KENYA BROWN - Sunday, June 23, 2019
A second-half surge by the US Men's National Team saw them easily handle Trinidad and Tobago and return them to the top of the Group D with their win in Cleveland, Ohio, on Saturday.
This game at the FirstEnergy Stadium was certainly on the minds of every US player as it was over a year ago when the team fell flat on their face in failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup following their embarrassing 2-1 loss to the Soca Warriors in Couva, Trinidad. So for some, they saw this moment as a way to avenge that loss.
Head coach Gregg Berhalter decided to go with the same lineup that he previously selected in their 4-0 win over Guyana. However, showing that this team is a still a work in progress, some sloppy play early on let them down as T&T looked up for the challenge as they played well.
But it would be the United States who broke the scoreless deadlock in the 41st minute when Aaron Long was able to head the ball past goalkeeper Marvin Phillip following a low cross into the area from Christian Pulisic.
The US seemed to find their footing in the second half, and it paid off big time with a glut of goals to leave their opponents stunned.
Gyasi Zardes made it 2-0 to the Americans in the 66th minute when he tapped in the ball from close-range after Nick Lima headed the ball in his path. And the forward would not be finished as he scored his second of the game three minutes later as he curled his shot around Phillip. Zardes came close to sealing his hat-trick a couple of minutes later, but a shot that crashed off the frame of the goal and a save from Phillip prevented him from scoring any further.
The Americans made it 4-0 in the 73rd minute as Jordan Morris set up Pulisic to bury the ball in the back of the net.
Paul Arriola got in on the scoring in the 78th minute when he found himself in the right place to tap in a low cross from Morris.
Long would go to add a second goal to his tally in the 90th minute when he was able to pounce on the loose ball after a save from Phillip and chest it into the open net.
The win puts the US back on top of Group D with six points, well ahead of Panama on goal difference.
Those two teams will battle it out in the final group game on June 26 at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas to see who will finish at the top.