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Dempsey and Pulisic named in 27-man USA squad to face Soca Warriors in upcoming WCQ

United States football icon Clint Dempsey and teenaged wonder boy Christian Pulisic were both named in a 27-man roster to face Trinidad and Tobago in 2018 World Cup qualifying action on 8 June in Colorado.

Dempsey, who returned in March after a seven-month hiatus due to an irregular heartbeat, has not faced the Soca Warriors since 9 September 2009 when a Ricardo Clarke item gave the US a 1-0 win at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.

Photo: USA forward Clint Dempsey (right) celebrates with teammate Christian Pulisic after scoring against Panama during their 1-1 draw in 2018 World Cup qualifying action in Panama City on 28 March 2017. (Copyright AFP 2017/Rodrigo Arangua)
Photo: USA forward Clint Dempsey (right) celebrates with teammate Christian Pulisic after scoring against Panama during their 1-1 draw in 2018 World Cup qualifying action in Panama City on 28 March 2017.
(Copyright AFP 2017/Rodrigo Arangua)

Current Trinidad and Tobago head coach Dennis Lawrence was captaining the Warriors at the time.

Pulisic, an attacking midfielder with German Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund, has clashed with Trinidad and Tobago far more recently—and memorably. Pulisic became the United States’ youngest ever international starter on 7 September 2016 when, at just 17 years old, he produced a sterling performance in a 4-0 demolition of the Warriors at the Everbank Field in Jacksonville, Florida.

Dempsey and Pulisic are the headliners in a United States squad that has 10 Europe-based players and three from the Mexican league with the remaining 14 from the MLS competition. England Premier League goalkeeper Brad Guzan will make it 15 MLS players next month as he is set to swap Middlesbrough for Atlanta United, who are also the employers of Warriors captain Kenwyne Jones.

Arena has selected a larger than usual squad to allow for flexibility with just a three-day rest between the clash with the two island republic and their next affair away to Mexico at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. The coach is also mindful that five players—Geoff Cameron, John Brooks, Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and Matt Besler—are carrying cards and will incur an automatic one game suspension with their next caution.

Photo: United States forward Jozy Altidore (right) runs at the Trinidad and Tobago defence during 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: United States forward Jozy Altidore (right) runs at the Trinidad and Tobago defence during 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“I think we have a good group,” said Arena, via a press release. “I’m still in the early goings with this team and I haven’t seen all of our players, so this camp gives me the opportunity to see six new faces we haven’t had in with the team yet, which is valuable…

“We have a roster that has good balance all over, we have good young players and hopefully it’s a team we can put together to get us points in both games.”

The United States are unbeaten since Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann as head coach. They trounced Honduras 6-1 in World Cup qualifying action in California, two months ago, before holding Panama 1-1 in Panama City. And there was also a 1-0 friendly win over Jamaica and a goalless draw with Serbia.

The United States, who skipped from sixth to fourth in the CONCACAF standings as a result, will play Venezuela in Utah on 2 June before they tackle the Warriors.

Trinidad and Tobago, who have already started preparations in Commerce City, Colorado, are due to face MLS club, Colorado Rapids, in two closed-door scrimmages before facing the host nation. The Warriors then travel to San Jose to face Costa Rica on 13 June.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Khaleem Hyland (centre) tries to escape from Panama midfielder Amilcar Henriquez (right) during 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 24 March 2017. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Khaleem Hyland (centre) tries to escape from Panama midfielder Amilcar Henriquez (right) during 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 24 March 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Trinidad and Tobago have never defeated the United States or Costa Rica on foreign soil in World Cup qualifying action while their last point away to either team came on 13 May 1989, courtesy a late Hutson “Barber” Charles finish.

At present, the Warriors are sixth and bottom of the CONCACAF Hex but trail USA by just one point and are two points adrift of third placed Panama.

The top three nations in CONCACAF will qualify automatically for the Russia 2018 World Cup while the fourth placed team head to a play off with the fifth placed country from the Asian Football Confederation.

Photo: Then 17-year-old United States midfielder Christian Pulisic (right) takes on Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Andre Boucaud during FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the EverBank Field on 6 September 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Copyright John Raoux/AP)
Photo: Then 17-year-old United States midfielder Christian Pulisic (right) takes on Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Andre Boucaud during FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the EverBank Field on 6 September 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida.
(Copyright John Raoux/AP)

(United States 27-man team)

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Atlanta United), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake);

Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Tim Ream (Fulham), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City);

Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Paul Arriola (Tijuana), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Fabian Johnson (Moenchengladbach), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund);

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Bobby Wood (Hamburg).

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Joevin Jones (right) gets a shot off under pressure from United States midfielder DeAndre Yedlin during a goalless draw at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in 2018 World Cup qualifying action on 17 November 2015. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Joevin Jones (right) gets a shot off under pressure from United States midfielder DeAndre Yedlin during a goalless draw at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in 2018 World Cup qualifying action on 17 November 2015.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

(Provisional 21-man Trinidad and Tobago squad in Colorado training camp–minus players on MLS duty at present):

Goalkeepers: Jan Michael Williams (North East Stars), Marvin Phillip (Point Fortin Civic), Adrian Foncette (Police FC);

Defenders: Alvin Jones (W Connection), Carlos Edwards (Central FC), Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Daneil Cyrus (North East Stars), Sheldon Bateau (KC Krylia Sovetov—Russia), Triston Hodge (W Connection);

Midfielders: Khaleem Hyland (KV Westerlo—Belgium), Hughtun Hector (W Connection), Leston Paul (North East Stars), Andre Boucaud (Dagenham & Redbridge—England);

Attacking midfielders: Nathan Lewis (San Juan Jabloteh), Hashim Arcia (Defence Force), Jomal Williams (Murcielagos FC—Mexico), Levi Garcia (AZ Alkmaar—Netherlands);

Forwards: Willis Plaza (East Bengal—India), Jamille Boatswain (Defence Force), Akeem Roach (Unattached), Shahdon Winchester (Murcielagos FC—Mexico).

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams (right) enjoys a calm moment with teammate Sheldon Bateau (centre) and United States midfielder Michael Bradley in attendance during 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams (right) enjoys a calm moment with teammate Sheldon Bateau (centre) and United States midfielder Michael Bradley in attendance during 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

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74 comments

  1. We gonna upset USA we getting nothing less than a draw

  2. Lasana do we know what percentage of our full squad is currently at the camp? Is it still the local contingent mainly? When would the others arrive?

  3. Highlights from T&T v PDL team in Colorado. T&T won 1-0 with Shahdon Winchester goal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3Dc28JSJrw

  4. I am hoping our level of fitness is at least 90% close to the Americans. Pulisic is really quick and will need some personal attention when they counter us.

    • Think with my head USA wins 2 Nile with my heart and all the hope in the world we get a draw.

    • Well I will be wukking some voodoo on my second sweetest country eh, to finally break that jinx that my corrupted uncle Jack Warner and his cronies did in 1989 and got plenty of monies to become the Vice president of the corrupted FIFA, when he sold his soul to the devil and sold out the game in order for my second sweetest country to attend the World Cup in Italy in 1990, so they cudda host their very own World Cup in 1994 that made millions of monies eh, it is time for the payback Them really good yes. steeuuppsss.

    • Voodoo as much as you want Mango. We need to stop thinking that we could take shortcuts and get past people who are methodical and thoughtful about strategy and preparation. Let’s see I could inbox yiu my prediction

    • Why do you think that they are making certain that they are coming with all of their guns against us eh and not thanking any chances eh, Brian Harry. Them really good yes.

    • Well then Brian Harry if meh voodoo ain’t wukking, each player will be getting plenty monies if they finally get the nerves and beat up my second sweetest country eh and I dun talk. Them really good yes.

    • Earl Mango Pierre thats what preparation is. if we choose not to bring all our guns – our choice. maybe Daryl could pay for an extra gun with a late invitation to tip the scales

    • Mango, here’s a scheme. Since you mention uncle jack. Ask Daryl to send up three secret weapon players last minute – cost $30,000 and bribe the ref $25,000. We still save $37,000. We win and we all happy and the minister delivering. How you like mi plan. Easier than voodoo because don’t know if that work at high altitude

    • Nah ah think that I rather the Mexicanos and them plan eh Them really good yes hahahahaha

    • Earl Mango yuh have to feather that fowl, clean it and season it before yuh put it in the pot boy!

  5. My second sweetest country isn’t taking any chances with our Soca Worries nah, they are coming in full force. Them really good yes. hahahaha

    • Yep. We will get no favours. And Lawrence say we going to take them on toe to toe.

    • Well I will be ready for them eh because ah feel that our Soca Worries for the first time will be putting a serious cut tail on them especially when my two newly prolific goal scorers are on board. hahahahaha

    • This is Daniel Carr. He now play’s for second division team in Sweden. The teams plan is that they are looking to sell him to bigger and better teams in European market. They are astonishing by his speed of acceleration. Previously he only ask to be seen by the previous T&T national coach Hart and he got no reply. Some even suggested he was playing in low league. Are we willing to give him a look now.Them really good yes.

    • Earl Mango Pierre hmm have heard rumblings about him

      Worth a possible look I guess – since Warriors have no clear back up to Kenwyne

    • This is my problem with our sports governance overall….why should he have to call or beg to be given a hearing/look-see?? We are not Brazil with talent falling off the trees and ozing out of the ground?! I keep going back to Simoes, who would go all around the country regularly and he would even be caught watching a sweat somewhere in deep south or Mayaro…in his world the Ronaldos and Dihnos and Tevezes came from these scenarios. This young man is in a structured environment where Pro Club football is quite entrenched and viable, why would we not want to see what he can do…even if is just to take note for the future?

    • Lasana Liburd would have been better if the game was in Texas because that’s just gun talk from Lawrence

    • Hahaha. I hope so eh Brian! I dream to see the day when we can go to USA with guns blazing though. Maybe one day.

    • Lasana Liburd in every area we pray for the result and for things to be the way we want them. I like your hope , sounds like a prayer. The Bible does say tho that faith without work is dead.

    • We getting about 4 in we ass….i pray for a 2-1 miracle

    • Nigel looks we can throw pragmatic out the window if Dennis means what he said.
      And that would mean either brilliant or cringeworthy.

    • Lasana Liburd does that then mean 3?

    • I trying to get you to take a side. Win or lose? Score prediction. Yesterday you were praying. What did the good man tell you?

    • Lol. I can’t see how we win because we are playing away against a better team without much match practice and with the spine of our team in their offseason.
      The smart guess is a 2-0 or 3-0 loss. But the ‘x’ factor is this is Dennis’ first away match and we don’t know how we will approach it yet and what he might have up his sleeve.
      I don’t even know if he is honest in his pre match statements or if he is–quite reasonably–trying to feed misinformation to our opponents.
      So I don’t know enough about Dennis yet to predict.

    • Lasana Liburd you know we need some political leadership. You should also know that I have the deepest regard fro you. And you must now know that I see you filling a political leadership role. Whatever Dennis has up his sleeves can’t overcome the significant quality and preparation deficit. It might lessen the blows but we going to get them still. I predict a clear 2 goal win at least

    • The smart money is on exactly that deficit Brian.

    • Lol if the US are limited what ate we?

    • Malik Johnson I guess the universe has conspired to give them the ranking they have because they no good and only beat teams that makes mistakes. Hmmm okay then

    • Malik, the number of coaches and players who travelled to the US and came back empty handed is long and varied.
      I think you assess their strengths well. And that is why they will have planned very well for us and our assets. And we never have many. It is always one or two things that we do well.
      We aren’t going to beat them on individual talent like Kenwyne’s aerial ability or Joevin’s speed. And I don’t feel we are fluent enough yet to collectively push them back, which is what Gally’s team did in 1989.
      So they neutralize us but can we neutralize them?

    • We have had more talent than them in the past but severely lacked fitness like the gold cup team that ran dem ragged and was up 2-0 till they fell apart..think dwarika scored both goals early…

    • Nigel, they had a better mentality than us. They were warriors and we weren’t.
      I remember speaking to a player on that team. He said our players were terrified everytime they got a set piece. Because the likes of Lalas was punching and spitting on our players.
      They would have done anything it took to win and we didn’t have the same mentality. It isn’t always fitness and I don’t think it was then. Zoran Vranes and Bertille St Clair are two coaches that always put out teams that can run anyone into the ground.

    • I always enjoy reading these analyses. They make everything sound so static and stuck. What a massive breach in the logic of growth and development. The USA Soccer Fed is spending large and inordinate sums of money on scientific training methods and applying such to their soccer teams. They are spending on advanced video and statistical analysis. Yes, in the past they’ve played a certain way. They’ve beaten us consistently. They are learning and growing – administratively, physically and tactically. Show me some of our advancements and improvements. I think that as much as Arena will play down the amount of time they’ve spent together, he’s not shaking in his boots. He will shake when Mexico comes to town and bring their full team. he’s not quaking for us. Sorry. And we are doing nothing to make him think that we could be a threat. We are not. We can’t do nothing and expect results. Like teh government disease spread to football too?

    • You is really full of plenty wisdom Brian Harry and the reason why my second sweetest country is investing plenty monies in all that they are doing is to finally win the last trophy to add to their collection of all the other trophies that they have won in all the other sports eh. Them really good yes.

    • Agreed Brian. But mentality counts too. It’s the law of the jungle. Wolves vs the sheep.
      Why scrawny mobsters–even if unarmed–terrify strapping policemen. They will do whatever it takes. We have very rarely been that country. In Bahrain for the last five minutes, Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy used their experience to kill play in the corners and frustrate the hosts who began to lose their call and react very badly. They didn’t have the mentality of our top players to grind out the necessary result.

    • There are so many interesting takes on the role culture plays in things like that.
      This was Malcolm Gladwell looking at the plane crashes that dogged Air Korea in the 1980s:
      “Cross cultural psychologists have found that depending on where we are from, we conform to different rules in our speech and our interpretation. Some countries tolerate ambiguity more than others, some prefer to stick rigorously to rules and procedures. Some countries are called “low power-distance” countries—these are countries where things like rank and authority don’t have a huge effect on communication. Other countries have strict cultural rules regarding how one can speak to a superior, an elder, or even a stranger. These are “high power-distance” countries. It became clear that one way of stopping plane crashes might be to reduce the power-distance in the cockpit. This way first officers would not be afraid to voice a problem or a concern to the captain, and pilots would not defer so readily to ATC if a plane’s safety were at stake. Korea just so happens to be a high power-distance country.”

    • The suggestion was the co-pilots and staff are much less willing to speak to authority in Korea. So when the pilot erred, nobody would tell him until it was too late.

    • Sport has shown waaaay too often that spending money and tactics is not all it takes…Too many times upsets have shown that heart on the day and passion can destroy all that’

    • Here is an example on the football field with Korea Rep:
      “So how did Hiddink become so successful with a team, which had never won a single match on a World Cup? To find that answer we must first see how the Korean national team was organized before Hiddink took over. Korean culture is very suitable in many situations, but sadly running a professional football team isn’t one of them. The not-question-your-boss and don’t-take-any-risks-mentality and seniority-rules-over-all-culture kills competition in sports. Longstanding personal, familial, and school connections were factors in being selected for the national team and a head coach couldn’t ignore them. Older players had more privilege than younger ones (younger players even had to polish the shoes of their seniors) and often didn’t have to fear for their place in the team. Such a power imbalance isn’t healthy in a professional sports environment. In addition, the risk of losing in the preparation to the World Cup, and an early exit for the head coach, was being avoided by playing generally weaker teams, so it would appear that the Korean team was ready to play at the World Cup. Korean culture was a hindrance in starting with the best eleven and a leading cause in the poor performance of the Korean national team in every World Cup before 2002.”

    • Lasana Liburd thanks for your response, because now you talking my language about culture and systems. Look back at my posts over the last few years. However, where have we in TT demonstrated the grittiness of the scrawny mobsters who will terrify the strapping and armed police? Only in the gangs and mobs! Maybe that’s because true leadership only lies there. Where and when in the last two years have our senior men’s team demonstrated that ability to scrap and scrape and win. We’ve been beaten by Guyana, Grenada (??), locked in draws with meaningless teams. You add to this lack of grit and fortitude a lack of preparation, and it means a sure cut ass.

    • I know it is a little off topic. But we never mind following a chat into some strange corners at Wired868. Lol.
      T&T mentality is shrug your shoulders when things get hard and say there will always be tomorrow.

    • Yeah. That is our strength at times in not being too stressed out and uptight. But a major weakness when it comes to creating a competitive business model.

    • Lasana Liburd The toughness, resourcefulness and industry of Koreans cannot be questioned! Their management style apart, Look at the resilience in their industries. One of your followers above said that spending money (on science and technology and preparation) and tactics is not all that it takes. So we getting more and more ridiculous. Its not all but damn its most of it especially when your opponent does neither. I gone. Resume morning after the game.

    • Yeah Nigel Tyrell P. Reid you remember when Ghana put it on my second sweetest 2-1 in the 2010 World Cup I think it was eh and they had to put their tails between their legs and head back to the drawing board and the same Bruce Arena was the coach to eh and got his throat buss one time yes along with some of the other players and as usual the bias USA commentators was talking about Italy, and The Checs who was also in the same group and wasn’t talking about the Ghana team at all, so you is so right about on any given day what can happen eh. Them was really good yes. hahahahaha

    • Earl Mango Pierre So now chance is our strategy? But what I reading here!

    • Well I am really hoping that Bruce Arena doesn’t get his throat buss up again nah when my second sweetest country doesn’t qualify for the World Cup next year when we put it on them come June 8th. Them really good yes hahahahaha

    • But the richest countries don’t dominate football. It is important but I believe if it was everything, the US would have spent whatever it took to be champions. Football is a great potential political tool that I’m sure the US would have been happy to wield.
      With the right know-how, mentality and creativity, you can do plenty with relatively little. It’s just that our sport administrators are lacking in that too! Lol

    • Yeah they are always thinking about always exploiting our players and coaches and always going to the banks smiling. steeuuppss. Them really good yes.

    • Lasana Liburd well who said the richest countries dominate football? I didn’t! People who want results create strategy and fund it ! Period and that’s the point I’m making. So because the richest countries don’t win we believe that we will win with no strategy or investment and just hope.

    • Brian the only point being made is that it isn’t all about money. Strategy and investment? Of course. But just that this isn’t measured solely in dollars and cents. That’s all.

    • Lasana Liburd but I never said it was about money!!! Where did you get that. I spoke about people investing in sport science and technology and using the tech to better define tactics . Where in there do you get all about money from. We will not win consistently against better teams if we do not become strategic about our approach and back it by proper investment! That’s my point

    • Malik Johnson oh god read the damn thread and stop making half baked comments . The conversation started moons ago. We need to invest in more advanced methodology – I know exactly what im talking and I’ve experienced it even as a youth coach here in Texas .

    • Alyuh see why there are so many bootleg coaches teaching the beautiful game eh, and many of them doesn’t even know that they don’t know eh Brian Harry just forgive them nah man Them really good yes.

    • Malik because what I’m saying is we can’t keep taking a knife to a gun fight. Our competitors are using modern approaches – science and statistical analysis and being very strategic in deploying these – they invest accordingly. Yes one can plan tactics without technology but yiu can do it much better if yiu have statistics that tell you about player tendencies, fitness levels and even ball movement for your team and the opponent. It is powerful when yiu have film of yiur opponents and stats to HEP identify areas of strength and opportunities. When your players go home with a customized app which captures these details of opponents and able to study them before games your preparation goes to another level. This is where team preparation and coaching has gone to. I’m sure Lawrence knows this but I’m not sure that he has this infrastructure available to him . Many Division 1 teams here in Texas are doing this routinely. Think about what it does for player education . This is what I’m talking about

    • Earl Mango Pierre you and these characters eh

    • Hence the reason why this technology was finally introduced to test the fitness of our Soca Worries players with the black vests that some of them are wearing eh, so come June 8th against my second sweetest country they will be on par with respect with their fitness level eh, so my second sweetest country will be getting a very rude awakening. Them really good yes.

    • Malik Johnson but we can use the little $$ we have properly. Do you see the printouts that NFL coaches get during games? Soccer teams are doing this now. Because Soccer si faster they use the data and printouts at halftime to make coaching points. First figure out where we want to go and how and then invest wisely. In fairness to your point you are looking at the game in a few days but I’ve given up on that so I’m looking long teen at World Cup 2022.

    • And although you might have a point about my second sweetest country quality of football Malik Johnson, the reason why they will always beat up our sweetest country and all the other Caribbean teams is because of their die heart crowd supporters including the young upcoming future ballers and their parents eh. Them really good yes.

    • And they even always have a huge cheering group with their huge flag there drums and trap sets chanting and cheering on my second sweetest country behind the goal post eh and when it is the opponents time to use that goal, well you can just imagine the things that are been said to try and always distract the opponents goal keeper so that their goal scorers can always bus up their nets to win the games eh hahahahahahaa Them really good yes.

    • And you see those American kids in the first photo behind me , well I started to see our song. TNT we want a goal, TNT we want a goal and then they started to sing it with us eh, and the next day when we return to support our Women Warriors at the same venue in Philadelphia , one mother said to us that when they went back home her son only singing the song yes and even got up the next morning singing the same song hahahahaha Them really good yes.