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Trinidad and Tobago 2–1 United States (2018 FIFA World Cup qualification)

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Trinidad and Tobago v United States (2017)
TnT Ato Boldon Stadium.jpg
Ato Boldon Stadium hosted the match
Event2018 FIFA World Cup qualification – CONCACAF Fifth Round
Panama qualifies for the 2018 FIFA World Cup
Honduras advances to the CONCACAF–AFC inter-confederation play-off
United States fails to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986
DateOctober 10, 2017
VenueAto Boldon Stadium, Couva
RefereeMarlon Mejia (El Salvador)

Trinidad and Tobago v United States (2017) was a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification match played on October 10, 2017 in Couva, Trinidad and Tobago. This match resulted in the United States missing their first World Cup since 1986, as well as Trinidad and Tobago's first win over the United States since 2008, and only their third win against them in international football.[1]


Following consecutive losses to Mexico and Costa Rica in the opening games of the final round of qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Jürgen Klinsmann was fired from the United States men's national team job and replaced by former USMNT manager Bruce Arena.[2] On his 3rd game back in charge, Arena coached the US to a 6–0 victory over Honduras,[3] and 4 days later, got a 1–1 draw with Panama at Panama City.[4] Three months after that, they beat Trinidad and Tobago 2–0 in Commerce City, Colorado, with both goals coming from Christian Pulisic, giving the United States a total of 7 points in the qualification group standings.[5] After earning only 2 points from their next three games,[6] the United States would host Panama and get a 4–0 victory[7] before traveling to Trinidad and Tobago for the game.

With a win, the United States would guarantee automatic qualification to the World Cup, and a draw would do unless Panama defeated Costa Rica by an 8-goal difference and Honduras beat Mexico by 13 goals. Trinidad and Tobago were already eliminated, and had almost nothing to play for, besides revenge for Paul Caligiuri's infamous goal in 1989, which allowed the Red, White, and Blue to qualify in Trinidad's place.[8] This as well with a Mexican or Costa Rican victory over Honduras or Panama respectively, would as well send the United States team to Russia.[9]

Before the match, the CONCACAF Fifth Round table was as follows:

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Mexico (Q) 9 6 3 0 14 5 +9 21 Qualification to 2018 FIFA World Cup
2  Costa Rica (Q) 9 4 4 1 13 6 +7 16
3  United States 9 3 3 3 16 11 +5 12
4  Panama 9 2 4 3 7 9 −2 10 Advance to inter-confederation play-offs
5  Honduras 9 2 4 3 10 17 −7 10
6  Trinidad and Tobago (E) 9 1 0 8 5 18 −13 3
Source: CBS Sports
Rules for classification: Qualification tiebreakers
(E) Eliminated; (Q) Qualified to the phase indicated.


The match was played at the smaller Ato Boldon Stadium, instead of Hasely Crawford Stadium due to the stadium's issues with its floodlights.[10]




Trinidad and Tobago 2–1 United States
Report Goal 47' Pulisic
Attendance: 1,500
Referee: Marlon Mejia (El Salvador)
Trinidad and Tobago
United States
GK 22 Adrian Foncette
DF 17 Alvin Jones
DF 5 Daneil Cyrus
DF 13 Curtis Gonzales
DF 18 Tristan Hodge Yellow card 68' Substituted off 82'
MF 7 Nathan Lewis
MF 23 Leston Paul
MF 19 Kevan George
MF 8 Khaleem Hyland (c)
MF 16 Levi Garcia Substituted off 72'
FW 9 Shahdon Winchester Substituted off 78'
GK 1 Glenroy Samuel
GK 21 Greg Ranjitsingh
DF 2 Kareem Moses
DF 4 Kevon Villaroel Substituted in 82'
DF 6 Josiah Trimmingham
MF 3 Joevin Jones Yellow card 90+3' Substituted in 72'
MF 15 Jared London
MF 10 Duane Muckette
FW 20 Trevin Caesar Substituted in 78'
FW 11 Neil Benjamin
FW 12 Kathon St. Hillaire
FW 14 Akeem Roach
Dennis Lawrence
GK 1 Tim Howard
DF 2 DeAndre Yedlin
DF 3 Omar Gonzalez Yellow card 90+1'
DF 5 Matt Besler Yellow card 90+5'
DF 15 Jorge Villafaña Substituted off 72'
MF 4 Michael Bradley (c)
MF 21 Paul Arriola Substituted off 46'
MF 6 Darlington Nagbe Substituted off 84'
MF 10 Christian Pulisic
FW 17 Jozy Altidore
FW 9 Bobby Wood
GK 22 Nick Rimando
GK 12 Brad Guzan
DF 7 DaMarcus Beasley
DF 19 Graham Zusi
DF 14 Tim Ream
DF 23 Kellyn Acosta Substituted in 72'
MF 8 Clint Dempsey Substituted in 46'
MF 16 Benny Feilhaber Substituted in 84'
MF 13 Dax McCarty
MF 11 Alejandro Bedoya
FW 18 Chris Wondolowski
FW 20 Geoff Cameron
Bruce Arena

Match rules

  • 90 minutes.
  • Maximum of three substitutions.



Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Mexico 10 6 3 1 16 7 +9 21 Qualification to 2018 FIFA World Cup
2  Costa Rica 10 4 4 2 14 8 +6 16
3  Panama 10 3 4 3 9 10 −1 13
4  Honduras 10 3 4 3 13 19 −6 13 Advance to inter-confederation play-offs
5  United States 10 3 3 4 17 13 +4 12
6  Trinidad and Tobago 10 2 0 8 7 19 −12 6
Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Qualification tiebreakers

To the surprise of many, both Central American minnows, Panama and Honduras each pulled an upset against Costa Rica and Mexico, respectively. Panamanian forward, Blas Pérez, scored a controversial "ghost goal" in the 53rd minute, to equalize the score 1–1, before Román Torres scored the winning goal in the 88th minute.[11][12] Honduras also pulled a comeback in their win against Mexico, as El Tri had a 2–1 lead at half-time before Eddie Hernández's shot bounced off of the crossbar and hit the back of Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa's head and went into the net, which put the score at 2–2. Seven minutes later, Romell Quioto scored the winning goal for Honduras, and ended Mexico's chances of going unbeaten throughout the qualifying rounds.[13] Because of the United States' loss and their win, Panama would automatically qualify for the group stage of the 2018 competition, while Honduras was given a final chance to qualify for the tournament in Russia during the CONCACAF–AFC play-off matches against Australia.[14]



The result and failure for the U.S. to qualify made national and international news overnight. ESPN FC hosted a segment on the game and openly criticized the "arrogance" that the United States team had. Alejandro Moreno criticized the players commitment and passion for this game.[citation needed] Shaka Hislop, a former goalkeeper who represented Trinidad and Tobago in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, blamed the U.S. media for asking Arena about the performance of European players and other unrelated questions of the match the day before. Hislop also criticized the United States team for their criticism of the field conditions, including a now-deleted tweet.[citation needed]

Taylor Twellman went on an unscripted rant on ESPN in which he highlighted the lack of focus on the match at hand, claiming other players and broadcasters asked for the other scoreline from the other matches in qualifying. Twellman stated the United States needs to revise everything about the United States Soccer Federation including Major League Soccer, the "pay to play" system of U.S. youth soccer, and other aspects of the federation. He cited efforts by the German Football Association as an example of a nation that had successfully changed its culture after the national team's failure in Euro 2000. Twellman further added similar dissatisfaction with the pitch criticism, citing Bosnia and Herzegovina and Belgium playing against each other on what he termed a "cow pasture". Twellman finally stated that the nation of Iceland, "a nation with the population of Corpus Christi, Texas, figured it out."[citation needed]

United States National Team[edit]

Bruce Arena resigned as the manager of the team shortly after the match. Omar Gonzalez, in a post-match press conference stated his own goal "is one that will haunt me forever." [15]

See also[edit]


  1. "Trinidad and Tobago national football team: List of matches". World Football Elo Ratings. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  2. "Jurgen Klinsmann fired as U.S. soccer coach; Bruce Arena could get job". NBC Sports. November 21, 2016.
  3. Dowley, Conor (March 25, 2017). "USA vs. Honduras: Final score 6-0, Clint Dempsey and Christian Pulisic dominate". SB Nation.
  4. Parker, Graham (March 29, 2017). "Panama 1-1 USA: World Cup qualifying – as it happened". The Guardian.
  5. Goff, Steven (June 8, 2017). "Christian Pulisic scores twice to lead U.S. to 2-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago". The Washington Post.
  6. McCauley, Kim (September 5, 2017). "USMNT steals critical 1-1 draw in Honduras thanks to Bobby Wood". SB Nation.
  7. Baxter, Kevin (October 6, 2017). "Christian Pulisic leads 4-0 U.S. rout of Panama in key World Cup qualifier". Los Angeles Times.
  8. French, Scott (November 19, 2014). "The Shot Heard 'Round the World: 25 years later, Paul Caligiuri recalls goal that changed US soccer forever". Major League Soccer.
  9. Goff, Steven (October 9, 2017). "A solid result vs. Trinidad separates U.S. from a World Cup berth. That, and a moat". The Washington Post.
  10. "U.S.'s World Cup qualifier in Trinidad set for 10,000-seat stadium". ESPN. 15 September 2017.
  11. "Phantom goal helps Panama beat Costa Rica, qualify for WC over U.S." ESPN. 10 October 2017.
  12. "World Cup 2018: Panama declares public holiday after qualifying". BBC. October 11, 2017.
  13. Marshall, Tom (10 October 2017). "Mexico falls to Honduras, fails to do U.S. favor in World Cup qualifying". ESPN.
  14. Nathan, Alec (October 10, 2017). "Honduras Defeats Mexico to Qualify for 2018 World Cup Playoff vs. Australia". Bleacher Report.
  15. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/10/sports/soccer/usmnt-trinidad-world-cup.html

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