Hey everyone, thought I'd let you know that I'll be doing a running diary tonight for the U.S.-Trinidad & Tobago match. Tonight's diary should be a little different than past running commentary posts in that I'll keep it a little lighter and (hopefully) provide you guys with some entertainment along with match analysis. I hope some of you will be following along with me as we go and (if you do) feel free to share any thoughts/ask any questions you may have in the comments section.
**6:34:** Oh, crap. Well it looks like this diary is starting a tad late.Definitely thought the game started at 7:00 p.m. (where did I read that...?). No matter though, I'll just post extra often to make up for it. **6:38:** JP Dellacamera notes that Argentina are losing to Paraguay in their qualifying match. Wow. Rough night for Argentine manager Diego Maradona. If he keeps it up he'll soon be back to his familiar place in the stands; far, far away from the players on the field...
**6:43:** Tim Howard with a solid save to keep a T & T header out of the net. U.S. is looking a tad sloppy...
**6:44:** US catches a break as Cornell Glen's chip over the head of Tim Howard rebounds off the crossbar. The Yanks do respond with a good chance of their own, as Jozy Altidore rips a shot that is kept out nicely by Ince, the Trinidad keeper.
**6:51:** Oguchi Onyewu gets whistled for a foul, giving Trinidad a free kick from 25 yards out. Noel's shot is saved by a diving Howard, who promptly gets up and screams at the entire U.S. back-line. Good positive reinforcement from Tim there...
**6:55** Davies and Altidore combine nicely, freeing Davies up for a cross into the middle. Unfortunately, no US attacker is there and John Harkes (calling the game with JP on ESPN) rips the team, wondering where Clint Dempsey has gone...
**6:56:** Noel with another free kick from about the same spot as the last one. Tim Howard is still screaming at the US defense but Noel's shot goes just wide of the near post. If the US keeps giving up free kicks in dangerous positions, Noel will score. No doubt in my mind.
**7:01:** Great 1-2 between Donovan and Altidore, leading to Donovan nearly slipping the ball inside the near post of Ince, who came up with a great save. That's the final play of the first half and the ESPN cameras show some of the US players having a couple words with the referee. Gotta be careful there.
**7:02** It's break time in the islands and the teams are tied at 0. The U.S. can't be happy with their performance and Bob Bradley is likely laying into the team in the locker room. I wouldn't be surprised to see him make a change or two...
**7:05:** Just saw the US Soccer commercial featuring National team highlights set to the 1940's war tune "Over There." Pretty cool ad, we'll see if the US can produce a second half highlight or two...
**7:08:** Argentina still trailing Paraguay 1-0 as they start the second half. How big of a shame would it be to have a World Cup without the World's best player -- Leo Messi? Like seriously. Don't ruin this for me Diego Maradona.
**7:16:** Nice island music from ESPN leading into the second half. Those steel drums certainly removed all my anxiety about the match...
**7:18:** Second half gets underway and there are no changes for either side.
**7:19** Dempsey nearly picks out a streaking Altidore 15 yards out from goal. Good to see Dempsey get into the attack a little bit. He really slept walk through the first half.
**7:21:** T & T with a half chance as they get the ball to an attacker at the top of the 18 with time to turn. He wasn't able to do anything with it, but again the U.S is looking sloppy..
**7:22:** US getting into the attack a little, as Donovan almost picks out Clark with a lofted cross. Clark fouled the defender while going up for the header though, giving possession back to T & T.
**7:24:** Great ball from Altidore to Davies on a counterattack in the box. Unfortunately Charlie wasn't able to control the cross and it rolled out harmlessly. You have to love the chemistry between the two young forwards though, they have looked great together in the last few games.
**7:26:** Dempsey with a bad giveaway on the dribble. As John Harkes continues to state, Dempsey looks awful tonight. Wouldn't be surprised to see him subbed out in the next few minutes.
**7:30:** Onyewu fouls Kenwyne Jones, giving up a free kick from 30 out. Noel should take..
**7:31:** Well, I was wrong. Edwards took the free kick and blasted it wide. Why Noel didn't take that one after coming close on two free kicks earlier in the match is beyond me..
**7:32:** Holden at Feilhaber are set to come on for the US. I'm guessing Dempsey and Clark will be coming off. I like the moves by Bob Bradley, should allow the US to create a few more chances in search of a goal...
**7:34:** GOAL USA. RICARDO CLARK. So much for Rico being an offensive liability, he absolutely blasted a 25 yard shot past a diving Ince. Great goal, and he gets to stay in the game as a result, as Jozy Altidore will now come out.
Great save by Howard of a Carlos Edwards shot. It looked like Edwards shot that thing out of a cannon. Wow.
**7:38:** T & T make a sub as Keo Daniel comes on for Tinto.
**7:41:** Sorry about the confusion earlier on the American sub. Only Feilhaber came on and he came on for Altidore, not Dempsey or Clark. Dempsey has now been pushed up top for the US.
**7:43** Another sub for T & T as Baptiste comes on for Spann
**7:46:** US with a good chance but Davies hits his shot well over the bar. Poor decision by Davies, who had plenty of options inside the box.
**7:47:** Kenwyne Jones with a free header in the box, but he hits it right at Howard. The US can not give him too many of those, they really have to bear down and focus for the last 15+ minutes of this one.
**7:49:** Ching comes on for Davies. I like the sub for the US as Ching will hold the ball up well and challenge the T & T defense for every ball.
**7:51:** A solid shot by Dempsey goes wide for a corner (which Donovan promptly hits out of bounds...). Dempsey seems to have woken up since he moved up top, which is good to see. You kind of wonder why he didn't play with this kind of effort for the whole match...
**7:53:** Trinidad with a good chance as they hit a cross in but are unable to head it towards goal. They really should have done better with that, Us was vulnerable there.
And Holden comes in for Dempsey. US will likely move Donovan up top now.
**7:56:** Russel Latapy makes the final sub of the match, putting Jason Scotland on for Noel.
**7:58:** Argentina-Paraguay has gone final, with Paraguay defeating Argentina 1-0. Roque Santa Cruz and Paraguay qualify for the World Cup with the win and Argentina falls to 5th place with the loss. If Diego Maradona fails to get Argentina to South Africa he should be smacked in the face with his "hand of God."
**8:01:** Donovan almost puts it away for the Yanks, but his shot off of Stuart Holden's cross goes just over the bar. Landon really should have finished that one...
And T & T is really putting the US under some pressure. Only a minute left in regulation though...
**8:05:** US really turning the heat on now. They've come close on a few chances in the last couple minutes.
Good save from Howard on a deflected shot.
**8:06** FINAL: USA 1 - T & T 0. It wasn't necessarily pretty, but you'll take three points on the road in Qualifying every single time. Good to see some improvement from the US in the second half and the Yanks are now (at least temporarily) in first place in the group.
**8:23:** We're a few minutes removed from the end of the match and my thoughts are still pretty much the same. in my mind, it doesn't really matter that the US didn't perform too well in the match. They got the crucial three points and, at this point in qualifying, that is the only thing that counts. I thought that the best players for the Americans were Landon Donovan and Ricardo Clark. Each did very well in their respective roles and they were the two players most involved in the goal; with Donovan assisting Clark's strike.
That's all for me on this game. I'll be flipping channels and checking out the remainder of the Honduras-Mexico game -- which, if you didn't already know, has some big time implications for the American team.
I'll be back tomorrow with a Fire practice report (more on that later...) and possibly a post clearing up the muddled CONCACAF qualification situation. Let me know what you thought about tonight's commentary and don't be shy -- I want to hear what you think I can improve on with this feature.