Trinidad and Tobago’s senior men’s team will be looking to secure the top spot in Group C of CONCACAF semi-final round World Cup qualifying with another positive result and display in their closing match of this phase when they tussle with the United States at EverBank Field in Jacksonville from 8:15pm on Tuesday.
The match has more meaning to the hosts as they will not only be aiming to maintain their unbeaten run at the venue but needs at least a draw to guarantee their spot in the Final round and a win to top the group. Guatemala on 8 points will need to hammer St Vincent/Grenadines along with a T&T win over the US to advance as the other team from this group. T&T are currently atop with eleven points, followed by the US on 10 points and Guatemala on seven.
T&T head coach Stephen Hart and his team will have to do without the services of Russian-based defender Sheldon Bateau who is serving a double yellow card one match suspension. All yellow cards will be wiped out for the Concacaf Final round.
The team had one training session at the match stadium on Monday evening at 6pm with the Americans also training at the venue on the day. The hosts also trained there on Sunday.
“We know in the hex now but we also know that we have to be a little more efficient in the things we do especially off the ball. We had a long team meeting about it and we would like to start implementing it and look at this match as the first match of preparation for the hex,” Hart told TTFA Media on Monday.
“Both goals were preventable on Friday and we didn’t deal with the situation well enough. We could have managed the game better when we were 2-1 using our ball possession more effectively . We lost discipline and allowed them to at least have a fighting chance by coming back into the game. Obviously we are aware of this and we will be working on it as we head into this match.”
Hart added that he expects to make changes to the team for Tuesday’s encounter.
“I think certain players have shown in training that they should get a run out. I don’t want to change things extensively because I would like to keep some sort of balance but yes you’ll see some changes.”
“I think what’s more important is to have a good performance on their own personal levels and a good, collective performance as a team because like I said this is sort of the building towards the hex.”
“We have to look at October first. After a few days just to clear my head, I’ll sit down with the President (David John-Williams) and the staff and plan out October and November with regards to training camps, hotels and flights once we know who we are playing first in the Hex,” Hart added.
US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has brought in Michael Bradley and Michael Orozco after they served one-match suspensions while Newcastle United’s Deandre Yedlin will miss this encounter through suspension and Matt Beasler has been excused due to the birth of his daughter.
T&T will play in white on Tuesday night. Guatemala takes on St Vincent in the other group encounter in Guatemala City.
The way the draw for the Hex is structured, both T&T and USA will meet in the final match of the final round on Tuesday October 10th, 2017. But the winner of this current group will determine where that match takes place. If T&T finishes second in Group C the game will play in Port of Spain and if they top the group, the match will be held in the US.