On a day filled with 2010 World Cup qualifying matches across the globe, the U.S. men's soccer team is in action Wednesday night, 8:00 p.m. ET at Trinidad and Tobago. It is an important match for the hosts, while the Americans will have a chance to tinker with their line-up. VOA Sports Editor Parke Brewer explains.
By virtue of a 6-1 win over Cuba Saturday in Washington, D.C. the U.S. soccer team clinched a berth in next year's final round of regional qualifying with two games to spare. The Americans top their four-team group with four wins in four matches.
That enabled coach Bob Bradley to allow some of his star players to return to their professional clubs and bring in some fresh faces.
"You try to find a balance to make sure that things that are happening and developing and growing can continue, but at the same time players that will benefit from some qualifiers now get their opportunities," Bradley explained.
Five of the 18 U.S. players who have made the trip to the Caribbean nation have never played in a World Cup qualifier. Five others have only one appearance in a qualifying match.
The game is critical for Trinidad and Tobago, which is even on five points with Guatemala after the two played to a scoreless draw on Saturday in Guatemala City. Only the top two teams from the four-team group advance to the final round, which will include six regional teams.
Costa Rica (4-0-0) is the only other CONCACAF team that has sealed a berth in the final World Cup qualifying round. Mexico and Honduras are on the verge of gaining berths.