US Men Earn 1-0 Victory Over Trinidad & Tobago to Move Closer to World Cup Germany 2006

EAST HARTFORD N.J. (From USSoccer.com) — The U.S. Men’s National Team beat Trinidad & Tobago 1-0 on Wednesday evening in an important World Cup qualifying match at Rentschler Field in East Hartford Conn. to inch closer to qualifying for FIFA World Cup Germany 2006. The victory came courtesy of a second-minute goal from forward Brian McBride in front of 25488 fans in Connecticut.

"I think we deserved the three points said U.S. manager Bruce Arena. "I thought we played very well and I think we felt guilty that perhaps we made it a little bit difficult on ourselves. We created a number of good goal scoring opportunities and came up short and that allowed Trinidad to hang around for 89 minutes or so and I think they could have been punished and sent home a lot earlier.

"Give them credit: they never quit. They defended well and we failed to convert our chances. However the three points are huge. Fifteen points after six games is as good as it gets and I think we're getting real close to qualifying for Germany. We're pleased where we are. We'll size up the troops after this game and prepare for the next set of games against Mexico and Guatemala."

With a win over Mexico the U.S. is guaranteed a spot in their fifth consecutive World Cup. Likewise a tie vs. Mexico can also clinch a U.S. berth in the 2006 World Cup ONLY if the other two CONCACAF matches on Matchday 7 (Panama vs. Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago vs. Guatemala) result in ties.

Mexico defeated Costa Rica at home tonight 2-0 to maintain the top spot in the final round of qualifying with 16 points. In tonight’s other CONCACAF match Guatemala came from behind to beat Panama at home 2-1.

McBride’s early goal came just 91 seconds into the game on an easy pass from the left side of the penalty area from Bobby Convey playing in his third straight qualifier for the U.S. The goal was created when midfielder John O’Brien shook off his marker in midfield and played a perfect ball into Convey breaking behind a slow reacting Trinidad & Tobago defense.

The goal for McBride moved him ahead of Earnie Stewart as the USA’s all-time leading goal scorer in World Cup qualifying play with 10 all-time strikes.

"Basically it was good ball movement said McBride. "Bobby (Convey) ran off a shoulder and was played in and I knew I just had to beat the guy to the spot. The angle that he was at he was going to play the ball across. It was a nice ball in and I just had to open up my foot."

In the 29th minute Landon Donovan had a chance to put the U.S. ahead 2-0 after a poor clearance from Trinidad & Tobago goalkeeper Kelvin Jack landed at the feet of the high-scoring forward at the top of the area. With just the ‘keeper to beat Donovan moved into the box and tried to lift the ball over the charging Jack but the goalkeeper redeemed himself with a fine save.

Less than 10 minutes later Convey had a breakaway and slid a ball just outside the right post after Donovan had split two defenders with a soft short pass to free the midfielder on his run.

At the end of the first half Donovan used his speed to turn a bad back pass from Marvin Andrews into a red card for Trinidad & Tobago defender Dennis Lawrence who had to trace back as the U.S. forward sprinted toward goal with the errant pass. As the pair reached the top of the penalty area Lawrence tugged on Donovan’s shoulder to throw him off stride and earn the red card ejection from referee Marco Rodriguez.

John O’Brien was forced out of the match at the start of the second half with a left hip contusion giving way to Chris Armas. O’Brien is not expected to miss any significant time due to the injury.

The U.S. played the bulk of the second half with the man advantage; however a second yellow card caution on Convey in the 88th minute evened the sides at 10 men each. Just moments before the red card second half sub Taylor Twellman appeared to ice the game in 86th minute with an empty net tap in after an excellent cross from the right flank by Santino Quaranta a second half sub making his World Cup qualifying debut for the U.S. However the assistant referee raised his flag immediately disallowing the goal with a very close offside call.

For the match the U.S. out shot their Caribbean rivals 18-1 as Kasey Keller earned his fourth straight shutout in World Cup qualifying without being called upon to make a single save. Keller now has a shutout streak of 417 minutes in qualifying play dating back to the USA’s 2-1 loss in Mexico on March 27.

Keller has also now played in 30 World Cup qualifiers for the U.S. tying him for the team’s all-time lead with Cobi Jones Eddie Pope and Earnie Stewart.

The match at Rentschler Field was the 100th all-time FIFA World Cup qualifying game for the United States and improved the USA’s record to 44-29-27.

It was the team’s first game since the USA claimed their third CONCACAF Gold Cup crown in July with a penalty kick victory over Panama in East Rutherford N.J. The U.S. takes the field again in just a little more than two weeks against Mexico in Columbus Ohio on Sept. 3. That game is followed immediately with a Sept. 7 match in Guatemala City against Guatemala the eighth of 10 final round World Cup qualifying matches in CONCACAF.

-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --

Match-up: USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Date: August 17 2005
Competition: FIFA World Cup qualifier
Venue: Rentschler Field – East Hartford Connecticut
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
Attendance: 25488
Weather: 80 degrees clear

Scoring Summary:
1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
TRI 0 0 0

Scoring:
USA – Brian McBride (Bobby Convey) 2nd minute.

Lineups:

USA: 18-Kasey Keller; 4-Chris Albright 22-Oguchi Onyewu 3-Gregg Berhalter 7-Eddie Lewis; 19-Steve Ralston (9-Santino Quaranta 72) 10-Claudio Reyna (capt.) 5-John O’Brien (14-Chris Armas 46) 15-Bobby Convey; 21-Landon Donovan 20-Brian McBride (13-Taylor Twellman 83)
Subs not used: 1-Tim Howard 2-Greg Vanney 11-Jeff Cunningham 12-Jimmy Conrad
Head Coach: Bruce Arena.

TRI: 21-Kelvin Jack; 3-Avery John 4-Marvin Andrews 2-Atiba Charles (8-Scott Sealy 46+) 6-Dennis Lawrence; 9-Aurtis Whitley 16-Silvio Spann 7-Christopher Birchall 20-Collin Samuel (5-Brent Sancho 46+); 19-Dwight Yorke (capt.) 14-Stern John (15-Kenwyne Jones 55)
Subs not used: 1-Shaka Hislop 18-Densil Theobold 23-Anthony Wolfe 24-Cyd Gray
Head Coach: Leo Beenhakker

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Bobby Convey (caution) 31st minute.
TRI – Dennis Lawrence (ejection) 41.
USA – Bobby Convey (caution) 88.
USA – Bobby Convey (ejection) 88.

Officials:
Referee: Marco Rodriguez (MEX)
1st Asst.: Jose Camargo (CRC)
2nd Asst.: Leonel Leal (MEX)
Fourth Official: Mauricio Morales (MEX)

ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Claudio Reyna