The US national team stared down a must-win situation on Thursday in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, and came through the test, defeating Trinidad & Tobago 2-0 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
Kenwyne Jones nearly gave T&T a lead in the 33rd minute, but his header clanged off the crossbar. The Americans found the breakthrough shortly after halftime thanks to Christian Pulisic. The teenager then doubled the score, and his own tally on the night, just after the hour mark to give the hosts some breathing room.
- Armchair Analyst: Breaking down the USMNT's win over T&T
- "Exceptional" Pulisic confident after star turn
- Player Ratings: Which US player stood apart in qualifying victory?
- Arena thinks US can overcome Azteca hex
- Nagbe repays belief for USMNT with strong shift
- Lineup changes coming vs. Mexico? Arena says it's possible
- DEJA VU PERFORMANCE: The Americans got a much-needed win to keep pace in World Cup qualifying, but the performance very much followed that from Saturday's tune-up friendly against Venezuela. They came through with a sluggish start in the first half before turning it on later, with Pulisic leading the way. It could be a sign of concern, or it could have been somewhat deliberate, with two qualifiers in altitude and the hardest game of the Hexagonal round -- against Mexico in Mexico City -- coming on short rest. We'll see if this pays off on Sunday, or if it will come back to haunt the USMNT.
- PULISIC IS FOR REAL: American fans have been excited about Pulisic since he reached Borussia Dortmund's first team, but Thursday's performance may have truly been the moment he emerged for the USMNT. With the Yanks struggling to get a goal in a vital game, Pulisic put the team on his shoulders and found not one goal, but two, to ensure the result. Is this just the beginning for the 18-year-old? If it is, then the future should be bright indeed for the US.
- CARD COUNTING: One key item that could come into play for Sunday's game against Mexico: All five US players in yellow-card suspension jeopardy (Matt Besler, John Brooks, Geoff Cameron, Michael Bradley, and Jozy Altidore) avoided the ban against Trinidad. Considering Bruce Arena will need all hands on deck against Mexico, the smart play of those players to make sure they don't miss out on the Azteca showdown could make the difference between a result and a loss on Sunday.
- USA: Sunday, Jun. 11 – at Mexico (8:30 pm ET | FS1, Univision, UDN)
- TRI: Tuesday, Jun. 13 – at Costa Rica