DENVER – In front of a sold out crowd of 19,188 people, the United States put on a show for their Colorado fans. Well, Christian Pulisic put on a show but that seems like all the USMNT need nowadays because they have a superstar in the making. Pulisic had two goals and Tim Howard shut down Trinidad and Tobago on the other side of the pitch to earn the U.S. a much-needed three points for World Cup qualifying.
“Not an easy game,” U.S. Soccer manager Bruce Arena said after the match. “Trinidad was well prepared, had a good tactical plan and played well. We played a solid 90 minutes. Some mistakes in the first half on some crosses, missed some opportunities. But overall a good performance.”
Both teams had their fair share of opportunities in the first half but nobody was able to find the back of the net. The United States got most of their opportunities by utilizing their fullbacks for some width against Trinidad’s 3-4-3. DeAndre Yedlin and Jorge Villafaña had to be licking their chops with all of the room out wide.
Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey had a few opportunities to put one of those balls from their fullbacks in the back of the net but couldn’t capitalize. T&T’s goalkeeper, Jan-Michael Williams, had some huge sprawling saves in the first half.
“I think we could’ve played better,” Arena said about his team’s first half performance. “A few opportunities to play better in the final third that we had to clean up for the second half.”
It didn’t take long for the U.S. to clean it up in the final third. Seven minutes into the second half, Darlington Nagbe made some brilliant moves around a couple of Trinidad defenders, passed it to Yedlin who found the young phenom, Pulisic, to put the Yanks up 1-0.
On the ensuing possession, Trinidad though they had tied it up but the goal was called off due to a player offside.
In the 62nd minute, the 18 year-old kid was at it again. This time driving with the ball down the right flank and then firing a shot past Trinidad’s keeper to grab his brace and put the U.S. up 2-0.
“[Pulisic]’s having fun,” Arena said of his budding superstar. “I just think he’s a natural for the game. He sees the game very well and has very good instincts, especially running off the ball. He’s certainly an exceptional player.”
The United States were able to hold off T&T for the rest of the match and pick-up an important three points in World Cup qualifying. They now look ahead to Mexico on Sunday, and Pulisic already guaranteed a United States win.
“It’s gonna be a tough one down there in Mexico,” Pulisic said on FS1 after the game. “But we really want some revenge on them from when they got us earlier this year. So, we’re really confident going into that game. We’re going to come out with a win there, too.”