- Yanks move into Top 3 slot
- Pulisic scores two (video)
- Altidore, Yedlin assist
Christian Pulisic scored his sixth and seventh international goals to give the USMNT’s World Cup hopes a major boost following a 2-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago in Commerce City, Colorado, on Thursday.
The U.S. now heads to Mexico for Sunday’s qualifier at Azteca, and stands a good chance of finishing this international break in an automatic World Cup qualifying slot.
Trinidad and Tobago stays dead last in the Hex table, with three points. Costa Rica hosts Panama, and Honduras visits Mexico later Thursday.
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The touches weren’t there to start, even if the ideas were going forward. Clint Dempsey plugged consecutive through balls into Trinidad legs, and Jorge Villafana’s chest level cross sailed through the box.
Through 10 minutes, it was scoreless and T&T would have to be happy with its play.
Dempsey had a shot from 19 yards after Bradley sprayed a diagonal ball to Villafana, who moved it to Johnson and onto the former Fulham man. Moments later, Yedlin cued up Altidore from the right side, but the Toronto FC striker went for a fancy back leg finish and whiffed on his shot.
Yedlin was on the end of a terrific ball to the end line, but Altidore got a late start on reaching a cut back. Then Brooks lashed a shot that was parried from trouble by Jan-Michael Williams, who then stopped a strong offering from Altidore. It was coming.
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A relentless run from Pulisic morphed into a gilt-edge chance, and the Borussia Dortmund teenage claimed a deflection when his left-footed lash went over the bar.
Trinidad’s first real chance came when Khaleem Hyland was gifted an acre of space and his long rip flew wide of goal.
Yet it was still 0-0 after the half hour mark, and the Yanks nearly threw it away when Kenwyne Jones beat Brooks to a cross and headed the ball off the bar.
Villafana then tested Williams, and Dempsey chased down the rebound to feed Altidore. The big man’s header was popped over the bar by Williams for a corner.
Now the 37th minute, Nagbe chipped a pass to Altidore that wound up headed over the bar.
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Howard needed to make another stop on a shot through traffic in the 42nd minute, but the U.S. was superior over 45 minutes despite the 0-0 score line.
A Molino cross just missed Nathan Lewis in the 51st minute, and despite its dominance the U.S. was lucky to not trail (again).
The Americans finally scored thanks to Nagbe, who had struggled with his touch but produced a wonderful goal by dribbling into a 1-2 with Dempsey before Yedlin sent a ball into the goal mouth for Pulisic’s sliding finish.
Lewis had a goal called back for offside off the ensuing kickoff.
Williams was injured in the 56th minute, the no-doubt Man of the Match at that point needing a break after scrambling to stop Pulisic and Altidore.
Pulisic nabbed his second when Yedlin played square to Altidore, who snapped a ball beyond the defense for the youngster to bend near post.
Substitutes Kellyn Acosta and Bobby Wood teamed up for a late chance that the latter snapped off the post from 16 yards.