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USA vs. Trinidad and Tobago: scouting report

The match heavily favors the United States.

Trinidad & Tobago v United States - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The United States men’s national team takes on Trinidad and Tobago in an important CONCACAF World Cup qualifier on Thursday.

Trinidad and Tobago is currently last in the Hex, but is only one point behind the fourth-placed U.S. They’re expected to lose to the U.S., with recent matches ending in losses to Mexico and Honduras, though they did manage a win over Panama.

T&T comes into the match with a 2-2-1 record in their last five games. The team lost to the U.S. 4-0 in a September 2016 World Cup qualifier.

Their roster consists of many veterans, although the majority of the players feature in the relatively weak domestic league.

Goalkeepers (3): Adrian Foncette (Police FC), Marvin Phillip (Point Fortin Civic Centre FC), Jan-Michael Williams (North East Stars)

Defenders (9): Radanfah Abu Bakr (FK Sūduva Marijampolė/LTU), Sheldon Bateau (Krylia Sovetov Samara/RUS), Daneil Cyrus (Unattached), Aubrey David (PS Kemi Kings/FIN), Carlos Edwards (Central FC), Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Triston Hodge (W Connection), Alvin Jones (W Connection), Mekeil Williams (Colorado Rapids/USA)

Midfielders (9): Hashim Arcia (Defence Force), Andre Boucaud (Dagenham & Redbridge/ENG), Kevan George (Jacksonville Armada/USA), Hughtun Hector (W Connection), Khaleem Hyland (KVC Westerlo/BEL), Joevin Jones (Seattle Sounders FC/USA), Nathan Lewis (San Juan Jabloteh), Kevin Molino (Minnesota United FC/USA) Leston Paul (North East Stars)

Forwards (3): Shahdon Winchester (Murcielagos FC/MEX), Jamille Boatswain (Defence Force), Kenwyne Jones (Atlanta United/USA)

T&T head coach Dennis Lawrence will almost certainly deploy a 4-5-1. His team will need to be well organized and play defensively in order to get a result. T&T is a counter-attacking team that is used to playing without possession. They rely on set pieces, crosses, and quick counters to score.

Players assessments and expected starting XI

Look for Jan-Michael Williams to start in goal. He has been T&T’s starter for several years and is a solid, but exceedingly average goalkeeper. He will need to play exceptionally well for T&T to avoid defeat.

Former Chicago Fire defender Daneil Cyrus is expected to feature at center back. At 6’3’’, Cyrus is rarely beaten in the air, but he struggles with the ball at his feet.

Colorado Rapids center back Mekeil Williams is a surprisingly good passer and dribbler but he struggles to defend 1 v. 1 and has received three yellow cards, as well as one red, in just seven MLS appearances.

Sheldon Bateau is a skilled defender known for his aerial dominance and exceptional long passes. At times Bateau struggles with composure and positioning.

Aubrey David excels at intercepting passes and blocking shots and crosses. He rarely joins the attack and is prone to committing fouls. David is one of the few players on the roster who is left footed.

Khaleem Hyland is a strong, hard tackling defensive midfielder who plies his trade in the Belgian Juplier League. Hyland will likely be tasked with containing Christian Pulisic.

Central midfielder Andre Boucaud has a very good first touch, but is an otherwise weak player. He offers little going forward and is not good enough defensively to succeed at the international level.

NASL player Kevan George is an pretty average player. He has a high motor and tackles well, but struggles offensively. He will have a tough time containing USMNT midfielders.

Minnesota United midfielder Kevin Molino is T&T’s best attacker. Molino’s blistering pace, good passing range, and improved finishing make him lethal in the final third. He has contributed 5 goals and 3 assists in 12 games for Minnesota.

Joevin Jones is having an outstanding year with the Seattle Sounders. He has improved his 1 v. 1 defending and is dangerous going forward. His exceptional passing ability and dribble make him quite the threat on the wing. While Jones plays leftback for Seattle, he has primarily been used in midfield in for the national team. Jones’ aggression and desire to attack will likely leave T&T’s leftback exposed.

Striker Kenwyne Jones has received little playing time for Atlanta United, yet will almost certainly lead T&T’s front line. Jones is a classic target man, very strong and excellent in the air. Jones plays very physically and could be a handful for the U.S. defense.

Trinidad and Tobago is far weaker than the U.S. and would need a miracle to win this match. They’re still capable of keeping the match close, but the U.S. absolutely should win while dominating possession.

USA vs Trinidad & Tobago kicks off at 7:50 PM ET on Thursday, June 8 and will air live on FS1, UniMas, and UDN.