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List of Americans Abroad

Donovan leads comeback, U.S. defeats El Salvador and moves nearer to World Cup.

Midfield woes cause U.S. to fall to Mexico in qualifier at packed Azteca.

Telemundo, its mun2 outlet, will broadcast U.S.-Mexico match.

Outmanned U.S. is overwhelmed 5-0 by Mexico in Gold Cup final.

With goal in each half, U.S. moves into Gold Cup final against Mexico.

Inexperienced Americans come back to post overtime Gold Cup win over Panama.

Late goal allows U.S. deep reserves to manage Gold Cup draw with Haiti.

Reserves provide lift, U.S. blanks Honduras 2-0 in Gold Cup.

U.S. encounters little resistance and blanks Grenada 4-0 in Gold Cup.

Despite surprising lead, U.S. wilts and Brazil wins Confederations Cup.

U.S. shocks Spain, advances to Confederations Cup final, with tenacious effort.

Strong effort sends U.S. past Egypt 3-0 and to improbable Confederations Cup semifinal berth.

American shortcomings are again obvious and Brazil wins easily in Confederations Cup.

Shorthanded Americans cannot hold off skillful Italy in Confederations Cup.

U.S. survives early lapse, to rally past Honduras in important qualifier.

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Analysis

Clark strike allows U.S. to edge T&T, near World Cup berth.

By Robert Wagman
SoccerTimes

(Wednesday, September 9, 2009) -- Getting a goal from an unlikely source, the United States men slipped past Trinidad and Tobago 1-0 tonight in a CONCACAF World Cup qualifier at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, and thus moved three standings points closer to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

With two October matches remaining, the U.S climbed into first place in the region of North America, Central America and the Carribean at 5-2-1 with 16 points, ahead of Mexico (5-3-0, 15), Honduras (4-3-1, 13) and Coast Rica (4-4-0, 12). The top three finishers automatically qualify for the World Cup, while the fourth-place team faces South America's No. 5 in a playoff for a fourth berth.

A change in the lineup from the one that last faced El Salvador made a big difference tonight. Ricardo Clark started in the midfield in place of Benny Feilhaber and in the 61st minute he hit a dipping, slicing shot from 25 yards into the right side of the net for the decisive tally.

Clark was inserted to give the U.S. a somewhat more defensive look and because he was playing in front of family -- his father was born in Trinidad.

In the first half, the Americans looked like a tired bunch. If anything, they were outplayed by the Soca Warriors. Tim Howard had to be sharp in net or else the U.S. could well have found itself down by a goal or two by the interval. Except for one early misjudgment in which he was saved by his crossbar, he was up to the task and he ended up with four saves.

The U.S. showed very little offense over the first 45 minutes, at times looking like it thought victory could come while expending relatively little effort. The Americans had trouble holding the ball and made many careless passes. The second half was a different story with the U.S. coming out more determined and as time progressed, took the game to T&T. Perhaps a week of training at altitude in Utah last week, leading up to Saturday's 2-1 decision over El Salvador in the Salt Lake City suburbs, paid dividends.

"As the game wore on, our fitness was key," U.S. coach Bob Bradley said. "When the game opened up, we were able to take advantage of some of the space. We did a better job in the second half of passing the ball and keeping the ball more."

Perhaps the most interesting moment in the match came when Clark scored. Feilhaber was standing on the sideline waiting to replace him as soon as play stopped. Quickly Bradley made a change, bringing striker Jozy Altidore off instead and leaving Clark for a more defensive posture. Bradley moved Clint Dempsey further up, as he did at times during the Confederations Cup, and the extra man in the midfield allowed the U.S. to pretty much control things down the stretch.

With central defender Jay DeMerit out for a second straight match with a groin strain, Bradley went with much the same defensive pairing he used on Saturday with the exception of Oguchi Onyewu, returning to the middle after his one match yellow-cards suspension.

The U.S. defense was sound all night, especially in the second half. After a scare or two in the first half, the U.S. gave Trinidad and Tobago no good opportunities after intermission and controlled the action. .

T&T's best chance came in the 29th minute when striker Cornell Glen spun away from two American defenders and caught Howard cheating off his goal-line. Glen chipped the ball over a helpless Howard, only to see it bounce off the woodwork. Eight minutes later, midfielder Trent Noel took a free kick from 25 yards out and curled it toward the near post, only to see Howard dive and punch it away.

In each half, TG&T took a long blast, including midfielder Carlos Edwards' attempt in the 64th minute, but both went down the center and were knocked safely away by Howard. While T&T did not have a sustained attack, Edwards and Glen gave the American defense difficulty and Noel was dangerous with his set pieces.

The U.S. went into the match with seven players having previous yellow cards, but for the second match in a row were not assessed a second yellow that would have brought a one-game suspension, so the Americans will have a full complement for its next qualifier, a difficult visit to Honduras on October 10.

In a way this match was like Saturday's against El Salvador. The U.S. really did not play well, but played well enough to pick up three points and it is on the cusp of qualifying for the World Cup.

"For us, it was a very important three points," Bradley said. "We felt that it was well earned because tonight was a difficult game. A lot of credit goes to Trinidad and Tobago. I felt they put a great effort out tonight and made it very hard. We spoke at halftime and we understood the game we were in. We felt we could raise the level in the second half and we're pleased with the win."


U.S. Player Ratings:

Starters

Goalkeeper Tim Howard - 6: Was steady, making two very strong saves and controlling his box well. In the first half, he did find allow a ball to be chipped over his head, only to be saved by the crossbar, but that was his only error on the night.

Defender Jonathan Spector - 5.5: Was facing an awful lot of pace tonight and responded well. At times, he was not able to push forward as much as might have been expected, but generally he was up to the task.

Defender Oguchi Onyewu - 6: He put in a strong effort, but at times, his physical play resulted in fouls that caused problems.

Defender Carlos Bocanegra - 5.5: After a very active game Saturday, looked a bit tired. He made a error or two, but generally handled himself well in a veteran performance.

Defender Jonathan Bornstein - 5.5: Given his problems on Saturday, he perhaps was a surprise starter, but he handled himself better, making few glaring errors and was able to handle the pace well.

Midfielder Ricardo Clark - 6.5: His goal at a critical time was all important, but he also recorded a strong two-way performance, making contributions on both ends of the field.

Midfielder Michael Bradley - 6: Was a major force in the midfield, both making key defensive stops and linking up well with the attack. Stepped up his game from Saturday.

Midfielder Landon Donovan - 6.5: As usual, he was the key playing in the U.S. offense. He held the ball on the wing and found Clark on the goal. Looked a bit sluggish in the first half, but did better in the second.

Midfielder Clint Dempsey - 4.5: He had a dreadful first half, doing very little, but he was much better in the second 45 minutes, especially after being moved higher following Altidore's removal. This allowed him to play more as he does at Fulham, his English club, where he appears more comfortable.

Forward Charlie Davies - 5.5: He worked very hard without a awful lot to show for the effort. He caused problems for the defense all night, but could not get the final touch to put a shot away. He was clearly tiring by the time he came out.

Forward Jozy Altidore - 5: He received very little service and was handled rather easily by the speedy Soca Warrior back-line. He seemed to tire as the second half progressed.

Reserves

Midfielder Benny Feilhaber (63rd minute for Altidore) - 6: He helped control the midfield as the U.S. made its one-goal advantage hold up.

Forward Brian Ching (77th minute for Davies) - 5.5: He played some solid defense over the final minutes and was able to hold the ball at times when it made a difference

Midfielder Stuart Holden (82nd minute for Dempsey) - 5.5: A short, but solid appearance mainly in a defensive role. Continues to show he cam be counted on.

SoccerTimes U.S. Player of the Match: Ricardo Clark.


Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.

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