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USA vs. Trinidad and Tobago preview: USMNT faces first tough Gold Cup test

The USMNT got their Gold Cup title defense off to a decent enough start, as they eased past Guyana by a final score of 4-0. However, the sentiment among the majority of the fans (and surprisingly a majority of the media) is that it could have and should have been a much bigger margin of victory. Guyana is ranked 177th in the world and is playing in their first ever Gold Cup, and yet they came out and did not look overmatched against the US and even had a decent chance or two. While the US will certainly take a four goal win and a clean sheet after the dismal losses to Jamaica and Venezuela, it needs to be better if the US wants to win the tournament and win back the fans. Their next opportunity to impress comes against the very team that kept them out of the 2018 World Cup: Trinidad & Tobago.

The brightest spot on the night for the US was Tyler Boyd, who netted two goals on his USMNT debut. Boyd currently plies his trade in the Turkish league and wouldn’t have even been invited to camp had several members of the US coaching staff not happened across a highlight reel of his on YouTube. Outside of that Paul Arriola was solid on the night as he opened the scoring in the first half with a pretty strike. Gyasi Zardes continued his trend of missing the easiest chances and then scoring in some bizarre way (this time off his face). Michael Bradley was his usual poor passing self, though the one pass he did manage hit on target led to Boyd’s first goal (which in turn led to many waxing poetic about how good Bradley is, was, and always will be). A slight measure of concern did pop up in the second half as Weston McKennie limped off injured with what looked like a possible hamstring injury, though Gregg Berhalter said post-game that it was just a little bit of cramping. All in all, not a bad night for the US though there is plenty of room for improvement as they get set to take on Trinidad & Tobago.

When the groups for this Gold Cup were announced, much was made of this matchup between the US and Trinidad & Tobago. And rightfully so. After all, it was the loss down in Couva that caused the US to miss the World Cup in Russia (ok, it was the last in a string of issues that caused the US to miss the World Cup). However, their form of late has been quite dismal. The Socca Warriors are winless in their last six and have lost four of those six. In fact, they have not won against since September when they beat the UAE 2-0 in Spain. Their roster features several players who play for clubs in the US, though only three of the 23 play in MLS: Joevin Jones of the Seattle Sounders, Kevin Molino of Minnesota United, and Greg Ranjitsingh of Orlando City. They do feature a number of USL players, including the Memphis 901 FC duo of Duane Muckette and Leston Paul (whose club team will be playing an exhibition in Memphis against Pachuca from Mexico at the exact same time as this game), as well as a trio rom the Oklahoma City Energy: Cordell Cato, Alvin Jones, and Mekeil Williams. A third Memphis 901 FC player, Triston Hodge, was named to their preliminary roster but is out for the season with an ACL injury. One thing that could be a problem for this T&T side is goal scoring. Of the 23 players, only Kevin Molino has reached double digit goals (he has 19). The next closest is Lester Peltier with 6.

Notes:

1. The is the first meeting between the US and Trinidad & Tobago at the Gold Cup since 2007, when the US won 2-0 on goals from Brian Ching and Eddie Johnson.

2. This is the second straight Gold Cup for the US to play a game in Cleveland. IN 2017 they beat Nicaragua 3-0 on goals from Joe Corona, Kellyn Rowe, and Matt Miazga.

3. The Group D standings are as follows: USA (3 pts, +4 GD), Panama (3 pts, +2 GD), Trinidad & Tobago (0 pts, -2 GD), Guyana (0 pts, -4 GD)

When and where to find the game on US TV and streaming

Saturday June 22, 2019
First Energy Stadium
Cleveland, Ohio
8:00pm ET
Live on FS1, Univision, Univision Deportes Network, Sling Blue, PlayStation Vue, Hulu Live and fuboTV (free trial)

All-Time Series

USA leads 18-3-4

Last Meeting

Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Ato Bolton Stadium
Couva, Trinidad & Tobago
Trinidad & Tobago 2-1 USA

Current FIFA Ranking

USA: 30
Trinidad & Tobago: 92

Next Game

Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Gold Cup
USA vs. Panama
Children’s Mercy Park
Kansas City, Kansas
8:30pm ET
FS1, UniMas

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