Soccer Betting: Is The USMNT-Trinidad & Tobago World Cup Qualifier Worth A Wager?

Christian Pulisic

Martin Green

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 4:27 PM GMT

Tuesday, Jun. 6, 2017 4:27 PM GMT

The USA is in serious danger of failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and faces a huge game against Trinidad & Tobago on Friday. It has not failed to reach a World Cup in more than three decades, so missing out here would be disastrous. But the team badly needs points, and this is the perfect game in which to do so.

The USA made a horrendous start to its World Cup qualification bid, losing 2-1 to Mexico and then 4-0 to Costa Rica. It cost Jurgen Klinsmann his job, and Bruce Arena, the most successful national coach in US history, replaced him. The impact was instant as the USA thrashed Honduras 6-0. Arena’s decision to bring Clint Dempsey back into the fold was vindicated as the veteran striker scored a superb hat-trick, while Sebastian Lletget, Michael Bradley and Christian Pulisic completed the rout. But Arena could not keep the good times rolling and the team could only draw 1-1 away at Panama in its next game.

It leaves the USA fourth in the group, and it has to finish in the top three to be assured of automatic qualification for Russia 2018. Mexico is top on 10 points, and looks to be home and dry. But next is Costa Rica on seven and Panama on five, and both are catchable for the USA, which has four points. Honduras also has four points, while Trinidad & Tobago is bottom on three points.

It makes Trinidad & Tobago at home the ideal fixture for the USA to get its qualification bid back on track. The USA beat the island nation 4-0 in their last meeting, back in September 2016, and the previous meeting, a year earlier, finished 0-0, but that was in Trinidad. In front of their home fans, Arena’s men should be confident of getting a strong result. Trinidad & Tobago has already conceded nine goals in four games and will be unlikely to repel this dynamic USA attack for 90 minutes.

Dempsey has been brilliant since his return, but the star of this team is Pulisic. He ran the show against Honduras and he was at it again in the game against Panama, where he picked Felipe Baloy’s pocket, burst into the penalty box, shimmied round Roman Torres and crossed for Dempsey to score a tap-in. He is well on his way to establishing himself as a star at Borussia Dortmund, one of Europe’s top clubs, and he should have far to much guile for this limited Trinidad & Tobago side. In fact, USA should be too strong for its opponent in all departments. As such it has been made the heavy favourite at -900 with Bet365. To get any sort of value you will have to give USA a handicap, and that sounds like a good idea as there is every reason to expect it will do a similar job on Trinidad & Tobago to the one it did on Honduras. USA -2.5 on the Asian handicap is +102 with Bet Victor and that looks an interesting bet, especially when you consider the USA beat them 4-0 in their last game, and that Trinidad is poor away from home. In its last away game it lost 3-1 to the same Honduras side so comfortably beaten by USA. There is a reason Trinidad is bottom of the group and it will likely stay there after taking a pounding from the USA.

It is hard to ignore Dempsey in the anytime goalscorer stakes as he has scored four in his last two games for the USA and is the focal point of all its attacks. He is -175, while Pulisic looks an interesting longer shot too at +100.

It is simply a must-win game for the USA. Next up is Mexico in Mexico City and the USA is unlikely to win that one against the group leaders. It needs to rack up points beforehand. Then they have a break until games against Costa Rica and Honduras in September, and Panama and then Trinidad again in October. They need at least three more points before the break, and this upcoming game represents the best opportunity to get them. The USA should still qualify. There seems to be a renewed sense of belief since Arena was parachuted in, and the team can gain revenge against Costa Rica, beat Honduras and Trinidad and try for a win against Panama, which will be enough to see them reach the World Cup.

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