The U.S. men's national soccer team plays its final 2002 World Cup qualifying match at Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday. The Americans have already earned a trip to South Korea and Japan for next year's finals, but the USA will still take this match seriously.
Coach Bruce Arena says he views this final regional qualifier as a good tune up for the World Cup and a chance to look at some players who have not seen much, if any, playing time in previous qualifiers.
"This game is one in which we don't have great pressure on us, yet we do want to get the three points so we will continue to move forward," Mr. Arena says. "We'll have an opportunity to look at some other players, but I'm insistent in the fact that I think we need to make progress and look forward for this match."
Coach Arena will definitely be without either one of his two top goalkeepers, as Brad Friedel was not called in and Kasey Keller hurt his ankle. So Arena will use a goalie from Major League Soccer, either the Chicago Fire's Zach Thornton or the Miami Fusion's Nick Rimando. He will also look at some other MLS players who have completed their season.
Opponent Trinidad and Tobago is the last place team in the regional group and has no chance to qualify. The third qualifying team besides the USA and first place Costa Rica will be determined Sunday in a match between host Mexico and Honduras. Mexico needs a win or a tie to advance. Honduras will qualify only with a win.