With their backs against the wall and a very real possibility of missing out on the World Cup for the first time since 1986, the USMNT came out guns blazing and gave one of their best performances (if not the best performance) so far this qualifying campaign. Christian Pulisic scored in the first ten minutes and from there the rout was on as the US ran out 4-0 winners (and quite frankly the US could have really named their number on the night). The job is not done yet however. There is still one qualifier left to play and a poor result could lead to disaster, depending on evens elsewhere in CONCACAF. The opponent for this final crucial qualifier? Trinidad & Tobago.
From the opening whistle the US completely dominated the game. Christian Pulisic was everywhere in the first half, scoring the opening goal, almost getting a second and then assisting on Jozy Altidore’s first goal. Altidore was solid on the night as well. After messing up a great chance in the very early going he ruthlessly finished the cross from Pulisic and the paneka penalty he scored was a thing of beauty. Bobby Wood was fantastic as well, drawing the penalty that Altidore converted, getting the fourth and final US goal and nearly scoring one or two other times. Defensively Tim Howard did as well as could be expected in goal making a few smart saves. DeAndre Yedlin was solid as well and the center back pairing of Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler held up decently against a mostly toothless Panamanian attack.
For Trinidad & Tobago the road to Russia 2018 has already come to an end. When this round of qualifiers started they would not have been able to qualify automatically but could still have mathematically managed to finish in 4th place and earn the home and home playoff against either Australia or Syria. Then came a trip to Mexico and the Socca Warrior managed to grab a 1-0 with 20 minutes to play. And then it all came crashing down as Mexico scored three goals in the final 12 minutes of the game to officially eliminate them from World Cup contention. So the wait for the return for the World Cup goes on (their last appearance was in 2006) but they still have to finish out the cycle. Their roster for this round of qualifying feature a few players who ply their trade Stateside: goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsngh of Louisville City, defender Kevin George of the Jacksonville Armada, defender Mekeil Williams of the Colorado Rapids, defender Kareem Moses of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, midfielder Joevin Jones of the Seattle Sounders, midfielder Kevin Molino of Minnesota United and forward Trevin Caesar of the Sacramento Republic.