Before the game, they were all business. This was not a chance to avenge the painful loss to Trinidad & Tobago in World Cup qualifying to infamously knock the United States out of contention for Russia 2018.
“Other than it being a nice narrative for you guys, I’m not sure inside of the group if it carries a whole lot of weight,” captain Michael Bradley said prior to the United States’ meeting with Trinidad & Tobago in Gold Cup group stage play. “For me, it’s the second game of the Gold Cup,” Paul Arriola claimed. Beating them was “not going to change anything,” said Christian Pulisic.
Six goals and three points later, the USMNT secured a 6-0 victory that featured a blistering second half led by Pulisic who scored one and assisted two more. For the 20-year-old Chelsea winger, all the talk before the game was hogwash.
“At halftime we said just keep going and going and eventually the goals started to flow,” Pulisic said to the Fox broadcast after the match. “I didn’t like to say it, but I definitely had a little chip on my shoulder today and I hope you guys could see that.” The little chuckle buried in there said it all.
Pulisic was seen in tears on the field after the loss to Trinidad two years ago, overcome with emotion after proving unable to carry the entire team’s weight and secure qualification in the World Cup. To enact some form of revenge, no matter how small, had to feel good, even if there were hardly any players left on the current Trinidad team from the one on that famous night.
With the storming win, the United States has secured passage to the Gold Cup knockout stage and will play Panama on Tuesday in its group stage finale to determine the group winner.