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In front of 19,410 fans the United States beat Trinidad and Tobago 4-0 to win Group C in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying at EverBank Field, Jacksonville this evening. The US has now secured its position in the the Hexagonal with a spot at the 2018 World Cup in Russia on the line.
Klinsmann tinkered with his lineup following last Friday’s 6-0 win against St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with Christain Pulisic, Sacha Kljestan and Omar Gonzalez all in the starting XI. Tim Howard also started in goal ahead of Brad Guzan, who played versus St. Vincent.
Jozy Altidore (pictured above) scored a brace while Pulisic, who became the youngest player to start for the US in a World Cup qualifier, inspired much of the team’s success in an impressive home victory for the Americans.
Trinidad and Tobago started the game the better of the two sides and were on the front foot early as Joevin Jones tested Howard in the seventh minute with a left-footed shot from distance that the Colorado Rapids goalkeeper easily handled. The visitors continued to impress with Orlando City’s Kevin Molino (pictured above) at the heart of most of the attacking play but couldn’t find a cutting edge.
Kljestan had the best early chance for the Americans when a loose ball from a long Geoff Cameron throw in landed at his feet, but he volleyed an effortwell over the crossbar. As the half went on and with the Americans pushing forward more and more, Pulisic almost opened his team’s account from a Altidore cross, but his left-footed shot from close range incredibly hit both posts before bouncing away from danger.
The two sides continued to feel each other out for much of the first half until Kljestan managed to toe poked home the opener from 10 yards in the 44th minute from a move he started. It was to prove a decisive strike as the United States went into half time on a positive note.
The US doubled their lead in the 59th minute as Altidore took a Fabian Johnson pass, turned and rifled a right-footed shot low past Marvin Phillip, in the Trinidad and Tobago goal, to become the all-time World Cup qualifying goalscorer for the Americans.
Minutes later it was Altidore again. Kljestan passed to Pulisic on a give-and-go and the youngster found his teammate on the far post with a well-placed cross that Altidore slotted home for a 3-0 lead.
The U.S. added a fourth in the 71st minute as substitute Paul Arriola found himself wide open to follow up a rebound from a Pulisic slot that Phillip did well to initially block.
The United States begins play in the Hexagonal on Nov. 11 when they host CONCACAF rivals Mexico.
More photos at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com