill Hamid

Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

Referee: César Ramos Palazuelos (Mexico)

CONCACAF Semi-Final Round Qualifying towards FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia
Trinidad and Tobago matches (home teams mentioned first)
Group C

November 13, 2015
Guatemala 1 vs Trinidad and Tobago 2

November 17, 2015
Trinidad and Tobago 0 vs United States 0

March 25, 2016
St. Vincent and the Grenadines vs Trinidad and Tobago

March 29, 2016
Trinidad and Tobago vs St. Vincent and the Grenadines

September 2, 2016
Trinidad and Tobago vs Guatemala

September 6, 2016
United States vs Trinidad and Tobago