US find flooded pitch ahead of World Cup qualifier at Trinidad & Tobago

Flooded pat

Update, Tuesday at 3:20 pm

It looks like the pumps have been working overtime to dry the field with ESPN's Jeff Carlisle taking a picture of the field conditions Tuesday afternoon.

It can be hard to explain the vagaries of World Cup qualifying in the CONCACAF region to those unfamiliar with it, but sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

October 9, 2017

The US national team encountered the Caribbean equivalent of a moat around the pitch on which they’re set to play Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier vs. Trinidad & Tobago (8 pm ET | beIN SPORTS, NBC Universo) when they arrived for their pregame training session on Monday morning.

Heavy rains in the island nation left standing water across large swathes of the playing surface at Ato Bolden Stadium in Couva, raising doubts about the conditions – and even the basic playability – of Tuesday evening’s match, the final game of the 2018 CONCACAF Hexagonal round for both teams.

Trinidad & Tobago usually play home games in Port-of-Spain’s Hasely Crawford Stadium, but due to lighting issues and concerns about smaller attendance levels, this match was moved to Ato Bolden – a smaller but much newer facility outside the capital city.

With the venue’s track oval lying just a bit lower than the grass field inside it, most of the area used for soccer was not completely submerged – but that doesn’t mean it’s fit for match play.

The USMNT quickly shifted their training activities to the small area behind one goal, suggesting that most of the pitch is soaked and susceptible to tearing up:

Update (2:30 pm ET)

The Trinidad & Tobago Football Association released a statement on Monday afternoon noting "with concern several social media posts by the US Soccer team's official Twitter account," claiming that the federation "highlighted the rainwater around the track" at Ato Bolden Stadium but failed to note "the adverse weather patterns" which hit Trinidad & Tobago over the past several days. 

The TTFA said that stadium management expressed concern with the field conditions following the US's Monday morning training session, but added that "all parties are confident" Tuesday's qualifier will be played as scheduled. The CONCACAF match commissioner will have the final say on whether or not the field is playable on Tuesday night.