The US national team's progression to the Hex was never really in doubt going into their match against Trinidad and Tobago in Jacksonville, Fla. Guatemala would have to overcome a massive goal differential in order for it to happen.
While Carlos Ruiz (FIVE goals) and Guatemala did their part, murdering poor St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the tune of 9-3, the US made no mistake in decimating Trinidad by a score of 4-0.
T&T — who were going through no matter what — kept it scoreless for a while, but by the 44th-minute, they couldn't help but relent to constant pressure from the likes of Christian Pulisic and Sacha Kljestan. The Red Bulls No. 10 toe-poked a scrappy rebound into the bottom corner to give the US a 1-0 lead going into the half, following up a series of American chances, most notably Pulisic's double-post.
After dominating for the first 15 minutes or so of the second half, Jozy Altidore increased the lead to 2-0 in the 59th-minute, sliming away from a defender and rolling one past a helpless Marvin Phillip. Altidore tapped in a Pulisic cross four minutes later following a set piece to clinch a dominating win for the US.
Jurgen Klinsmann then subbed in Paul Arriola and Caleb Stanko to ride out three points. Arriola managed to put one in the net in the 71st-minute, making it 4-0 in favor of the Red, White, and Blue.
Trinidad scraped out a few quality chances later in the game, but they were stoned by Tim Howard each time. Five MLS players were in the lineup for the Soca Warriors — FC Dallas's Aubrey David, Seattle's Joevin Jones, Colorado's Mekeil Williams, Orlando's Kevin Molino, and Atlanta United's Kenwyne Jones.
It was a convincing result for the Americans, and one that helped make the case to keep Pulisic and Kljestan in the starting lineup.
Here is the #USMNT Starting XI for #USAvTRI. #FinishTheJobLineup Notes: https://t.co/9dAuSp2VnV pic.twitter.com/TO6S0mQKAH
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) September 6, 2016
Trinidad and Tobago: