Trinidad and Tobago and USA will meet in another World Cup qualifier, but unlike 1989, only USA can book a spot at the World Cup as TT will simply aim for a consolation win after a dismal run of form recently.
The teams will square off at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva from 8 pm, tonight. In 1989 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, TT only needed a draw and USA required a win to qualify for the 1990 Italy World Cup. On that occasion USA edged TT 1-0 to book a spot in Italy.
TT are out of contention for the 2018 Russia World Cup, as they lie sixth and last with three points in the CONCACAF final round of qualifying. USA are third on 12 points and a win will seal qualification. If USA lose and Panama and Honduras win tonight, the Americans will miss the World Cup. Honduras will face Mexico in Honduras and Panama will play Costa Rica in Panama.
Lawrence said he is not concerned about spoiling USA’s chances of qualifying. Rather, he wants to see his team end the campaign on a high.
“Our motivation at the moment is for ourselves, we owe it to our country to ensure that we go out and perform at a certain level. I think the motivation behind it is we have to try and stop the (poor) run that we are on.”
The TT coach plans to start building for the future and as a result some inexperienced players may feature tonight. “We need to start integrating some of the young players which we have done in the last squad. We still trying to encourage young players, but obviously the main thing is we need to go out and ensure that we put in a 110 percent performance to try and get a result.”
Lawrence said one of the keys to victory is stopping USA’s top players such as Christian Pulisic, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley.
TT captain for today’s game, Khaleem Hyland, recalled the last match against Mexico which saw TT go ahead 1-0 in the 2nd half only to lose 1-3. “It was a great performance for us defensively up until the 80th minute. One or two minor details or mistakes cost us the game and that is something we need to improve on but the effort is there as the team did everything they could against such opponents.”
He continued, “We want to stay focused and we know our situation as we prepare for the future. They (USA) have to come all out and try to get the victory and hopefully we can end the campaign on a good note by causing an upset.”