The United States can secure official qualification to the 2024 Copa America as they look to finish off Trinidad and Tobago in the second leg of their CONCACAF Nations League quarterfinal matchup.
A 3-0 home win on Thursday gives the USMNT a strong aggregate advantage coming into the subsequent road match in Port of Spain, coming on a late trio of goals that put to bed an otherwise frustrating match against a heavily bunkered opponent.
The first leg victory means the narrative of today’s game is far more easy-going. Had it finished with a more even score, there would be a more uncomfortable narrative around the team’s first game back in the country of the 2017 World Cup qualifying humiliation.
Whoever emerges with a place in the Nations League semifinals also locks down a spot in next summer’s Copa America, while the defeated nation must navigate a March playoff against another quarterfinal loser to earn a spot in the all-important tournament.
MORE: Recap the first leg as the USMNT used a furious finish to down Trinidad and Tobago
The Sporting News is following the Trinidad and Tobago vs USA match live, providing score updates, commentary and highlights as they happen.
Kickoff: 8 p.m. local (7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT)
Location: Hasely Crawford Stadium (Port of Spain, Trinidad)
Referee: Walter Lopez Castellanos (GUA)
Trinidad and Tobago (5-3-2, right to left): D. Smith (GK) — S. Gomez, A. Jones, David, J. Garcia, Raymond — Telfer, Rampersad, Hackshaw — L. Garcia, Shaw.
USA (4-3-3, right to left): Turner (GK) — Lund, M. Robinson, Richards, Scally — de la Torre, Musah, P. Aaronson — Reyna, Balogun, B. Aaronson.
2 hours to kickoff: These two teams have significant history in CONCACAF play. While much of the focus today is on the USA’s return to the country of their historic flop in 2017, there’s also happy history to celebrate for the U.S. Yesterday was the 34th anniversary of the goal known as the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” scored by Paul Caligiuri in 1990, which secured qualification to the 1990 World Cup.
Caligiuri, who collected 110 caps for the USMNT across his career, scored a sensational volley in the 30th minute of a 1-0 victory at this very stadium in Port of Spain, ending a 36-year World Cup drought for the USA on the finaly day of qualifying.
Gregg Berhalter showed his team the moment and then presented Caligiuri with a commemorative jersey with the number 399, as the 399th-capped player in USMNT history.
A second booking for Noah Powder before halftime of the first leg left Trinidad and Tobago a man down for a long period of the match, and he will be suspended for this second leg as well.
Knowing they need goals to have a chance at a miraculous comeback, head coach Angus Eve could sacrifice a midfielder from the bunkered 5-4-1 in the first leg in order to pair strikers Levi Garcia and Malcolm Shaw up front for a direct approach.
Neveal Hackshaw was booked in the first leg after coming off the bench at halftime, so another yellow card here would see him suspended for accumulation in a potential Copa America playoff match if Trinidad and Tobago can’t complete the comeback here.
Trinidad and Tobago projected starting lineup (5-3-2): D. Smith (GK) — S. Gomez, A. Jones, David, J. Garcia, Raymond — Telfer, Rampersad, Hackshaw — L. Garcia, Shaw.
Trinidad and Tobago subs (12): (Lineups released one hour prior to kickoff)
Given the increased amount of injuries to the United States, the comfortable scoreline, and the potential for the pitch in Trinidad and Tobago to be less than peak condition, it’s possible that Gregg Berhalter rotates his squad heavily for this second leg, giving some regulars a much-needed rest and some others a chance to impress.
A trio of hamstring injuries has kept three regular starters out of the squad in Christian Pulisic, Tim Weah, and Tyler Adams. Pulisic’s isn’t expected to be serious, but Adams is out until at least the turn of the calendar year to 2024.
Weston McKennie took a beating in the first leg and has departed camp with knee inflammation, returning to Juventus early to recover. Johnny Cardoso was scratched before the first leg due to an ankle injury, leaving the midfield extremely thin.
USA projected starting lineup (4-3-3): Turner (GK) — Lund, M. Robinson, Richards, Scally — de la Torre, Musah, P. Aaronson — Reyna, Balogun, B. Aaronson.
USA subs (12): (Lineups released one hour prior to kickoff)
While the rest of the CONCACAF Nations League is broadcast on Paramount+ via the confederation’s rights deal with CBS, the United States matches are shown on TNT as U.S. Soccer’s deal with its domestic broadcaster takes precedent.
Meanwhile, a Spanish-language broadcast can be found on Universo, and streamed on Peacock.
Both English and Spanish broadcasts can be streamed on Fubo.