Trinidad and Tobago ties U.S. in World Cup play

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TORRANCE, Calif. (AP) -- Goalie David Vanole, the hero of the recent victory over Costa Rica, could not lift the U.S. soccer team to another win. But it wasn't his fault.

Vanole gave up a goal with two minutes left Saturday as Trinidad and Tobago tied the heavily favored Americans, 1-1, in World Cup soccer qualifying.

"It happened so fast," said Vanole of the goal by Trinidad's Hutson Charles in the 88th minute. "I don't know how they got the ball to him so fast. I just blew it."

Steve Trittschuh scored the only goal for the Americans, 1-1-1 in the round-robin regional qualifying for next year's World Cup in Italy.

Trittschuh was one of the defenders, however, who was burned on the tying goal.

"We kind of had a letdown," he said. "I don't know why, we weren't tired, but I could feel us letting down."

U.S. coach Bob Gansler, obviously disappointed with the outcome, tried to be positive about the contest.

"We showed some improvement but we still have a long way to go," he said. "We lacked tactical discipline. But we showed more composure than in the past."

The American team seemed to slow down its offense, particularly after Trittschuh's goal put it ahead. Instead of attacking, the Americans used a slow tempo, trying to move the ball around the perimeter and they got few good shots.

Trittschuh's goal came in the 48th minute and neither team seriously threatened until Charles broke loose behind the U.S. defense with time running out. After taking a pass from Clayton Morris, Charles sprinted past the American defenders, then beat Vanole on a high blast into the center of the net from 20 yards.

The contest at El Camino College was the first of the round for Trinidad and Tobago.

Vanole, who stopped a penalty shot by Costa Rica to preserve a 1-0 victory on April 30, played well and had little chance to stop Charles on the breakaway.

The goal by Trittschuh, a former Southern Illinois University player, came off an assist by Tab Ramos.

Ramos, who scored the Americans' goal in the win over Costa Rica, lofted a high pass directly
in front of the net. Trittschuh controlled the ball, feinted a shot, then boomed the ball past goalie Earl Carter from about 12 yards.

The United States is in regional qualifying with Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Trinidad. At the end of the double round-robin, in which all teams play each other home and away, the two teams with the best records will advance to the 24-team World Cup.

The United States has not been in a world cup in 40 years and, that time, the Americans got in on an invitation.