US clinches spot in CONCACAF finals
STRIKER Jozy Altidore scored twice as the United States thrashed Trinidad and Tobago 4-0 on September 6 to book their place in the final round of the CONCACAF region’s 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
Altidore scored twice in four minutes midway through the second half, either side of goals from Sacha Kljestan and substitute Paul Arriola, to confirm an emphatic win for the hosts at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s side had needed only a point to be sure of reaching the final round of qualifiers for Central America, North America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF).
However a confident USA – who handed a first full competitive start to 17-year-old starlet Christian Pulisic – were always in control against their outclassed Group C rivals.
The USA took the lead in the 44th minute when neat interplay down the right flank involving Fabian Johnson, Kljestan and Pulisic sowed confusion in the Trinidad box.
Khaleem Hyland made a mess of his clearance from Pulisic’s low cross, diverting the ball into the path of Kljestan who drilled home a low finish.
Borussia Monchengladbach fullback Johnson was involved in the build-up for the second on 59 minutes, his pass finding Altidore just inside the penalty area.
Altidore showed great composure to lose marker Mekeil Williams before stroking a low shot into the bottom left hand corner.
Four minutes later and it was 3-0. A cleverly worked one-two between Kljestan and Pulisic sent the Borussia Dortmund teenager away down the left and he looked up to pick out Altidore for the simplest of close-range tap-ins.
In the 71st minute it became 4-0 with Pulisic involved once again.
The youngster’s shot was only half blocked by Trinidad goalkeeper Marvin Phillip and substitute Arriola was on hand to sweep in the rebound.
Altidore, shown here in an international friendly earlier this year, starred for the US as they capitalised on strong play from teenaged phenom Christian Pulisic.