Trinidad stadium no longer flooded ahead of U.S.'s crucial World Cup qualifier (Photos)

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(Photo: @ussoccer on Twitter)
(Photo: @ussoccer on Twitter)

UPDATE: All of the standing water at Ato Boldon Stadium has been cleared and the field is ready to go for Tuesday night’s game:

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The United States men’s national team is in Trinidad and Tobago on Monday getting set for a match that should punch its ticket to the 2018 World Cup. The Americans enter Tuesday’s game knowing a win would be enough to qualify, and a draw, in all likelihood, would be sufficient too.

But when the Yanks arrived at Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on Monday morning for training, they encountered some less than ideal conditions. The running track that surrounds the field was heavily flooded:

The pitch itself was waterlogged. Manager Bruce Arena called it “a little heavy and mushy.” But training had to go on. Some players walked through the water barefoot. Others were given piggyback rides by members of the team’s staff.

The team began preparing for Tuesday’s match as planned, but eventually moved to an area behind one of the goals. Arena later said that the state of the pitch precluded any real training.

Arena was confident the field would be playable on Tuesday. U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said it was draining well, and that he did not plan to raise the issue with CONCACAF or FIFA officials. A lone pump was working to remove the standing water:

The Trinidadian federation released a statement addressing the flooding, but didn’t say anything in particular of note. It did, though, reportedly include a picture from the infamous U.S.-Costa Rica match in 2013 that was played in the snow.

According to a local report, the FIFA match commissioner and the stadium’s facility manager urged Arena and the U.S. to train at a different stadium 30 minutes away. But the team still opted for Ato Boldon, as is customary for training the day before a match.

The match was originally scheduled to be played Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, the Trinidadian capital, but was relocated to the 10,000-capacity venue in Couva, in part because it costs the federation less to stage a game there.

Rain seemingly undermined that backup plan. But forecasts say the skies should be clear for Tuesday’s game, which kicks off at 8 p.m. ET (BeIN Sports, go90 app). And the pump appears to have work. The game will go ahead as planned, with no issues.

Here are some more pictures from training this morning:




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Henry Bushnell covers soccer – the U.S. national teams, the Premier League, and much, much more – for FC Yahoo and Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.

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