US vs. Trinidad, Round 2, lacks intesity

Date Published: 
Milwaukee Journal

With nothing on the line, neither team can score

US ... 0
T and T ... 0

Port of Spain, Trinidad—AP—The teams were the same and so was the place, but this time nothing was on the line.

One year to the day after the United States beat Trinidad and Tobago to qualify for the World Cup, the countries met again Sunday in National Stadium and played to a scoreless tie.

An overflow crowd of 35,000 crammed the stadium on Nov. 19, 1989, but just 12,000 attended the game Sunday. There was none of the exuberance of last year, when all the fans wore red and a national holiday was declared for the Monday after the game, win or lose. This game was merely an exhibition.

Still, it was a chance for the teams and the fans to think about the memories from last year, when the game was described as the most important sporting event in Trinidad's history.

"The Trinidad fans showed again that they are among the most enthusiastic that we ever face despite the fact that it was a smaller crowd today," US coach Bob Gansler said.

Only five US starters from the 1989 game played; the remainder are with European clubs and were not recalled. Trinidad was missing two players with European teams.

The temperature Sunday was 90 degrees and Trinidad had the best of the first half, with newcomer Peter Alfred sending a hard shot that was deflected wide of the left post in the 32nd minute. Three minutes later, goalkeeper Mark Dodd saved a 12-yard header by Anton Thomas.

Marcelo Balboa had the first good chance for the Americans (8-11-1 in 1990), send a hard, low shot with 6 minutes left that goalkeeper Michael Maurice had to dive for. Two minutes later, Eric Wynalda send a hard shot from the top of the penalty area that Maurice stopped.

"It was impossible to play any kind of tempo soccer, something we have been able to do in the past," Gansler said. "There was just no pace today because of the heat and humidity."

The United States has two remaining games this year: Wednesday against the Soviet Union in Trinidad and Dec. 19 in Portugal.