A horrid start to the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign for the United States led to the firing of Jurgen Klinsmann and hiring of Bruce Arena, who led the U.S. men to their best-ever World Cup finish in 2002. A 6-0 win over Honduras in San Jose and a 1-1 draw with Panama in hostile Panama City have moved the Yanks into fourth, just one point behind Panama and three points behind Costa Rica.
This week will be crucial for the team as it takes on Trinidad and Tobago, who sit at the bottom of the Hex, in Colorado tonight, and Mexico in Mexico City on Sunday night. Given that the United States has never won a qualifier in Mexico and only gained two points ever in qualifiers at Estadio Azteca, tonight’s clash holds even more importance.
The last time the United States played a World Cup qualifier at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park was on March 22, 2013 in the famous SnowClasico against Costa Rica. The snow-covered field caused problems for both teams but the U.S. came away with a 1-0 win. There will no such event happening tonight as the weather appears to be clear with temperatures in the mid to low 70s.
The big injury note for the United States involves center back John Brooks. The German-born defender was a key for Hertha Berlin this season, which led to him being sold to Wolfsburg for a reported €20 million, a record for an American transfer. However, he suffered a bruised quadriceps in his right leg early in the second half against Venezuela last week, which forced his departure from the game. He has trained with the team since the injury but remains questionable for tonight’s game.
Clint Dempsey will be looking to make history during these two games and it could come in Colorado tonight. After scoring the only U.S. goal in Panama, Dempsey now sits at 56 career goals for the U.S., just one shy of Landon Donovan.
Also of note, the U.S. currently has four players on caution watch, meaning one more yellow card and they will serve a one-game suspension. Those players are Jozy Altidore, Matt Besler, Michael Bradley, John Brooks, and Geoff Cameron.
From an Orlando City point of view, Trinidad and Tobago’s roster will include former Lion Kevin Molino. Despite a controversial dismissal from the team in October, Molino is back on the roster for the country’s upcoming qualifiers. Molino joined the Lions for their inaugural season in 2011 but asked for a move after last season. He wound up with former Orlando City coach Adrian Heath in Minnesota.
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Atlanta United), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake).
Defenders: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Wolfsburg), DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Tim Ream (Fulham), Jorge Villafana (Santos Laguna), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City).
Midifelders: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund).
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Bobby Wood (Hamburg).
Trinidad and Tobago
Goalkeepers: Jan Michael Williams (Juticalpa), Marvin Phillip (Morvant Caledonia United), Adrian Foncette (Police).
Defenders: Radanfah Abu Bakr (Suduva Marijampole), Sheldon Bateau (Krylia Sovetov Samara), Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Daneil Cyrus (W Connection), Mekeil Williams (Colorado Rapids), Triston Hodge (W Connection), Alvin Jones (W Connection), Carlos Edwards (Ma Pau Stars), Aubrey David (PS Kemi).
Midfielders: Hashim Arcia (Defence Force), Andre Boucaud (Dagenham & Redbridge), Kevan George (Jacksonville Armada), Hughtun Hector (W Connection), Khaleem Hyland (Westerlo), Joevin Jones (Seattle Sounders), Nathan Lewis (San Juan Jabloteh), Kevin Molino (Minnesota United), Leston Paul (Central).
Forwards: Shahdon Winchester (Murcielagos), Jamille Boatswain (Defence Force), Kenwyne Jones (Atlanta United).
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:50 p.m. ET.
Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park — Commerce City, Colorado.
TV: FOX Sports 1, UniMas, UDN.
Streaming: NBC Universo NOW, fuboTV, FOX Sports Go.
Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow along at @ussoccer and @TheManeLand. Also, be sure to follow @StarsAndStripesFC.
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