The United States Men’s National Team is in Couva, on the island of Trinidad, preparing for tomorrow night’s final World Cup qualifying match against Trinidad and Tobago. The USMNT is currently sitting third in the group standings, but with Panama and Honduras within striking distance, getting at least a draw remains crucial to ensure safe passage to next summer’s World Cup in Russia.

So it’s disconcerting to see the images coming out of today’s training session at the Ato Boldon Stadium, site of tomorrow’s match:

This is the ultimate in CONCACAF soccer, really, and the kind of thing that UEFA and CONMEBOL teams generally don’t have to deal with, even if their overall qualifying format is more difficult. It’s hard to imagine the field being anything close to quality by tomorrow night, especially with a few isolated storms in the forecast before then.

Of course, the USMNT does have Christian Pulisic, and if anyone’s capable of walking, running, and scoring on water, it’s him.

Bruce Arena will likely have plenty to say on the field conditions at a stadium that doesn’t normally host national team matches. The traditional stadium, in Port of Spain, has issues of its own:

It’s important to note, of course, that the United States has benefited from situations not entirely dissimilar in the past; the Snow Clasico victory over Costa Rica in Denver being a memorable example. But if the field is indeed unplayable, and CONCACAF wants them to play anyway, that could present an interesting dilemma, and one both federations are apparently contemplating:

As it stands, the United States qualifies automatically with a win. A draw would also likely mean automatic qualification, thanks to goal differential.

A loss, though, brings fourth place (and a playoff against Syria or Australia for the 32nd World Cup place) or even fifth place (out of the World Cup) into play. And while a loss against last place Trinidad and Tobago is unlikely in most scenarios, playing on a field that prevents real, actual soccer from being played is probably one of those scenarios, and it could bring a weird result into play.

[Featured image: Jeffrey Carlisle]

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.