Trinidad And Tobago

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USMNT starts slow, destroys T&T with five second-half goals (video)

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The U.S. men’s national team’s quest to reclaim the Gold Cup once again needed a long runway to take off, but resulted in an emphatic 6-0 victory over Trinidad & Tobago and a place in the quarterfinals being sealed in Cleveland, Ohio, on Saturday.

[ MORE: All of PST’s USMNT coverage | Gold Cup ]

Gyasi Zardes and Aaron Lon scored twice each, to go with individual tallies from Christian Pulisic and Paul Arriola. No margin of victory can erase the memories of what happened in Couva, Trinidad, in November 2017, but the USMNT’s second-half explosion will have eased some fears over the team’s recent struggles to adapt to new head coach Gregg Berhalter’s system.

The opening 15 minutes were a painful continuation of the Yanks’ struggles from their tournament-opening victory over Guyana — only worse. Rather than struggling to retain possession and create chances of their own, the significant jump in competition resulted in an early onslaught of chances for the Soca Warriors.

Zack Steffen was forced to make a pair of saves inside the first 10 minutes. Each came from long distance and only posed a threat if Steffen were to misread the flight of the ball or mishandle on the catch or punch, but the ease with which the red shirts of T&T flowed through the heart of the American midfield was certainly alarming.

After slowing the game’s frenetic tempo, the USMNT settled in just a bit and was rewarded with a goal in the 41st minute. Pulisic lofted a dangerous cross toward the six-yard box, where Long was situated after a corner kick. The New York Red Bulls center back rose quickly and headed the ball into the ground with enough power to sneak it home off the outstretched hands of Marvin Phillip.

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The second half began with the USMNT firmly on the front foot, sitting a bit deeper in defense and springing quickly on the counter-attack. Weston McKennie got on the ball with time and space in midfield and connected a sensational diagonal through ball to Arriola in behind on the left wing. Arriola’s left-footed shot was, however, dragged a couple feet wide.

Tyler Boyd, who scored twice against Guyana, nearly added a third goal to his haul this tournament, but the 24-year-old’s left-footed curler from 20 yards out went agonizingly wide of Phillip’s right-hand post in the 55th minute.

For all of the pressure the USMNT managed to put on T&T through the first 15 minutes of the second half, it was nearly undone in an instant when Levi Garcia got in behind right back Nick Lima and fired a first-time shot just wide of Steffen’s right-hand post. Cordell Cato sprang Garcia with a quick diagonal ball from a giveaway in midfield, and served as a warning shot that T&T was a threat.

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Phillips was called into action again in the 64th minute, though he knew very little about the face-save he made to keep his side’s deficit at one. Pulisic got to the endline where he whipped a cross into the six-yard box and found Arriola. His effort on goal came off his foot and hit Phillips’ face a yard away.

Barely a minute later, Phillips was helpless to deny the Yanks a second goal. Michael Bradley floated a diagonal ball to Lima halfway into the 18-yard box; he headed it straight across the face of goal to Zardes seven yards out, at which point the finish was elementary.

There was nothing elementary about the finish on Zardes’ second goal, just three minutes later. Pulisic cut inside from the left wing and took a trio of defenders with him, opening up the cut-back ball to Zardes at the top of the box. He needed just one touch to control and set up his shot before striking a well-placed curler inside the far post to make it 3-0.

The floodgates were officially open two minutes later, when Zardes was denied his hat trick twice in a matter of 10 seconds — first, he smashed Arriola’s cross off the post from 15 yards out; was then denied by Phillips as he headed another cross from Arriola on target from six yards out.

Pulisic did what Zardes couldn’t — he made it 4-0 — in the 73rd. Jordan Morris worked his way down the right side of the box before cutting inside and laying a square ball to Pulisic on the left, where he had all the time he needed to pick his spot and finish back to the right.

Arriola tacked on the fifth goal five minutes later, in the 78th, making good on another simple pass from Morris. Long chested a high-bounding rebound home for the USMNT’s sixth and final goal mere seconds before the final whistle.

FOLLOW LIVE, Gold Cup: USMNT seeks improvement v. T&T

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Following a largely disappointing debut at the 2019 Gold Cup, the U.S. men’s national team is set to return to action for game no. 2 in Group D as they take on Trinidad & Tobago on Saturday (8 p.m. ET).

[ FOLLOW LIVE: USMNT takes on T&T in Cleveland ]

Gregg Berhalter has made no changes to the starting lineup that beat Guyana 4-0, but no until after waking up after a sluggish and thoroughly unimpressive first-half performance.

Most notably, Jozy Altidore remains on the bench, with Gyasi Zardes preferred at center forward.

This is, of course, the first meeting between the Yanks and Soca Warriors since the former was denied 2018 World Cup qualification on the final day of the Hexagonal in 2017.

Hit the link above to follow along for the next two hours, and check back on PST for a full recap and in-depth analysis after the final whistle.

USMNT gets first chance to reassert its CONCACAF status

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Not going to lie to you: It’d be nice to see some vengeance.

No, beating Trinidad and Tobago at the Gold Cup isn’t going to magically put the United States men’s national team back in the 2018 World Cup, nor will it erase nearly two years of seething from the record.

But honestly, you just want to feel like something, anything, is emotionally different in U.S. Soccer from the federation that puked all over the qualifying process for 2018.

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Let’s start here: Regardless of what Michael Bradley says about Saturday night’s match versus Trinidad and Tobago — “I’m not sure inside of the group if it carries a whole lot of weight” — the Yanks should absolutely feel ready to come out firing against the Soca Warriors.

It’s Bradley’s job as a veteran leader to play down tension ahead of the second group stage game of a second-tier tournament, but we’re pretty sure Christian Pulisic isn’t sleeping on the nation whose B-team deprived him of his World Cup. Omar Gonzalez didn’t build himself back up from a terrible own goal in Couva to have this be “just another game.”

Want to send a message within the team, supporters, and CONCACAF that things are different, even if it’s just a preface to a latter tournament trophy-holding novel? Control the game despite the absence of Tyler Adams, John Brooks, DeAndre Yedlin, Tim Weah, and possibly Weston McKennie.

Consider the make-up of both 23-man rosters. T&T has seven domestic players, three MLS players, seven USL Championship players, one USL League One player, one in Costa Rica, one in the Israeli Premier League, one playing in Saudi Arabia’s top tier and two in its second tier. The USMNT is comprised of MLS players plus Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Weston McKennie (Schalke), Matt Miazga (Chelsea), Tim Ream (Fulham), and Tyler Boyd (Vitória de Guimarães)

Not to mention Panama outshot T&T 16-4 in a 2-0 win the other night, about the same as the U.S. advantage (20-4; 4-0) over Guyana.

Handle their A-team with your B-plus team.

Take that knowledge and then consider this: As the USSF prepares to anoint a new CEO who may well be hand-picked by the old CEO, reportedly not supported by the new president, and happens to be the USMNT head coach’s brother, wouldn’t it be cool if things felt just a bit like they were on the right track.

The U-20 World Cup helped, as has watching McKennie, Pulisic, and Adams blossom in the Bundesliga.

But we’re mere rounds away from, if we’re fortunate, seeing the first edition of Berhalter’s USMNT against Tata Martino’s Mexico (a Tata Martino, it must be noted, who the USSF didn’t feel the need to contact regarding the possibility of an interview). And we’re days away from a game against a Panama team who took a World Cup spot by scoring a ghost goal.

The losses against Jamaica’s B-team and Venezuela in a vacuum are just bad days at the office, but something fundamentally changed in the spirit of U.S. Soccer that night in Couva. The over-achieving teams of (a few of the) World Cups past gave way to what appeared to be an entitled coach and players failing to prove wrong the wandering mind of a German legend who helped put them in their predicament.

For at least this one night, it’d be great to feel that Couva not only mattered but that it’s put a chip on the shoulder of everyone in U.S. Soccer.

Win decisively, fellas.

Gold Cup LIVE – USMNT meets Guyana after Panama, T&T tangle

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Gregg Berhalter’s shaky USMNT welcomes several of its star players into the fold when it kicks off its 2019 Gold Cup campaign against Guyana on Tuesday.

[ LIVE: Latest Gold Cup scores ]

The match comes 2.5 hours after one between the two sides which conspired to keep the Yanks out of the 2018 World Cup.

While the USMNT played the biggest role in that monumental failure, Trinidad and Tobago is the team that beat the Yanks in Couva on the same night that Panama scored a ghost goal to push the U.S. into fifth in the Hex.

Guyana has lost to Haiti, Bermuda, and French Guiana in the last eight months, and it would be stunning if the U.S. didn’t post a generous amount of goals on the scoreboard even after miserable efforts against Jamaica’s B team and Venezuela.

Panama and T&T, on the other hand, should be a beauty, with Los Canaleros getting a bit older in the tooth and the Soca Warriors maturing a bit as a side.

Panama and T&T kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET, with the USMNT expected to kickoff with Guyana a little after 10 p.m.

2019 Gold Cup full schedule, kick off times, venues

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Get excited. The 2019 Gold Cup on U.S. soil (with a few games in Costa Rica and Jamaica) is almost here, as 16 teams set out to be crowned the champions of the CONCACAF region.

[ MORE: Latest 2019 Gold Cup news ]

The reigning champs are the U.S. men’s national team but Gregg Berhalter’s men aren’t favorites to win the tournament this time around as Mexico, led by Tata Martino, are the bookies pick to win it all this summer. A lot has changed for the U.S. since they won it in 2017 under Bruce Arena…

[ LIVE: Latest Gold Cup scores

Watch out for Jamaica with Leon Bailey, and both Costa Rica and Honduras will be tough to get past in the coming weeks as Canada are also outside bets to have a good run in the Gold Cup with Junior Hoilett and Alphonso Davies leading their charge.

Below is a look at the full schedule for the tournament, complete with the venues being used, kick off times and the knockout round bracket as things kick off on June 15 with the final on July 7 at Soldier Field in Chicago.


Group stage

Group A
June 15: Canada v. Martinique – 7:30 p.m. ET at Rose Bowl, Pasadena
June 15: Mexico v. Cuba – 10 p.m. ET at Rose Bowl, Pasadena
June 19: Cuba v. Martinique – 8 p.m. ET at Mile High Stadium, Denver
June 19: Mexico v. Canada – 10:30 p.m. ET at Mile High Stadium, Denver
June 23: Canada v. Cuba – 6 p.m. ET at Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte
June 23: Martinique v. Mexico – 8:30 p.m. ET at Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte

Group B
June 16: Haiti v. Bermuda – 6 p.m. ET at Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica, San Jose, Costa Rica
June 16: Costa Rica v. Nicaragua – 8:30 p.m. ET at Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica, San Jose, Costa Rica
June 20: Nicaragua v. Haiti – 7 p.m. ET at Toyota Stadium, Frisco
June 20: Costa Rica v. Bermuda – 9:30 p.m. ET at Toyota Stadium, Frisco
June 24: Bermuda v. Nicaragua – 6:30 p.m. ET at Red Bull Arena, Harrison
June 24: Haiti v. Costa Rica – 9 p.m. ET at Red Bull Arena, Harrison

Group C
June 17: Curacao v. El Salvador – 7 p.m. ET at Independence Park, Kingston, Jamaica
June 17: Jamaica v. Honduras – 9:30 p.m. at Independence Park, Kingston, Jamaica
June 21: El Salvador v. Jamaica – 7 p.m. ET at BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston
June 21: Honduras v. Curacao – 9:30 p.m. ET at BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston
June 25: Jamaica v. Curacao – 8 p.m. ET at Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles
June 25: Honduras v. El Salvador – 10:30 p.m. ET at Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles

Group D
June 18: Panama v. Trinidad & Tobago – 7:30 p.m. ET at Allianz Field, Saint Paul
June 18: United States v. Guyana – 10 p.m. ET at Allianz Field, Saint Paul
June 22: Guyana v. Panama – 5:30 p.m. ET at FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland
June 22: United States v. Trinidad & Tobago – 8 p.m. ET at FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland
June 26: Trinidad & Tobago v. Guyana – 6:30 p.m. ET at Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City
June 26: Panama v. United States – 9 p.m. ET at Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City

Quarterfinals

June 29
Match 25: Winner Group B v. Runner-up Group A – 7 p.m. ET at NRG Stadium, Houston
Match 26: Winner Group A v. Runner-up Group B – 10 p.m. ET at NRG Stadium, Houston

June 30
Match 27: Winner Group C vs. Runner-up Group D – 5:30 p.m. ET at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
Match 28: Winner Group D vs. Runner-up Group C – 8:30 p.m. ET at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia

Semifinals

July 2
Match 29: Winners of Match 25 vs. Winners of Match 26 – 10:30 p.m. ET at State Farm Stadium, Glendale

July 3
Match 30: Winners of Match 27 vs. Winners of Match 28 – 9:30 p.m. ET at Nissan Stadium, Nashville

Final

July 7
Winners of Match 29 vs. Winners of Match 30 – 9:15 p.m. ET at Soldier Field, Chicago