September 9, 2008
By Kathryn L. Knapp
READY FOR TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
U.S. Men resume qualifying Wednesday
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The United States men have played in four World Cup qualifiers this year. And so far, so good. The team has posted four straight shutouts, outscoring opponents 11-0. So what does that mean for tomorrow night’s match vs. Trinidad and Tobago (8:00 p.m ET at Toyota Park)? It’s a new game, new opponent and the past is thrown out the window.
|Landon Donovan and company invade Toyota Park for a World Cup Qualifier vs. Trinidad & Tobago. The U.S. Men are 4-0 this season in qualifying, outscoring opponents 11-0.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
“We all enjoy coming back to Chicago and seeing friends,” U.S. head coach Bob Bradley said. “It’s also nice knowing this is a place where this team has played well. Trinidad and Tobago has done well. This is an opportunity for us to make a statement… play well and win an important game.”
When asked if they expected any surprises veteran forward Landon Donovan said no.
“I don’t think they’ll be a surprise at all,” Donovan said. “They’re a good team. They beat Cuba 1-0 in Cuba and should have won against Guatemala. The last time we played them in qualifying we won 1-0. They were very difficult to play against. I expect the same tomorrow.”
While this year’s qualifying stats are impressive, what’s more impressive is the streak the club is on. The USA has not allowed a goal in five qualifying games, dating back to 2005. The club topped Panama 2-0 to close out qualifying for the last World Cup. Prior to that, the Americans allowed three goals in a 3-0 loss to Costa Rica. In 2006 qualifying the Americans posted a 7-2-1 record and outscored opponents 16-6. During that stretch, the USA had seven shutouts with a 6-0-1 record in those matches.
“We’ve had some good efforts defensively,” U.S. defender Carlos Bocanegra said. “The defense and goalkeepers get a lot of credit for the shutouts. But we’ve been playing solid team defense. Our midfielders have stayed strong. Our forwards chase back. And our defenders clean things up. It’s been a fantastic team effort.”
The Americans kicked off qualifying this season with an 8-0 win vs. Barbados. They’ve then collected three 1-0 wins on the road. Offensively they’ve struggled a bit or at least they’ve been criticized for their lack of goals.
“Our goal is to win games… not to win 3-0 in or 4-0,” Donovan said. “The goal is to win. Once we score, the job is to ensure the other team doesn’t. If we remain solid like through the whole game, they can’t score.”
Wednesday's match will be the last for the American’s until October, when the team reassembles for two games in the states and one in Trinidad & Tobago.