Jozy Altidore cautions against USA overlooking Trinidad & Tobago qualifier

ExtraTime Radio Podcast

LISTEN: Thursday is a must-win for the US national team, and ETR has an exhaustive preview to get you ready. Trinidad & Tobago journalist Lasana Liburd explains why players keep getting sent home by Soca Warriors head coaches, and the guys try to predict Bruce Arena's XI and gameplan. Plus, more on Alphonso Davies' decision to rep Canada! Subscribe now so you never miss a show! Download the show!

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – For Jozy Altidore, the most important game is always the next one.

When the US national team hosts Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday night in a vital World Cup qualifier (8 pm ET | FS1, UniMás, UDN), it will be no different.

“You’ve got to take every game at a time,” he told reporters this week during the USMNT’s preparations at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. “Come Thursday night, that’s the most important game.”

The Toronto FC forward alluded to the notion that while both fans and the media have kept a closer eye on the USMNT’s upcoming rivalry match against Mexico, Thursday’s match offers a critical chance to take away three points on home soil.

“I think this is another good opportunity for us to rack up points and move up the table,” he said. “It’s an important game. When you look at the table, we’re still where we want to be. Regardless of who we play on Sunday, this is a big game.”

Neither the players nor head coach Bruce Arena called it a “must-win,” but with the Yanks currently sitting fourth in the CONCACAF Hexagonal table with four points – one point ahead of last-place Trinidad and Tobago and one point shy of third place and an automatic qualifying spot – anything short of a win could be seen as a huge blow to the team’s qualifying campaign.

Despite the pressure, the Americans feel confident heading into the match against the Soca Warriors, having prepped with a friendly match against a higher ranked Venezuela team last weekend which resulted in a 1-1 draw.

“Saturday’s game was good to show some of the issues we have, correct them, and be ready for Thursday.” said Arena.

Altidore also pointed to the USMNT’s historical success against T&T as an additional reason to remain positive heading into the match.  

“We always typically win or tie,” he said. “We’ve lost only one time, so I think we’ve always played well against Trinidad.”

For his part, the 27-year-old forward has fared well individually in those games, scoring five of his 37 international goals against Trinidad and Tobago, including a brace in the teams’ previous meeting last year during the fourth round of qualifiers.

He’ll look to continue that form come Thursday night.

“Every time you come to the national team, you want to play well,” said Altidore. “These games are important games.”