US team clinches World Cup spot, exhibits love of game in Trinidad

Posted: Monday, November 12, 2001

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad -- Its World Cup berth secure, the United States finished qualifying with a lackluster scoreless tie against Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday.

The Americans clinched their fourth straight trip to the World Cup on Oct. 7 when they beat Jamaica 2-1 at Foxboro, Mass., as Trinidad upset Honduras and Mexico was held to a tie by Honduras.

At this same stadium 12 years ago, the United States qualified for its first World Cup in 40 years, winning 1-0 on a first-half goal by Paul Caligiuri, who just retired from professional soccer.

There was nothing at stake Sunday and it showed, with few scoring chances by either team. The game drew just 5,000 to Hasley Crawford Stadium.

The United States (5-3-2) finished third in the North and Central American and Caribbean region, trailing Costa Rica (6-1-2) and Mexico (5-3-2), which had a better goal difference.

Honduras (4-4-2), eliminated with a 3-0 loss Sunday at Mexico, was three points back in fourth place, followed by Jamaica (2-5-2) and Trinidad and Tobago (1-7-2).

Next up for the qualifiers is the World Cup draw on Dec. 1 at Busan, South Korea, when the teams will be divided into eight groups of four for the first round of the tournament, which runs from May 31 to June 30 in Japan and South Korea.

The United States was missing both of its regular goalkeepers and captain Claudio Reyna. Zach Thornton played in goal and twice had nice stops on Arnold Dwarika, who was the best player in the game.

Josh Wolff entered in the 66th minute as a substitute for Landon Donovan, Wolff's first game since breaking his left foot May 30. Wolff had a scoring chance in the 88th minute off a pass from Cobi Jones, but his shot was way wide.

Donovan started up front for the United States along with Joe-Max Moore, but neither created decent scoring chances as the Americans played conservatively.

Trinidad and Tobago, led by Dwarika and Stern John, had the better of the play, especially during a wide-open stretch midway through the second half.

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