Commentary

Trinidad & Tobago-USA World Cup Qualifying Player Ratings

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO-USA EXPRESS
Oct. 10 in Couva, Trinidad
Trinidad & Tobago 2 USA 1
Goals: own goal (O.Gonzalez) 17, A.Jones 37; Pulisic 47.

The USA will miss the 2018 World Cup after 2-1 loss to Trinidad & Tobago, which had a fortuitous start thanks to Omar Gonzalez’s 17th-minute own goal. But the failure was a team effort.

USA Player Ratings:
Starters
Player (Club) GP/G
4 Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids) 121/0
Beaten from a mile out by Alvin Jones’ shot for the 2-0.

4 DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United) 48/0
Set up first U.S. shot, a high miss by Jozy Altidore in 7th minute, but that was a rare offensive contribution from the right back. Blocked three-yard shot by Levi Garcia in 48th minute.

4 Matt Besler (Sporting KC) 47/1
Like central defensive partner Omar Gonzalez, committed a yellow-card foul in stoppage time that ran valuable seconds of the clock during comeback attempt.

2 Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX) 48/3.
Gifted T&T the lead with own goal from 13 yards out and was lucky not to be called for penalty kick for sloppy slide-tackle on Curtis Gonzales a minute later. Headed high a last-minute corner kick.

4 Jorge Villafana (Santos Laguna/MEX) 14/0
Left back kept Nathan Lewis from dribbling past him but on the first goal made meager effort to block the cross that Gonzalez shanked over Tim Howard. More lively in attack in second half

3 Paul Arriola (D.C. United) 15/2.
Right midfielder helped create only a couple of forays before being replaced by Clint Dempsey at halftime.

3 Michael Bradley (Toronto FC) 140/17.
First-half ineffectiveness demonstrated when he under-hit his cross after a short corner kick. Did better in the second half to create some midfield cohesion, but the captain failed to lead his team to the World Cup.

6 Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER) 20/9.
Saw too little of the ball and had some poor touches before his 21-yard rocket made it 2-1 early in the second half. Delivered the cross the cross for Bobby Wood’s header in the 88th minute.

5 Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers) 24/1.
Big assist on first U.S. goal when he settled a high cross-field pass, jumped back to his feet after knocked down, and served Pulisic. Won corner kick in 81st after storming into goal area while shirt-tugged tugged by Leston Paul.

4 Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER) 36/10.
Not a good sign when a forward commits more fouls (3) than suffered (1). Wood lost one-on-ones. His 88th minute header flew within reach of keeper Adrian Foncette.

3 Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC) 110/41
Shot high in the seventh minute. Made weak effort in air battle for 40th minute corner kick, headed high in the 54th minute, and in the 84th minute hit the ball weakly twice during a goalmouth scramble.

Substitutes
5 Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders) 141/57
Halftime sub forced good save from keeper Foncette in 69th minute and hit the post from 24 yards in 77th minute.

4 Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas) 16/1
Nagbe’s 72nd minute replacement blocked a Hhaleem Hyland shot in the 82nd minute. Hit a nice chipped pass to spark a 86th minute counterattack. But didn't make the difference expected from a late sub.

nr Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City) 44/2
The 84th minute sub committed a dumb foul in the 89th minute when the USA needed keep the ball in play.

(Ratings: 1=low; 5=middle; 10=high.)

TRIVIA: Before this failure, the USA had been one of only seven teams to qualify for every World Cup since 1990. The others being: Brazil, Germany, Italy (which faces a playoff for for the 2018 World Cup), Argentina, Spain and South Korea.

Oct. 10 in Couva, Trinidad
Trinidad & Tobago 2 USA 1
Goals: own goal (O.Gonzalez) 17, A.Jones 37; Pulisic 47
Trinidad & Tobago — Foncette, Hodge (Villaroel, 82), Gonzales, Cyrus, A.Jones, George, Hyland, Lewis, Paul, Garcia (J.Jones, 72), Winchester.
USA — Howard, Yedlin, Besler, Gonzalez, Villafana (Acosta, 72), Arriola, Bradley, Pulisic, Nagbe (Feilhaber, 84), Wood, Altidore.
Yellow cards: T&T — Hodge 68, J.Jones 93+. USA — O.Gonzalez 91+, Besler 95+.
Referee: Marlon Mejía Carrillos (El Salvador).

32 comments about "Trinidad & Tobago-USA World Cup Qualifying Player Ratings".
  1. Eric Dibella, October 11, 2017 at 12:36 a.m.

    I do not even know what to say except that I feel really bad for Pulisic.  

  2. ROBERT BOND replied, October 11, 2017 at 9:33 a.m.

    can't he still play for Croatia?

  3. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, October 11, 2017 at 11:29 a.m.

    No he's cap-tied.  Also, he's American.

  4. Scott Johnson replied, October 11, 2017 at 4:57 p.m.

    He has a Croatian passport, so COULD play for Croatia if he weren't cap-tied.

  5. Aaron Apruzzese replied, October 15, 2017 at 11:58 p.m.

    Bond - once a player participates for one country's senior national team, they cannot play for any other country.

  6. R2 Dad, October 11, 2017 at 12:48 a.m.

    I think there should be a very high barrier to re-entry for those culpable for this disaster. The players, who should not take for granted coming to the next few camps; the coach(es), who didn't prepare our players; US Soccer/MLS, who have done a great job strengthening our rivals via MLS employment (at the expense of our own youth players who are correctly aiming for development in Germany). Time for a rethink and our own 10 year plan from the new head of US Soccer.

  7. William Freedon replied, October 11, 2017 at 9:26 a.m.

    Amen.

  8. Aaron Apruzzese replied, October 16, 2017 at 12:03 a.m.

    Let's begin at the top with Gulati who began this milaise with poor coaching hirings, promoting pay to play, and building a solid soccer mafia in this country that was not prevalent prior to his tenure.

  9. Aldo Baietti, October 11, 2017 at 12:52 a.m.

    Absolutely awful! The team came out as if they already had clinched the spot and did not show for the entire first half. Then inevitably, everything that could go wrong actually did go wrong. Watching, you could almost feel that most of the players got shellshocked like italy after their world cup win when they were eliminated in the first round in the following cup. Dempsey tried hard to get his teamates to clear their heads and focus, but it wasen't to be.  That's just how soccer is.  Unfortunately we are out, but this game should remain as constant reminder to ensure that players put in all their best efforts forward from the first minute onto the field. 

  10. charles davenport replied, October 11, 2017 at 8:19 a.m.

    Amen, Aldo

  11. Mark Grody, October 11, 2017 at 12:55 a.m.

    Started with just not caring about the late corner against Mexico... wierd own goal ... non-goal in Panama game ... lack of consistency ... reaccuring apathy ... bummed to not see CP in the WC ... 

  12. Eric Dibella, October 11, 2017 at 1:15 a.m.

    I cannot understand how you can play so nonchalant with qualification on the line.  It reminded me of the 2006 WC game against the Czech Rep when we down a goal in the 5th minute, we still had this pass it around the back and not really do anything to put any pressure on the opponent and ultimately lose 3-0.  I could not believe I was watching a team on the verge of qualifying come out so flat in the first 45 minutes - wasted opportunities by not using the time.  Where was the killer instinct, urgency, fire, passion???

  13. Ben Myers, October 11, 2017 at 1:24 a.m.

    It is time for some honest soul-searching within USSF about what it takes to select (at a young age) and develop elite world class players.  Too long, Gulati, Garber & Co have been tone deaf to the USMNT, ignoring the obvious issues, chasing dollars above all else.  It all starts with improving the hodge-podge here in the US today.  What other country has the incoherent and competing mess of youth club teams (ranging from modest fees to serious pay-to-play $$), academy teams, middle and secondary school teams, college teams, MLS, various amateur men's leagues, PDL, USL, NASL and MLS?  Did I leave some other ones out?

    Klinsmann proved not to be the answer and Arena certainly wasn't either.  Except for the obvious very good players (Pulisic, Wood, Yedlin), Arena seemed like he wanted to undo the Klinsmann's reliance on players developed in other countries. The USMNT players, who accomplished what they could, are mostly a product of our flawed system.  The exceptions are those who somehow avail themselves of opportunities to play and develop in other countries.

    Arena will likely resign his post shortly.  One hopes that someone else replaces Gulati.

  14. Charles Stamos, October 11, 2017 at 1:31 a.m.

     Congrats to Paanama and Honduras (

  15. Charles Stamos replied, October 11, 2017 at 1:35 a.m.

    (andT&T) for playing to win and not just showing up. For the USA, a crappy showing...no 90+ minute Caliguri heroics...can't blame this one on the referee or anyone else...time for US team to take a break and watch the WC on TV...sigh...

  16. Eric Dibella, October 11, 2017 at 1:39 a.m.

    When you get a chance, take a look at Panama's first goal.  

  17. Bob Ashpole, October 11, 2017 at 2:09 a.m.

    The entire night was a nightmare for the USA. While some played better worse than others, it is a team sport. Win as a team, lose as a team. 

    I spent 95 minutes wincing. I suspect Arena did too.

  18. Rusty Welch, October 11, 2017 at 2:10 a.m.

    How in the world does any coach, at any level, take your best player, and instead of putting him in position to have the ball most often, put him where he will see it the least in a must-win game to go to the world cup? I am dumbfounded. 

  19. Ric Fonseca, October 11, 2017 at 2:38 a.m.

    UNBLODDY-EFFING-BELIEVEABLE!!! 

  20. Gus Keri, October 11, 2017 at 4:43 a.m.

    It all comes down to attitude. It doesn't matter if people say the right things. what matters is to approach things with the right attitude. US players and coach kept saying they will not take T&T lightly but actually, they underestimate them. They approach the game with cockiness and snobbishness that by just walking onto the field, they will prevail. Guess what, Destiny punishes those snobs very hard. Many stars of the USMNT think getting paid millions of dollars in MLS makes them better than the hard working and less paid players of this region. Cockiness at its best.

  21. Mario Cesarone, October 11, 2017 at 8:59 a.m.

    I am and have been a supporter of Bruce Arena whom I believe to be the best coach we have ever had but on this one he screwed up.  From a pre game interview he said their approach was going to be to remain cautious and be deliberate.  Which the players took to heart and played defensively and cautious.  This was reflected by the sleep walking throughout the game.  If anyone has the statestics, please tell me that we did not lose 90% of the 50-50 balls. Shameful, we need to win or lose based on an attack minded team not a bunch of cowering, slow, back passing players. 

  22. Fanfor soccer replied, October 11, 2017 at 3:58 p.m.

    In order to score you have to attack the goal.  It has to be a team effort.  Pulisic is the only consistent attack we have.  Pretty said situation for a country of this size.  

  23. Aaron Apruzzese replied, October 16, 2017 at 12:05 a.m.

    Tony DiCicco is the best coach we ever had

  24. William Freedon, October 11, 2017 at 9:40 a.m.

    Poor coaching led to a poorly chosen team with a terrible result.  Arena is no one's idea of a savior, except maybe his own and Sunil Gulati. Both have to go, and never be associated with US Soccer in any official capacity again. It's a leaderless team, with everyone apparently expecting "Wonderboy," Pulisic, to bail them out. Sorry, but that's too much to put on a beat up 19 year-old, no matter how talented he is.  As others have stated, the creation of MLS has raised the level of soccer in the rest of CONCACAF more than it has in the US. The easy minting of local "millionaires" like Dempsey, Bradley and Altidore has robbed them of the competitive edge they had honed in Europe. Much of the rest of the team was little more than MLS "filler," (Villafan, Gonzalez, Besler, Arriola, Wondow, et al.) included because of their familiarity with the smug coach, Arena. All in all, a disastrous, but well deserved result. On the bright side, this should hopefully provide the impetus for whoesale change, and subsequent progress, in US soccer. If we are ever to become a truly world class soccer power, the path starts here and now.

  25. j bapper, October 11, 2017 at 9:42 a.m.

    The reality is the team really isn't very talented. Bradley is too slow and makes bad passes every game. Altidore is a joke. Omar Gonzales is the worst CB in US history, Besler is not much better. Villafana.. is this really the best left back we can put on the field? And Arena left Fabian in Germany for him? Arriola... horrible. Howard has no quickness anymore and Guzan isn't any better. These players should never put on the US shirt again and you can add Wondoloski, Bedoya, Zusi, Beasley to the list. US Soccer needs a housecleaning, starting with Gulati stepping down. Build the team around Pulisic, Wood, Acosta, Yedlin, Brooks and Horvath and the good young players in Europe. MLS is a joke... this is not where young players are going to develop. We need to evaluate our youth development academies because we aren't producing enough good players from them, so something is wrong. Our players still don't have the technical skills of South American or European players and we certainly don't have the athleticism anymore. It sucks that we are out of WC 2018 but like I said, we don't have the talent to compete anymore... we need change. 

  26. ROBERT BOND replied, October 11, 2017 at 10:29 a.m.

    too many coneheads, small drills, not enough open full field passing with opposition, set piece practice-more scrimmages-dump the computer stuff......

  27. Scott Johnson replied, October 11, 2017 at 5:04 p.m.

    I'll push back a bit.  Our youth academies are starting to produce good players.  Most of them are too young for the WC (and one could argue that playing a 19-year-old Pulisic at this level is a move of desparation), though.  But a lot of the players you mention did come up through the US system, even if they moved overseas to play professionally.  And your list includes the Josh Sargeants of the world, who are still playing with youth teams.

    In general, you can't blame this debacle on the current youth program; most of the players predate it.  You can blame the youth system, I suppose, for the gap in talent that has killed us this cycle.

  28. I w Nowozeniuk, October 11, 2017 at 12:22 p.m.

    The ratings speak highly of the calamity...time to totally reinvent the squad based on ability/efficacy first, and work on the potential of players that have it.

  29. Bob Ashpole, October 11, 2017 at 1:15 p.m.

    The US lost. Soccer is just a game, not world peace. Get over it. I am. 

  30. Fanfor soccer, October 11, 2017 at 5:25 p.m.

    Bob i believe it was far more than losing a soccer game.  That we get over when the last whistle blows.  We lost many things the one most important is our credibility the second is respect.  For people who know and appreciate the game know that this team as a team came on the field lacking determination and commitment in getting the job done.  There are no excuses for an empty head.  Soccer head that is.  A mess!

  31. Bob Ashpole replied, October 11, 2017 at 11:37 p.m.

    Soccer is simple (although simple is not the same as easy). Scoring more goals than the opponent is what counts. Opponents don't need to respect us. Respect and credibility don't win matches. In fact, not respecting us is an advantage.

  32. Nick Prodanovich, October 11, 2017 at 7:14 p.m.

    Heads need to roll. Gulati out, Arena out, Virtually all the players over age 24 out. Frankly, if I see any of the older so-called leaders trot out in a US shirt I will not support there being on the field.

    But this has been building for a while.  Klinsmann did NOTHING for to the US program.  I would argue that he took the US program backward.  People forget the US failed to qualify for 2 consecutive Olympics and there is a dearth of players in the 24 to 28 age group.  They are just not there.

    MLS needs to evaluate how they are working with the US national team.  Perhaps we need to think about how many foreign players are in the league.  It should not be lost on anyone that the players powering their respective CONCACAF team are current or former MLS players. 

    Finally, the youth programs must be changed to enable the best players to progress without Pay to Play programs and the Federation must have sufficient scouts to spot and ensure these elite players are guided into the National team programs.

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