USA Downs Trinidad and Tobago

The United States Men's National Team continued to roll on Saturday night, defeating an overmatched Trinidad and Tobago side 2-0 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA.

Coming off a game less than 48 hours earlier, head coach Bob Bradley opted to rest most of the starting eleven from their first game of the tournament, a 1-0 win over Guatemala. The only player to start both games for the Americans was midfielder Benny Feilhaber.

Conversely, Trinidad & Tobago didn't have the option to rest key players. Their national team - a bit of a Cinderella in World Cup '06 - has been involved in a bitter contract dispute with their country's soccer federation. Only one player has returned from last summer's squad - Densill Theobald. "It's very difficult. But it's tough for me to talk about it because the federation is upset if we mention it. For a coach, of course, you want to play with your best team," said Dutch coach Wim Rijsbergen.

Early on, it was the U.S. team getting the better chances and pelting T&T keeper Jan Michael Williams with shot after shot. The pairing of MLS forwads Eddie Johnson and Brian Ching up front continually frustrated their opponents and led to several quality scoring chances - although most of those were mistakenly flagged for offsides.

In the 13th minute, a collision between Jan Michael Williams and T&T defender Anthony Noriega resulted in a six-minute delay while Noriega was taken off the field - he was later diagnosed with a concussion and a broken jaw.
In the 29th minute, Ching found gold after Justin Mapp made a great run around the left side and crossed the ball to the middle. The Hawaiian calmly knocked it home to give the United States a 1-0 lead.

Trinidad & Tobago couldn't muster very much offensively, with the only exception being the occassional dangerous free kick from Silvio Spann. In T&T's first game of the tournament, Spann scored from 35 yards out against El Salvador with a free kick that knuckled and twisted into the top corner of the net - the most sensational goal of the Gold Cup thus far. In this game, Spann was mostly off-target.

In the second half, Brian Ching sprung Landon Donovan down the right sideline. Donovan, who came on for Feilhaber at the start of the second half, made a perfect cross to a streaking Eddie Johnson who had an easy tap-in goal to make it 2-0. With the assist, Landon Donovan became the all-time leading point-scorer in U.S. history, surpassing Eric Wynalda. Donovan now has 30 goals and 25 assists for the Nats.

The game would end 2-0 in favor of the U.S., booking their ticket into the quarterfinals. They finish up the group stage with Tuesday's game against El Salvador.

For Trinidad & Tobago, there is not much hope of moving on after dropping both of their first two games in group play. "I think the U.S. has 280 million people," said T&T coach Rijsbergen. "We have 1.3 million in Trinidad and Tobago. So there's a little difference. But we keep trying."

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