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U.S. vs. Trinidad and Tobago: Scouting T&T

The U.S. looks to secure World Cup qualification as it takes on a struggling Trinidad side.

Soccer: FIFA World Cup Qulifier-Trinidad & Tobago at USA Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The United States Men’s National team will look to secure a spot in the 2018 FIFA World Cup as it takes on Trinidad and Tobago. The U.S. is guaranteed to qualify with a win and would likely advance with a draw.

Trinidad and Tobago has already been eliminated from World Cup qualification and will be looking for just its second win in the Hex.

The Soca Warriors come into the match in awful form. They are winless in their last five, which includes a 3-1 loss to Mexico on Friday.

T&T should have a strong home advantage as it moved the game from it’s typical home ground to the 10,000 seat Ato Bolden Stadium. As of Monday, the Ato Bolden was flooded and the game may have be moved to a later date.


Goalkeepers (3): Adrian Foncette (Police FC), Greg Ranjitsingh (Louisville City FC/USA), Glenroy Samuel (Morvant Caledonia United)

Defenders (8): Daneil Cyrus (Juticalpa/HON), Kevan George (Jacksonville Armada/USA), Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Triston Hodge (DirecTV W Connection), Alvin Jones (DirecTV W Connection), Josiah Trimmingham (Club Sando), Kevon Villaroel (North East Stars), Mekeil Williams (Colorado Rapids/USA)

Midfielders (9): Neil Benjamin Jr. (W Connection), Levi Garcia (AZ Alkmaar/NED), Khaleem Hyland (Al-Faisaly Harmah/KSA), Joevin Jones (Seattle Sounders/USA), Jared London (Club Sando), Kevin Molino (Minnesota United/USA), Nathan Lewis (San Juan Jabloteh), Leston Paul (Pasaquina FC/SLV), Kathon St. Hillaire (St. Ann's Rangers);

Forwards (3): Trevin Caesar (Sacramento Republic/USA), Akeem Roach (Vida/HON), Shahdon Winchester (Murcielagos/MEX)

Head coach Dennis Lawrence will employ a defensive gameplan and likely use a 4-5-1. It’s difficult to predict what his starting XI will look like, as this game is meaningless for Trinidad.

Lawrence called in a rather inexperienced roster and will be without star attacker Kevin Molino, who is suspended due to yellow card accumulation.

Projected Lineup:

Adrian Foncette will likely start in goal. Foncette is a solid keeper who does a good job controlling the eighteen. His main weakness is that he is slow when diving.

The Trinidad defense is very weak and won’t make Foncette’s task any easier.

Look for Daneil Cyrus to lead the defense at either centerback or rightback. Cyrus has MLS experience playing for Chicago and Sporting Kansas City.

He stands an imposing 6’4’’ and unsurprisingly dominates in the air. Cyrus is also a good tackler, but frequently dives in when defending 1 v. 1.

Curtis Gonzales is expected to start at centerback. Gonzales struggles with his positional awareness and man marking. He is physically strong, but one of Trinidad’s weakest defenders.

Colorado Rapids man Mekeil Williams will get the nod at leftback. Williams is very good on the ball, but is an average MLS defender. His 1 v. 1 defending leaves much to be desired.

Kareem Moses should start at rightback. He has excellent pace, but his positional awareness is quite poor.

Khaleem Hyland is expected to feature in defensive midfield. Hyland is a hard tackler with a high workrate, but is quite slow.

Kevan George will likely partner with Hyland to shield the backline. George has an impressive passing range, but a low soccer IQ.

Nineteen year old Levi Garcia is the most exciting prospect on this roster. Garcia plays for AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands and while he has trouble breaking into AZ’s starting XI he has high potential. Garcia has blistering pace and provides great service on set-pieces.

Seattle Sounders leftback Joevin Jones will start as a wide midfielder (he almost always plays midfield for T&T). Jones is very quick and excels at crossing the ball. He puts in a lot of effort defensively when playing in midfield, but his finishing is rather poor.

Leston Paul seems likely to get the nod at center attacking midfield. Paul plies his trade for Salvadoran club Pasaquina and creates many opportunities with his pinpoint passing.

Shahdon Winchester started Trinidad’s last match and is expected to feature up top. Winchester is a poacher with excellent dribbling skills. He struggles aerially, as he is only 5’7”, and does not offer much in terms of hold up play.

The United States should be able to comfortably defeat Trinidad and Tobago. T&T is the worst team in the Hex with only three points after nine games. I’m predicting a 3-0 U.S. victory.