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USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago

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Big game tonight.  Against Cuba last week, the USA clinched its berth in next year's Hexagonal to determine who represents CONCACAF at the World Cup.  Bob Bradley has taken the opportunity to trot out a lot of youngsters who may very well be the future of American soccer.  They'll get a stern test tonight in Port of Spain from a far more seasoned T&T team that they dismantled 3-0 in Bridgeview, IL in September.  Trinidad has called back more of its veteran players, spearheaded by Dwight Yorke.  They are fighting hard for the second slot in the Hex and it will be all the Americans do to come away with a result.

Tim Howard only allowed one goal in group play (a fluke shot from Cuba), but he's been released back to Everton.  Aston Villa benchwarmer Brad Guzan is likely to get the start between the pipes tonight for the US.  He's certainly demonstrated that he can hold his own on the national stage, but this DC United fan still would have liked to see Troy Perkins get the nod, as he's been very much in form for his Norwegian club.  The big story will be to see if Jozy Altidore and Freddy Adu get serious minutes, as well as the continued development of Jose Francisco Torres after his very promising debut.  Look for Altidore to start as the target forward, with Adu on the right and Torres on the left.  Also keep an eye on Charlie Davies, and Michael Orozco, who's looking to make people forget about the red card he picked up in the Olympics.  Sasha Klejstan and DaMarcus Beasley have been displaying great form recently.  And for the hometown crowd, Columbus Crew members Frankie Hejduk and Brian Carroll both were called up.  Bradley will like Hejduk's veteran presence and work rate against an improved Trinidad side, but it will a surprise if Carroll gets minutes tonight.

Prediction: Trinidad & Tobago 1::1 USA

 

Oh, and the Phillies have a chance to clinch their first World Series appearance in 15 years tonight against the Dodgers as Cole Hamels goes against Chad Billingsley.