Coming off of a 6-1 rout of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the United States Men's National team travels to Trinidad and Tobago to face the Soca Warriors in its match second of this phase of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying.
While the USMNT is the favorite, Trinidad and Tobago won 2-1 away against Guatemala on Friday and should not be underestimated.
T&T had a respectable showing at this summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup, losing on penalties to Panama in the quarterfinals, after tying Mexico in the group stages.
The 54th-ranked Soca Warriors are led by captain and prototypical target man Kenwyne Jones. The 6'2'' striker is a Premier League veteran and currently plays for English Championship team Cardiff City. Jones is T&T's leading active goalscorer and he scored on Friday against Guatemala.
Look for Geoff Cameron to mark Jones, as Cameron is the tallest center-back on the U.S. roster. If Cameron can shut down Jones, it's unlikely Trinidad and Tobago will be able to score.
Jurgen Klinsmann's love of tinkering with his lineup notwithstanding, look for him to put out a starting XI similar to the one which featured against Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. One guaranteed starter for this match is Tim Howard. Klinsmann has told the media that Howard will start this match.
Howard will need to impress in this game, if he hopes to become the undisputed starting goalkeeper. Jermaine Jones' status is unclear after appearing to suffer a hamstring injury on Friday. If Jones is unable to play, look for Kyle Beckerman to start in his place.
If Klinsmann chooses to opt for a more defensive approach he could shift Fabian Johnson to right-back, DeAndre Yedlin to right-midfield, and Gyasi Zardes to the left wing. Yedlin still poses an attacking threat on the right wing, will track back more than Zardes, and is better defensively.
The Soca Warriors should not provide a great enough offensive threat to warrant a tactical change by Klinsmann, therefore I would be surprised to see any changes with Zardes, Yedlin, or Johnson.
Similar to many other CONCACAF teams, T&T is physical and athletic. While the U.S. is certainly an athletic team, occasionally the USMNT has trouble with physical opponents. If Jermaine Jones does not play, the U.S. will have a much tougher time winning the physical battle.
The battle between Gyasi Zardes, or any other U.S. right-midfielder, and Trinidadian left-back Mekeil Williams will be key. Williams, who plays for Guatemalan club Antigua GFC, is arguably Trinidad's weakest defender and the USMNT should look to attack him.
Away games in CONCACAF are never easy, although Trinidad and Tobago is not nearly as difficult to play in as other CONCACAF nations. T&T has a soccer specific field as opposed to the cricket pitches which many CONCACAF minnows play on.
The U.S. is far from invincible and as evidenced by the match against Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the defense is still an area of concern. Regardless, The USMNT should win this game, although the match could prove to be difficult.