USMNT 4-0 Trinidad and Tobago: U.S. grabs Group C behind Pulisic, Altidore

AP Photo/John Raoux
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If it sounds like a repeat from Friday’s win over Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, forgive us, but Jozy Altidore, Christian Pulisic, and Sacha Kljestan helped the United States to the Group C title with a 4-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago in Jacksonville on Tuesday.

Kljestan opened the scoring, Altidore added a pair, and Paul Arriola nabbed a goal as well.

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Altidore set a U.S. World Cup qualifying record with his first goal, No. 15 in his career. He is now 20 goals back of Landon Donovan for the all-time U.S. record.

Star man kid Christian Pulisic broke Altidore’s record for the youngest player to start a match for the United States men’s national team, and Tim Howard set a new standard for World Cup qualifiers played by a U.S. goalkeeper with his 32nd appearance.

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Be giddy, U.S. fan.

The unfamiliar lineup had its early struggles, including a 7th minute opportunity when Omar Gonzalez gave Joevin Jones plenty of room to test a wise Tim Howard.

At the other end, Pulisic ripped a deflected shot that earned the Yanks a corner. Michael Bradley’s offering was cleared away.

The crowd lifted nearly every time Pulisic touched the ball, and deservedly so. The 17-year-old hit both posts after Bobby Wood just failed to latch onto Jozy Altidore’s cross off a hard-working run.

Both posts, I said!

But Kljestan put the Yanks ahead on a ping-pong goal just before halftime, when he lunged to poke a loose ball beyond the reach of T&T goalkeeper Marvin Phillip.

The 44th minute goal sent us into the break with the Americans leading 1-0.

Phillip came up big on the first strong U.S. chance of the second half, as Pulisic dribbled across the 18 before finding Altidore. The big striker turned at fired, but Phillip parried the shot.

Howard found himself under second half duress after a first half in which a nap could’ve been possible for the American backstop.

That’s when Altidore struck. Fabian Johnson took the ball on the left, and played it square for Altidore. Phillip had to bet that the striker would lay it off to Bedoya, and was caught in the midst of that wager when Altidore opted to last a low shot near post.

Altidore was at the back door minutes later to slide a goal home when Pulisic cut in from the left and sent a delightful ball through the six.

Arriola made it 4-0 in the 71st minute, as Pulisic sprung another break — seriously, he was that %^#&$%^ dynamic — and the Yanks passed it around and then through the 18. Altidore found Pulisic, who was stopped by Phillip. Arriola passed it in for his second goal as a USMNT player.