Altidore's 3 goals spark US
NASHVILLE - Jozy Altidore became the youngest American with an international hat trick, and the United States beat Trinidad & Tobago, 3-0, last night to maintain its lead in the final round of qualifying for next year's World Cup.
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, an increasingly important part of the US roster, also scored as a substitute in the 77th minute last Saturday to start the US comeback from a two-goal deficit in a 2-2 tie at El Salvador. 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."
Altidore eclipsed the mark for youngest hat trick set in 2004, when 20-year-old Eddie Johnson scored three times as a substitute in a 6-0 win over Panama in the semifinals of qualifying.
The United States (2-0-1), seeking its sixth straight World Cup berth, leads the final round of North and Central American and Caribbean qualifying with 7 points, followed by Mexico and Costa Rica (both 1-1) with 3 apiece, El Salvador (0-0-2) and Trinidad & Tobago (0-1-2) with 2 each, and Honduras (0-1-1) with 1.