Wednesday, October 15, 2008

USA vs. Trinidad and Tobago Liveblog

Welcome to UF's liveblog of the USA vs. Trinidad and Tobago from Port of Spain. Your hosts tonight will be myself and Lingering Bursitis. I suggest a Dark and Stormy if you are looking for something liquid to accompany the game, which kicks at 8 pm EST.

Fresh off the 6-1 demolition of Cuba at RFK on Saturday which put the USA into the next round of qualifying, Bob Bradley sent home most of his European based veterans. So tonight should be a good look at the likes of Adu and Altidore, with some MLS-based filler youth as well.

Trinidad and Tobago, meanwhile, are coming off a clutch draw against Guatemala on the road on Saturday. Both teams are tied for second place, and a point tonight for T&T would be huge as they host Cuba at home in November, while Guatemala travel to the Isla de Fidel tonight, then finish up against the USA at the Dick in Denver.

Lineups and more after the jump.

Our UF spies are in the locker room and will get us the teamsheets shortly.

7:14- US Starters:

Kljestan-------Adu------Beasley (c)

Looks like a 4-5-1 with Adu pulling the strings. Also we get to see the 5' 5" Torres in some sort of defensive role.

7:33- Wayne Rooney gives an unintelligible interview on Sky Sports. Perhaps LB can translate.

7:57- Still searching for team sheets. Anyone have a link?

8:00 -Allright, we are live. Time to settle in for the JP and John Harkes show. Over/under on mentions of the shot heard round the world tonight?

8:05 - Ok, found a T&T teamsheet:
GK- Ince
D-Edwards, Lawrence, Thomas
MF - Birchall, Daniel, Latapy, Edwards, Spann, Yorke
F - Scotland

So a 3-6-1? Or something...should be a crowded midfield tonight.

8:06 - Stadium announcer sounds like a dude I would like to toke with.

8:07 - Anthems. A live band busts an awesome calypso version of the Stars and Stripes. Muffed snickers from Brad Guzan.

8:08 - T&T striker Jason Scotland plays for Swansea. Lawrence plays for the Welsh side as well. Yorke and Edwards play for Roy Keane.

8:08 - Holy Cow. The T&T anthem is mind blowing. A nice waltzing march.

0 Minutes - Kickoff. Bradley looking cool in the t shirt. Will never be confused for Mourinho on the touch line.

2nd minute - Beasley almost gets a chance on the right side after some decent play from Sasha.

4th minute - T&T win a free kick just outside the box. Ball is whipped in, Guzan makes a nice save, ball rebounds around and then is cleared out of danger. Meanwhile the US counters but Adu loses the ball at the top of the box.

5th minute - On the ensuing corner, Altidore is free at the back post but falls over. The stadium looks more or less full, and the supporters are enjoying themselves.

7th minute - the Pierce/Beasley combo on the left side looks like it could do some damage tonight. Beas still rocking ridiculous orange boots.

9th minute - Scotland wins a corner. Ball is served into the back post, and Guzan is no where to be seen, but the it ends out for a goal kick. Meanwhile, Harkes tells us that Latapy is 40 and plays in Scotland.

10th minute - Cluttered play in the midfield, which is to be expected given the 25 midfielders on the pitch. Ball springs to a T&T player who puts a long range shot on Guzan, which he deals with, eventually.

12th minute - Sasha doesn't do much with a freekick from the left side of the box. Meanwhile, PR asks if its ok to root for T&T. Don't tell Sara Palin, but I think you are safe. Might want to avoid leaving an electronic record, though.

14th minute - Altidore almost gets on the end of the throughball on the left side of the box, where he has been hanging out most of the match.

16th minute- Latapy chucks a ball down to Scotland, who bundles over Cherundulo Pierce for a corner kick. Ensuing corner leads to chaos in the box, but the shot is over the bar. The US have not been sharp on set pieces so far.

19th minute - So far the US midfield has had trouble keeping possession. Just as I write that, Adu leads a move, passes wide to Altidore, who crosses the ball into the box where no one can get on the end.

21st minute - I'm not sure Torres is suited for the Bob Bradley "destroyer" role in front of the defense. Also, why the hell do we need two defense midfielders against T&T? Give me a 4-4-2!

23rd minute - Scotland is actually on loan to Wolves, and he almost gets through the US defense there.

25th minute - Edu turns over the ball in the midfield, leading to another Scotland chance on the left side.

27th minute - I'm not sure the Califf-Orozco pairing in the middle is really something we need to see going forward in the future. T&T now really dominating possession now.

28th minute - to be fair, Califf does have cool sideburns tonight. Torres and Adu both turning the ball over at every opportunity. T&T going for some Colaship level muck and grind chippiness now.

33rd minute - US midfield is totally out of sync right now. T&T playing very physically against the smaller US players.

35th minute - The game has ground to a halt, thanks to a T&T injury. They are forced to sub in Hislop. USA corner goes to nothing. Latapy brought down by Adu on the counter, although he avoids going into the ref's book.

38th minute - Adu just cannot play central midfield, at least not against bigger players. Meanwhile, Torres puts a shot in row ZZ.

40the minute - I'm openly rooting for the Soca Warriors at this point, I think. The US midfield is in shambles. A decent run by Beasley on the left leads to a terrible ball from Adu right at the keeper.

42th minute - The US needs to take advantage of their speed out wide instead of mucking around in the middle. Beasley almost gets on a ball deep in the left corner.

45th minute - Into stoppage time and this half has been pathetic. Bradley needs to move to a 4-4-2 at halftime, methinks. The bench is a bit thin, but it would be nice to see Wynne and Szetela.

47th minute - Scotland almost puts one past Guzan at the death, but it goes just wide. He should have buried that. And there's the whistle. Are you ready for smug ESPN announcer to mispronounce Rooney?

Halftime - US have been poor in the first half, but perhaps Bradley is figuring out that Torres cannot play as a defensive midfielder. Edu has been mediocre as well, and Adu looks like shit. Beasley needs to get more touches, he has been the most dangerous player on the field. I'm out to drink more and plan my vacation to T&T, and LB will be taking over for the second half. Stay safe, folks.

Hello folks, LB here to add a touch of English disdain at this lackluster match. When the best chance of the match has been squandered by a lad playing for Swansea City, we're in trouble.

I know we're all expecting a lot here, but we should have known it'd be this cautious and dour thus far. Bradley brings in 8 new faces from the lineup against Cuba, and of course it's going to be rough going. As Ian pointed out, the most troubling part is that Califf/Orozco partnership. Scotland and Birchill The Colaship Lad are having far too much time and space to waste chances.

Meanwhile, Edu and Torres are not defensive midfielders, nor do they appear to be particularly proficient at distributing the ball. Hejduk sprints his lungs out to get down the wing, and has no juice left to provide a decent cross.

At least for the US, Trinidad & Tobago aren't doing much with all their possession.

46 mins: And we're off again. So much news hidden within the reporting of the MLS bids announced today. The Gillett family is launching a bid for a franchise in Montreal... might that augur the beginning of the end for them in Liverpool? That'd be nice, even with recent injury scares surrounding Fernando Torres and Ryan Babel tonight.

No subs for either side at the interval. Will Bradley get anything from this awful formation?

48 mins: Does Harkes get how offside works? USMNT have their first decent-looking move of the match as Kljestan finds Torres who finds Altidore through the middle, but the linesman flags it. Touch-and-go as far as I could see. Harkes is adamant.

A much brighter start from the US after the break.

49 mins: A sharp move from T&T as Edwards and Birchill exchange passes at the edge of the USMNT box, but the move breaks down.

50 mins: Fun fact from Harkes that 7 of the Starting XI for T&T are playing in England. He then goes on to mention Latapy in Scotland... I think he meant they're playing in Great Britain but the thought was there. Poor lad, he tries so hard.

Steady calypso beats and a long ball down the right for Altidore to obediently chase as Hejduk overcooks the pass a bit and Lawrence ushers it out of play for a goal kick. Frankie had the right idea, but Jozy read it late and another attack dissolves to nothing.

Guatemala 0, Cuba 1

That'd put T&T through, right?

53 mins: Scotland holds the ball up at the edge of the box and earns a T&T corner. Daniel slings it in and it's only half-cleared. It then comes back into Yorke in the box as Birchill lobs it in, but he can't shoot, and then Scotland has a half-chance on the left side but the ball skidded off the turf and he couldn't pull the trigger.

Not a bad chance for T&T, as the US clearly look awful from the set-piece. Guzan isn't happy at all. I for one don't blame him.

55 mins: Can I get a Stern John appearance? The camera show him feigning enjoyment of the bench. It's almost at the hour mark, and it's time for us to see another T&T player who can't shoot accurately.

Honduras 0, Jamaica 1
Mexico 0, Canada 1

The world's gone mad, I tell ya.

58 mins: Carlos Edwards is simply a Trinidadian facsimile of Jermaine Pennant. There, I've pegged it. His breezy run down the right flank unhindered yields a cross to no-one, despite having all the time in the world to get his foot around it and provide something of menace. Then again, it's the drawback of your team playing a 4-5-1 and having a lone striker who's positionally-retarded and doesn't know where to make his runs.

59 mins: Scotland gets free down the left, but does nothing with it. Anyone else seeing the pattern emerging here?

60 mins: ESPN takes a break from the snooze to inform us on the MLB playoffs. Wish my fuckin' Cubs were still involved. Sadly, not. I'd also kill for a goal right now. BRING ON STERN JOHN! STERN JOHN! STERN JOHN!

Ping-pong football in the midfield as neither side is really good at keeping possession.

61 mins: GOAL GOAL GOAL GOAL GOAL SOCA WARRIORS! Nice move from Latapy to release Edwards down the right, who remarkably sheds his new Pennant comparison to outfox Pearce on the wing. Edwards chips it over everyone and finds Latapy in space, and his first-time volley hits the post and bounces in off Guzan's back.

The crowd goes mad, and I express relief at not having to murder someone.
Soca Warriors 1, US Young'ins 0

How will the US respond? Nuclear aggression? An angry wag of the finger?

63 mins: "Someone remind Latapy he's 40," cries Harkes as the aging Scottish League player narrowly misses a second. Scotland beats the rather slow USMNT offside trap and feeds to Latapy in the middle whose first-time shot skids wide of the left-hand post.

Please Harkes, enough with the age references.

65 mins: T&T are attacking brightly now, and I can't remember the last time the USMNT held possession for more than 20 seconds. Adu has been quiet, but he silences me temporarily by creating a shot for himself 30 yards out that blazes wide and high.

Sub for Soca: Scotland off, Stern John on.

Still no subs from the US, and you get the impression Bradley doesn't really care. If we're honest, he doesn't need to. With qualification secured ages ago, this was always going to be a petri dish for his new playthings and exciting, bold formations. He does prepare a sub, albeit slowly; Charlie Davies is warming up, apparently to replace Adu.

Yep, Adu is off and Davies is on.

69 mins: The ball breaks for Kljestan on the right, but he can't do anything with it. Pretty uninspired from the US toni-HEY, HARKES AND JP! Stop mentioning Latapy's age! Age is but a number, and his goal was also a number to make it 1-0. Or something. But seriously, the age comments are irritating. Did you know Dwight Yorke is old as shit as well? It's true.

71 mins: Corner whipped in from the right for US but there's a foul in the box on 'keeper Ince and the danger disappears. This win puts T&T safely though. C'mon, Soca. You've deserved the points tonight.

73 mins: Maurice Edu tries to release Hejduk down the right but his pass is a million miles ahead of poor Frankie and he slides in vain to keep the ball in play. D'oh. Edu's about as good at passing as I am at liveblogging effectively (that is to say, not at all).

75 mins: Ah crap, there goes my big mouth again. GOAL GOAL GOAL GOAL USMNT, and they didn't deserve that. What a cockamamie scramble, but Bradley (and the traveling US fans) will take it! A melee of legs and missed tackles on the edge of the T&T box breaks nicely for Jozy, who keeps his composure, slides it under the sprawling Ince across the edge of the 6-yard-box, and Charlie Davies slots it into the empty net under pressure.
Soca Warriors 1, US Young'ins 1

77 mins: Hey look, Russell Latapy is old as shit, and he's just been subbed off. Inland is on to replace him. T&T push forward looking for another goal.

Oh snap, there it almost was. Great release to set sub Hyland free down the left, his long cross sails over everyone to Carlos Edwards, who controls nicely and volleys goalward to see his shot deflected over.

OH SHIT. Penalty Soca Warriors! The ensuing corner is deep into the box and Altidore buries Hislop down in the box as he tries to leap forward and head the ball clear. Silly that, but the ref isn't having it. PK T&T...

.... AND THEY SCORE. GOAL GOAL GOAL GOAL GOAL SOCA WARRIORS. Yorke steps up and wrong-foots Guzan, sending him right and slotting it low left.
Soca Warriors 2, US Young'ins 1

80 mins: US answer down the left, winning a free-kick right in the corner. Beasley takes and sends it in sharply across the box. A US player flicks it on (I couldn't make out who) but it ends up cleared from danger.

Guatemala have tied it up against Cuba, but Soca is through if things hold. Huge results tonight, and it appears that Precious Roy's wish for more T&T calypso interpretations of national anthems might hold up!

Oh, and Cuba just scored again.

Meanwhile, free kick for US a long way out. Beasley lofts it in, Kljestan heads it across goal, Davies flicks it on and Altidore couldn't bury it at the back post. Ince slams the post but Soca survive.

Sub for USMNT: Torres off, Danny Szetela on. Disappointing show by Jose Francisco tonight.

85 mins: Talk of MLS playoffs invades the commentary box. Are the poor ESPN onlookers giving up? Will the US forage forward again?

US attack through Altidore but he can't find space. Birchill was injured in the play, but slowly recovers, and meanwhile, the US prep their final sub. Catch the excitement!

US sub: Pearce off, Rolfe on? Looks like they'll make the bold shift to a 3-man backline in search of an equalizer, which is smart considering how solid and reliable Califf and Orozco have looked tonight. Yep, that's sarcasm there, folks.

Also: is anyone out there? Are you all watching the debate instead?

88 mins: A ball right across the edge of the box tees up for Hejduk, and he whips it in. Deflected away from danger, and the substitution is made. Here comes Rolfe.

89 mins: Another US attack amounts to nothing, and the Soca Warriors settle inside the US half to finish things off. Califf looks shaken up. Being elbowed by Stern John will do that to you.

90 mins: Szetela finds space on the right, and whips in a low, fast cross through the box, but it doesn't find anyone or anything. No touches, and it ends up rather harmlessly way out on the other wing. US knocking it around at the back as we edge into stoppage time. The wolf-whistling begins from the Soca crowd. 3 minutes of added tiempo!

90 mins + 1: T&T simply hoofing it forward at this point, and we're informed there will only be 2 mins added instead of 3. Does it really matter at this point? A midfield tussle results in a T&T free-kick, and that'll surely be one of the last actions of the match. US need to hurry forward with urgency, that is if they can get the ball back. Cuba's 2-1 win is final, and I don't think sub Chris Rolfe has touched the ball yet.

The game is down in the US end as they're unable to get ahead, and me thinks this is about done.

Yep, I was right.

Trinidad & Tobago 2, USA 1

Deserved result for the Warriors. Honestly, a US side with this many changes was never going to magically gel in 90 minutes, and for all the energy displayed by the US, it was the ancient Soca veterans who got the job done. First T&T win over the USA since 1994, and 3 valuable points in qualification.

Let the dancing continue well into tomorrow. 2-1 here, and I'm off to catch up on that debate.


JT said...

US lineup is correct.

As for T&T:
A. Edwards, Lawrence, Thomas, Spahn
Yorke, Birchall
Daniel, Latapy, C. Edwards

Hooray, another 4-5-1!

Precious Roy said...

I now want T&T to be the third team out of CONCACAF for that steel drum version of the Star Spangled Banner. Nicely done.

Lingering Bursitis said...

Yeah, I love that cultural touch on the anthems. Instead of just piping a lame recording or having some R&B starlet miming, they went all-out and did it right.


The Fan's Attic said...

Blatant whoring, but T&T reminds me of that great Peter Crouch hair pulling incident.

Lingering Bursitis said...

That free-kick was going wide, but Guzan couldn't have known where his back post was at that point. Good clearance

Precious Roy said...

Do the terrorists win if I pull for T&T? Anthem aside, I would really rather see them in the next round than Guatemala.

Lingering Bursitis said...

it was Birchall (of Coventry) with that long-range shot.

I am LOVING the music in the background.. wish I could isolate it and listen to that without Harkes/Dellacamera over the top.

And no P. Roy, that's not unpatriotic to root for Trinidad. Plus, T&T are arguably a much better team.

Lingering Bursitis said...

When will T&T take all this possession and actually move forward?

Lingering Bursitis said...

This game is awful thus far! Simply awful!

Autoglass said...

Excellent work, lads!

But, LB, this doesn't put T&T through, does it? They are now on 8 and Guatemala on 5. But a game still to play and Guatemala has a better GD. Am I wrong?

ü75 said...

Guatemala is +1, T&T is even on goal differential. A Guatemala win and T&T loss will put Guatemala through.

A pretty epic shit-the-bed performance tonight for Guatemala, though. USA will (hopefully) put Guatemala out, if only so they do not have to travel there again.

ü75 said...

Canada giving Mexico all they can handle. 2-2 approaching the 80th. Mexico could be in danger of not making it through, at this rate.

jjf3 said...

to Mike (Georger - I actually prefer calling you by your last name, which is weird. You can call me Ficarra if you prefer to do the same...)

I'm still miserable. But I'm an American kid who grew up in NY/NJ who's only exposure to football was knowing that the Cosmos were supposedly the best team in the world. I never played the game. The closest I ever came to the sport was when Shep Messing autographed photos in a small town near me in NJ. Then he did Playgirl, and that wasn't as cool as it was before...

The first time I actually watched football? The 1990 World Cup. I worked in a bar with a 19-yo Irish kid who could drink me under the table after I had just graduated from UT-Austin (drinking is the major there)

But I spent the next 12 years watching every WC, and, NO QUESTION, national contests truly do matter. But that is the equivalent of the "entry-level" drug that pot supposedly is...the moment I realized that EPL games looked a lot like WC games, I was hooked. Next came La Liga, Champs League, and Serie A, followed by UEFA and everything else...I'm an American kid who "adopted" Blackburn just on principle (no f'ing way I follow a big 4 club, just on principle), and I'm now a huge Dynamo fan as well. Now, I accept that I may be an exception, (probably am, actually), but give me announcers who know the fuck what they are talking about, and I'll figure it out on my own...the game is beautiful, it just needs TV to NOT pander to my stupidity - I learned the "no offside on a throwin" rule by seeing a goal scored after what seemed like an offside...I'm fine with my parent's were once they understood the deciding moment in an "offsides" call was the kick forward...I don't disagree that its an uphill battle, but what the sport has needed the most is "exposure". Once I could get the EPL on my TV, I was hooked...this is where MLS has to move in a hurry - it needs exposure, and it needs it now...Becks got attention, but now it needs to be on TV as often as possible...and any failure to do so will hurt the game...

Anyways, that's me...


jjf3 said...

oh, and nice T & T - two islands, both beautiful...