By: Jonathan Acosta and Josh LaSelva
Jacksonville, FL – Jozy Altidore continued his strong return to the U.S. Men’s National Team’s starting lineup, filling in the void left by Clint Dempsey’s absence.
Altidore looked extremely impressive in a two goal performance that earned him man of the match honors, and propelled the U.S. to a 4-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago. The win sends the U.S. to next round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
Back to full health, Altidore flashed the strength, pace, and skill that American fans have been longing for. His first goal showed all of that off, taking a good ball from Fabian Johnson, creating space in the box, and producing a clinical finish that pushed the American lead to 2-0 at the 59th minute.
Three minutes later, Altidore demonstrated positional awareness, making an attacking run to the far post before tapping in a low Christian Pulisic cross that killed any chance of T&T making a comeback.
Altidore wasn’t the only name people were talking about.
Christian Pulisic is less than two weeks from his 18th birthday. As an early birthday present, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann gave Pulisic his first international start at the senior level. Klinsmann says he has earned it.
He didn’t disappoint.
For the entire 90 minutes, Pulisic was the catalyst behind a dominant attacking performance, characterized by a strong partnership with the attacking trio of Altidore, Bobby Wood, and himself.
Pulisic officially ended up with one assist, on Altidore’s second goal, but played a part in all four of the American goals. His movement down the left and passing into the box eventually lead to Sacha Kljestan’s 44th minute opener, with Kljestan pouncing on a poor clearance from the Trinidad and Tobago defense before poking the ball into the bottom right corner.
In the 71st minute, Pulisic intercepted the ball in the midfield and launched a counter attack. Displaying confidence and quality, Pulisic drove at the defense before laying the ball to Jordan Morris on his right, and then proceeded to make a run into the box to latch on to a Jozy Altidore pass. Pulisic’s attempt bounced off the keeper, and fell to Paul Arriola for the easy rebound goal.
Pulisic was the headliner among a strong performance for young players making their way into Jurgen Klinsmann’s team. Arriola scored his second goal in as many caps, and Caleb Stanko made his international debut, coming on late in the second half. Jordan Morris also came off the bench to earn some valuable minutes.
The U.S. will look to continue the momentum from this game into the next round of qualifies in the Hexagonal round. The round begins with a rivalry match-up with Mexico on November 11 in Columbus, Ohio. Klinsmann wants to make a statement during that game.