The United States Men’s National Team begin their quest for a 3rd straight Concacaf Nations League title when they line up against Trinidad & Tobago tomorrow in the first leg of the Nations League quarterfinals. The USMNT look to get off to a good start against the Soca Warriors to help ensure a return to the Nations League Finals in March.
Also hanging in the balance is qualification for next summer’s Copa América, which the United States is hosting but do not receive an automatic bid. Winning this two-legged quarterfinal series will see the hosts take the field in June at Copa América, which raises the stakes even further for this match.
Standing in their way is Trinidad & Tobago, whose history of eliminating the USMNT from big competitions is known by everyone and doesn’t need to be rehashed. Since that fateful night in Couva in October 2017, the USMNT has not given conceded a goal to the Soca Warriors in 3 matchups, while scoring 19 goals in the process. The USMNT will look to continue that scoring pace to get out to a huge lead in this pivotal series.
W (4-0) - Ghana - Friendly
L (1-3) - Germany - Friendly
W (4-0) - Oman - Friendly
W (3-0) - Uzbekistan - Friendly
D (1-1) - Panama - Concacaf Gold Cup Semifinals*
*Lost on penalties
Trinidad & Tobago
L (3-5) - Curaçao - Concacaf Nations League A
W (3-2) - Guatemala - Concacaf Nations League A
W (3-2) - El Salvador - Concacaf Nations League A
W (1-0) - Curaçao - Concacaf Nations League A
L (0-6) - USA - Concacaf Gold Cup Group A
What To Watch For
Get momentum early. The key to defeating Trinidad & Tobago is to steal momentum early and turn that into goals. That’s how the USMNT beat the Soca Warriors back in July during the Gold Cup, and it’s how Curaçao was able to hang 5 on them last month during Nations League group play. Don’t play with T&T...take the momentum and run with it.
Keep the defensive third clean. The defense needs to keep the defensive part of the field free of chances and free of mistakes. The USMNT back line can hopefully keep a clean work station and keep the pressure moving forward.
Time for a couple of guys to step up off the bench. With some key players not in this camp, we look to see if a few bench players step up in their absence. Who will be the players that contribute, especially off the bench, to help the team win?
With Christian Pulisic and Tim Weah not in camp due to injury, there’s a chance for a couple of guys to make an impression. So, the prediction is that Gregg Berhalter brings out a BJ Ball lineup:
Matt Turner will start in goal, with the back line a familiar one with Antonee Robinson, Tim Ream, Chris Richards, and Sergiño Dest. The midfield will be Yunus Musah and Weston McKennie, with Brenden Aaronson slotting in front of them at central attack.
Gio Reyna will be on the wing, with Kevin Paredes getting the start on the left wing to pair in an offense-defense combo with Robinson on the flank. Folarin Balogun will be up top, with Ricardo Pepi eventually entering the match.
The USMNT get off to a great start in the two-legged quarterfinal with a 5-0 victory.