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USA News and Reviews  By Aldwyn McGill

USA, Mexico, & Honduras clinch while Costa Rica losS in Playoffs


After the results of the final CONCACAF qualifying matches last Wednesday, USA lead the CONCACAF Final round qualifiers with 20 points while Mexico and Honduras finish second and third respectively to complete the three automatic spots.

Mexico did what was necessary against Trinidad and Tobago, in what turned out to be a dull affair with almost the same amount of Mexican supporters as the Soca Warriors in attendance. The game ended 2-2 and it seemed like every time T&T scored, Mexico responded accordingly.


Mexico equalized in the 65th minute to make it a 2-2 ball game, from a neat by Carlos Salcido to set up an exciting finish to a somewhat dull game. But to stay true to form, both teams missed late chances and both teams hit the crossbar as the game finished in a deserving 2-2 draw.


With the tie Mexico finished in second place with 19 points, one point behind USA. Trinidad and Tobago finished their campaign in last place with 6 points. Honduras finished in third place with 16 points after defeating El Salvador 1-0, while Costa Rica finished in fourth place on goal difference after allowing USA to come back from a two goal half time deficit to tie 2-2 in the 4 minute of injury time.


Honduras defeat El Salvador 1-0 to clinch third and final automatic spot to World Cup South Africa out After Costa Rica tie with USA. As a result of its tie Costa Rica had to play Uruguay, the fifth place South American team in a home and away playoff series to get to 2010 World Cup.


As it turned out, on November 14 Costa Rica lost 1-0 to Uruguay in its first game at home and only manage a tie in the second game on November 18 in Uruguay to lose on aggregate and as a result will have to watch the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Mexico defeat USA for a second time

Still alive in CONCACAF( Thursday 13 August 2009

It was another action-packed night in the North, Central American and Caribbean zone, as the home sides prevailed. Mexico fought hard to recover from an early deficit and earn a 2-1 victory over USA at the Estadio Azteca, as Trinidad and Tobago managed to hold on in Port of Spain to disappoint struggling El Salvador 1-0. Honduras capped the night with an energetic performance, notching no less than four goals to surprise top-of-the-table Costa Rica. Join for a closer look at all the evening's action from CONCACAF.

Match of the day
Mexico 2-1 USA
Charlie Davies (9), Israel Castro (19), Miguel Sabah (81)

Mexico came from behind to defeat rivals USA 2-1 in their crucial 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifier, propelled by punishing strikes from Israel Castro and super-sub Miguel Sabah. USA took the lead in the ninth minute as Charlie Davies finished a counter-attack to slot home at the far post. However, Mexico soon drew level as Castro's long-range shot crashed in off the crossbar.


With nine minutes to play, Efraín Juárez made a great penetrating run which drew two defenders, opening up substitute Sabah who struck a hard volley into the top of the net. With the win El Tri stayed fourth in the region, but edged to within just one point of the top half of the table. Javier Aguirre's side are now back in the mix, but their work is not done, as an away date with leaders Costa Rica awaits on 5 September.

In other action
Cornell Glen's early goal was enough to give Trinidad and Tobago three points against El Salvador and reinvigorate their South Africa 2010 dream. The Soca Warriors notched their first victory in the six-nation qualifying group before an overwhelmingly partisan crowd at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. With the result, they drew level with their opponents on five points at the bottom of the standings, four below Mexico.


Honduras put on an electric performance in San Pedro Sula, looking dangerous right from the start as they leapfrogged USA into second place by beating leaders Costa Rica 4-0. Carlos Costly started and finished the lesson, with Carlos Pavon and Melvin Valladares adding to the tally for Honduras, who are now two points behind the Ticos and above the USA on goal difference. Costly caught the Costa Rica defence napping to head home the opener in the first half and from then on there was no way back for the visitors.


The top three teams in North, Central America and the Caribbean earn automatic qualifying berths to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, while the fourth-placed team will face a two-leg play-off against the fifth-placed finisher in South America for the final berth.

Player of the day - Carlos Costly (HON)
Carlos Costly of Honduras was the leading scorer of the day, finding the net twice [31, 90] as his side rolled over Costa Rica. His active play nearly yielded several more for his side, as he repeatedly danced with the ball deep in the Ticos territory before sending searching passes across the goalmouth for his team-mates.

What they said
"We found it very difficult to settle on the field in the opening minutes and the United States took advantage," said Mexico defender Carlos Salcido. "Then, we became calmer, building our offensive play and our goals finally came."

"We know we're a great team and I think we have what it takes to win here, but today we were a little bit unlucky," said USA forward Charlie Davies, on whether his side's failure to capitalise on their early lead was a missed opportunity. "They were able to control most of the game with possession, and I think that's what hurt us."

The number
1 - The number of goals that the three visiting teams were able to muster in 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifying action in the North, Central American and Caribbean zone.

Mexico defeated USA 2-1 The CONCACAF 2010 World Cup qualifiers will resume on August 12 with a rematch between Mexico and USA after the Mexicans humiliated the Americans 5-0 in the Gold Cup final on July 26. Presently, USA is in second place while Mexico is in the hot 4th spot heading into the August showdown in Mexico City

USA Continue to lead in 2010 qualifiers .... the heat is on

After 3 games in the CONCACAF 2010 World Cup qualifiers, USA is atop of the group standings and seemed to be the team to beat. However, the Americans have a two tough games next against Costa Rica and Honduras and if USA is successful with positive results they could all but cement a spot in the big four.


All this action is happening as spring fights off the last effects of winter and the lower seeded teams having to step up their play to secure a position in their 2010 World Cup qualifiers. The heat is getting intense and the pressure is on the bottom teams since the big guns are beginning to surge forward.


The T&T Soca Warriors showed little fight last week in a 3-0 drubbing by USA in Nashville Tennessee, as the Americans jumped all over the Warriors from the opening whistle with nineteen-year-old striker Jozy Altidore as the Johnny on the spot after scoring a hat trick to give USA an easy 3-0 victory.


To make matters worst, Honduras jumped into third spot after defeating Mexico 3-1 in San Pedro Sula. The Mexicans are in fourth place, which left El Salvador and Trinidad and Tobago, in 5th and 6th place respectively.


As was the case last September when USA defeated T&T by the same margin of victory, the call for coach Maturana’s firing has resurfaced and since it seems like the Warriors may have blown the easier part of their final round schedule it may be a case of Dejavue all over again.


However, in keeping things in context, it should be noted that T&T has never won on U.S. soil, and the Warriors and El Salvador may find themselves out of contention if they cannot defeat Mexico and Costa Rica while enjoying home field advantage on June 6.


The call for a coaching change because of a USA loss seems to be over kill but with Mexico making a coach change, it seems like the only window for a change is now, since there are over seven weeks left for the next qualifiers to be played.


Since coach Maturana has explored the T&T talent pool and there is no other direction for the team to go but up I am hopeful that if the TTFF makes a coaching change it will if any thing, improve the selection of the T&T team.


Winning and losing is a coach’s area of responsibility but the players should shoulder some of the blame for the embarrassing loss against USA. At any level of national soccer/football, a control of the ball on the first touch is necessary and stringing passes together is where the fun begins for a player.


For most of these players a good international performances could have meant a spot back in their respective team’s line up compared to being on loan and/or riding the bench, which seems to result in a loss of confidence in their play.


The support or lack of it for the Warriors at the games in T&T is an area that has to improve for Trinidad and Tobago to advance. When the attendance is good, there is no cheering for the team and no booing or jeering of the opposition. Instead, there is partying to the Rhythm section and DJ music as the forefront. Hence, the heat is on.

USA defeat Guatemala 2-0 to send a message for final round

 USA lived up to their #1 ranking in CONCACAF and seem to be on track to qualify for World Cup South Africa 2010 when the Americans destroyed any hopes of Guatemala advancing to the final round.


USA soccer program seem to be clicking on all cylinders after overpowering Guatemala 2-0 in the second half of play without most of their regular starters in the roster. Guatemala had to win while Trinidad and Tobago had to lose to Cuba for them to stand any chance of moving into second place in Group A and into the final round.


After a scoreless first half both USA and T&T raised their level of play to defeat their opponents. USA goal was scored by Kenny Cooper at the 54 minute while Freddy Adu put the American further ahead with the insurance goal at the 69 minute.


USA clinched a spot into the final round since their fourth game when they defeated Cuba 6-1 to also win the Group A title. Last Saturday the match schedule for the six-team 'hexagonal' round was finalized and the first games of the final round are schedule for February 11, with Trinidad and Tobago travelling to play El Salvador while Costa Rica stays at home to play Honduras.

The Mexicans could be scratching their heads in lieu of their big first leg test against CONCACAF #1 ranked USA since it could be the turning point for Mexico’s coach Eriksson and his team. Mexico has lost their last two game and will be under the gun to win in the US or face another brush with elimination from World Cup 2010.

Final round schedule for the North, Central America, and Caribbean Zone
Wednesday 11 February Costa Rica-Honduras El Salvador-Trinidad and Tobago USA-Mexico
Saturday 28 March Mexico-Costa Rica Trinidad and Tobago-Honduras El Salvador-USA
Wednesday 1 April Costa Rica-El Salvador USA-Trinidad and Tobago Honduras-Mexico
Wednesday 3 June Costa Rica-USA
Saturday 6 June Trinidad and Tobago-Costa Rica El Salvador-Mexico USA-Honduras
Wednesday 10 June Mexico-Trinidad and Tobago Honduras-El Salvador
Wednesday 12 August Honduras-Costa Rica Trinidad and Tobago-El Salvador Mexico-USA

The top three finishing teams automatically qualify for South Africa 2010, while the fourth place team will play a South American opponent for the last CONCACAF spots.



Soca Warriors defeat USA 2-1 to move into second place in Group1


Port of Spain: Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors has defeated USA 2-1 before a fair crowd at the Hasley Crawford Stadium last Saturday. The win has all but assured T&T a spot in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying final round of six as the Warriors moved ahead of Guatemala and into sole possession of second place in Group A.

Trinidad and Tobago has eight points to Guatemala’s five and with the Warriors playing Cuba in Trinidad on November 19 while Guatemala will be up against USA in the United States in their final games, it is no secret that Guatemala is not in a favorable situation.


However should Trinidad and Tobago lose their game against Cuba and Guatemala defeat USA then the situation will be reversed and Guatemala would advance ahead of T&T based on their superior goal difference.  

In retrospect it is Dejavue all over again as T&T was in the driver’s seat against USA in 1989 for World Cup 1990 and was eliminated after losing 1-0. However with the experience in bedded into the Trinidad and Tobago team presently and judging by their first ever victory over USA last Saturday, most Warrior fans are adamant that “that was then (89) and this is now” and the Warriors has more options now since they can still advance if Guatemala lose of tie with USA in their next game.


For the USA game Warrior coach Maturana started Aklie Edwards and Silvio Spann into the wing back positions in place of Avery John and Cyd Gray (suspended) while Dennis Lawrence and Keyeno Thomas remained in the line-up as the starting central backs after their outstanding performance in the Guatemala game.

 The momentum of the warriors game in Guatemala seem to carry over into the USA game for as the game started it was apparent that USA was struggling with their team chemistry due to Coach Bob Bradly inclusions of several new and youthful players into the team after USA clinched the group A title in their 6-1 win over Cuba in their last game.


However in spite of the omission of several of their starters in the game it was not youth that seemed to be the problem for the USA team but the businesslike approach to the game by captain Dwight Yorke and his Soca Warriors teammates.


The territorial advantage was evident from the onset and as a result the USA defense was under pressure from the opening whistle. T&T striker Jason Scotland sharp turns and quick acceleration created several anxious moments around the USA net but with no scoring to create any momentum due to the lack of enthusiasm and inexperience of the Soca Warriors supporters in regards to creating any home advantage.


Needless to say USA had the chance to settle down and stringed together some effective short crisp passes. However that was to no avail since for the most part the short passes only contributed to USA ball possession and allowed the T&T defensive coverage to solidify and cut off any scoring threat.


T&T midfielder Chris Birchall as always was the work horse in the middle of the field and while Dwight Yorke systematically dropped back in his defense to relieve his defenders of the ball in an effort to create penetration, the USA defense was also up to the task.


I thought that T&T midfielders on the flanks in Carlos Edwards and Keon Daniel did not put enough pressure on the USA defense in the first half and were a bit slow of the mark which resulted in both of them having trouble getting to the bye line on a regular to serve the cross balls that was required.


However with more Makan Hislop replacing Keon Daniel after a goalless first half, the game changed. Then came the play of the game at the 61st minute when Russell Latapy the “little magician” worked some of his magic by scoring with a left footed half volley from a Carlos Edwards right side cross that dramatically rebounded off the upright and also off goal keeper Bradley Guzman and into the USA net To give Trinidad and Tobago a 1-0 lead.


USA equalized at the 74th minute on a goal scored by Charlie Davis and as play intensified Dwight Yorke converted from the penalty spot at the 79th minute as USA goalkeeper Guzan guessed dove to the wrong side as the ball entered the net to give Trinidad and Tobago an all important 2-1 win. With the announcement of Cuba 2-1 upset of Guatemala at the end of the game, there was a (fete) festive atmosphere in downtown Port of Spain.   


As the CONCACAF world Cup final scores were announced there was a big cheer for the Jamaica Reggae Boyz 1-0 victory over Honduras in Kingston. The win gave the Reggae Boyz life in the “Group of Death” and should Mexico beat Honduras in Honduras and the Boyz take care of business on November 19 against Canada in Kingston the Caribbean soccer fans down here feel that T&T or Jamaica would have a good chance of qualifying to World Cup South Africa 2010 out of the final round of six.  


USA derailed T&T 3-0 at Toyota Park 

Chicago: The long and winding road to World Cup South Africa have straightened out after game three for the three group favorites in the CONCACAF qualifiers while the struggling teams look for direction as their  cookies begin to crumble.

USA remained on track to progress to the final round of six with a comfortable 3-0 win domination of Trinidad and Tobago at Toyota Park in Bridgeview Chicago, while Mexico and Costa Rica defeated Canada and Haiti 2-1 and 3-1 respectively to approach the home stretch leading their group races with straight road ahead to the final round.

In Canada there is a little rumbling in regards to the capacity of the Canuck coach Dale Mitchell ability to lead the Canada Mens’s team and while the Mexicans bid a proper farewell to Cuauhtémoc Blanco after his retirement in Chiapas Mexico after their victory, Horace Burrell the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President announced the firing of their Technical Director Rene Simoes after the team suffered two successive losses to Mexico and Honduras.

 "I could have allowed things to go on as they are, but honestly would not be performing my duties in the way that it is expected and to push Jamaica's football forward," Burrell stated

"We are not out, first of all, and we have three games at home (remaining in the semi-finals)," he said. "We are going to get re-energised and we are going to hope for good results." Burrell is expected to name a successor to Simoes within the coming week but has emphasize


 Meanwhile the Simoes fever has hit Trinidad and Tobago and some Soca Warriors fans have been calling for the firing of coach Francisco Maturana after T&T has dropped into third place in Group 1 behind USA and Guatemala since Guatemala defeated Cuba 4-1 and moved into second on virtue of their goal difference.

To add ammunition to the fans the Soca Warriors team was on the defensive from the opening whistle as USA shredded T&T on goals by Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey at the 10th and 18th minute to take a 2-0 halftime lead as Brian Ching scored at the 57th minute with a header to seal the USA victory.


In the USA game the Trinidad and Tobago players were making bad passes with no opposing player on them and to add insult to injury they were not getting back into their proper defensive positions after the miscues which question their motivation or lack of it.


Granted Dwight Yorke the newly appointed T&T captain did not make the trip but for what it is worth the captain in the USA game would have had to lead by his play since the performance of the T&T players was less than inspiring to the dismay of the Soca Warriors fans.


The Warriors flankers in Keon Daniel and Carlos Edward were terrible in their defensive coverage with the latter player having what I consider to be the worst game I have seen him play. When you add the fact that a number of the Soca Warriors fans are of the notion that the Germany World Cup players may be the answer to the Warriors woes is mindboggling.


Jason Scotland did not do it against Bermuda, Stern John is not the answer and World Cup player Anthony Wolfe was substituted for another W-C player Densil Theobald at halftime in the USA game and there was no significant difference in Wolfe’s play to Theobald’s.  


Carlos Edwards a player of the W-C stock has not been playing up to his capabilities and with his awful performance from the start to the end of the USA game one would have to wonder if he is bothered by an injury or the fact that he was replaced at the half in the Guatemala game could have hurt his ego and affected his game physiologically.


Cyd Gray at right back has been given the T&T captaincy off and on since Aurtis Whitley has been sidelined with an injury but when you look back at Gray tenure as captaincy which includes the USA game (in Dwight Yorke’s absence) it is obvious that he has no noticeable leadership qualities in his play or otherwise since he received a red card against Haiti in a friendly and was out of position for most of the USA game with Edwards both W-C players.


There should be no secret that T&T will have to rely on their young players in moving forward since at this point of the qualifiers winning may not be a given and the young players will need to gain experience.

T&T Aklie Edwards at age 19 was one of the few bright spots on the Soca Warriors team against USA and since he is innovative, and more resilient than veteran Avery John who was out due to injury coach Maturana should have a no brainer for a decision in the selection of his left full back for the Guatemala game.


























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