It’s hard to forget. The last time the United States visited the city of Port of Spain to face Trinidad and Tobago, the Americans were eliminated from the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The Caribbean won 2-1 and, in the process, dealt a severe blow to the reality of those who ruled. by Bruce Arena.
The Caribbean broke a streak of seven consecutive World Cups for the Americans, who, before Russia, had not missed the most important tournament since they were left behind in Mexico in 1986.
“This is the worst day of my career. I was completely devastated; I don’t know how to put it into words. I want to apologize to all the fans who trusted us; we let them down,” Omar González lamented after the match.
The Trinidadians also came to the game with unfinished business. Going into the 1990 World Cup in Italy, the United States snapped a streak of nine consecutive World Cups without qualifying, and they did so at the expense of those from the Caribbean. On November 19, 1989, Paul Caliguri gave the country victory in the Stars and Stripes and, in the process, abandoned Trinidad and Tobago.
“In 1989, Alvin Jones’ father, Kelvin Jones, was a good left back. He was on the bench in that defeat we suffered in Port of Spain. Now, he (Alvin) has the opportunity to take revenge a few years later,” said Lasana Liburd, a well-known journalist from the Caribbean country, after the victory they got against the United States in 2017.
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The Copa América is at stake
Five years later, it’s a very different story. Although the game looked like it was going to turn around, the United States managed to salvage a three-goal victory at home and thus got back on track for a tie that seemed to be a mere formality when they played Trinidad and Tobago.
Only two players from the current generation are in the difficult moment that the United States is experiencing. One of them is Christian Pulisic, who is unfortunately out of the squad due to injury, and the other is Tim Ream, who watched the game from the bench.
“I hope he is always in our thoughts,” Berhalter said in the press conference before the first duel. “As we accept good things, we must also accept bad things. And it’s a great learning moment for us collectively, the coaches involved, and the players involved. In my opinion, it’s not about ignoring it, but about accepting it and trusting it.”
Now the pressure is not on the side of the United States. The three-goal advantage gives them a cushion to close the process next Monday and the chance to celebrate their ticket to the Copa América.
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