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Altidore scores hat trick as U.S. march on

The U.S. Men started Wednesday’s contest the way they ended Saturday’s controlling play from the get-go, and behind a Jozy Altidore hat-trick, defeated Trinidad & Tobago 3-0 at LP Field in Nashville. Landon Donovan provided all three assists as the U.S. maintained their place at the top of final round qualifying. The U.S. now has a break until early June when they resume qualifying with another double-date.

Altidore became the youngest American to score a hat trick. Making just his fourth international start, Altidore connected in the 13th, 71st and 89th minutes, all three times off passes from Landon Donovan.

The 19-year-old forward also scored as a substitute last Saturday when the U.S. drew with El Salvador 2-2. He has six goals in nine international appearances.

“It’s pretty cool,” Altidore said. “Most important is we came out, and the guys rebounded from the El Salvador game, and we made a statement — made a statement we are one of the teams to be reckoned with in CONCACAF.”

He eclipsed the mark for youngest hat trick set in 2004 by 20-year-old Eddie Johnson in a 6-0 win over Panama in qualifying. 

“He’s earned it,” Donovan said. “He has played well. He deserved it.”

The score flatters the U.S. a little as they were not at their best for long parts of the game, and at 1-0 T&T had a couple of chances to tie the game up. But it is a win and three points and that is what is important.

The U.S. has 7 points from 3 games and I still think that 15 points will be enough for us to qualify for South Africa next year.

Next up for the U.S. is two tough games in June. First the U.S. travels to Costa Rica on June 3rd before turning home to play Honduras on June 6th. If the U.S. can get 4 points from these two games that would be great, but I will settle for 3 points and one step closer to qualifying.