Shot heard round the world (soccer)

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Trinidad & Tobago v United States (1989)
Hasaely Crawford Stadium hosted the match
Event1990 FIFA World Cup qualification – North, Central American and Caribbean zone – final round
United States qualifies for the 1990 World Cup
DateNovember 19, 1989; 32 years ago (1989-11-19)
VenueHasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain
RefereeJuan Carlos Loustau (Argentina)

The "Shot heard round the world" is a term used in reference to one of the most historic goals in U.S. soccer history, which allowed the U.S. national team to make it to the 1990 FIFA World Cup after 36 years of failed attempts to qualify.[1] This goal was scored in the qualification game between United States and Trinidad and Tobago on November 19, 1989 in Port of Spain.[1]

The U.S. team had not qualified for a FIFA World Cup since 1950, and the U.S. (having been selected by FIFA in 1988 to host the 1994 FIFA World Cup) wanted to give a good impression to the world of soccer by qualifying to the 1990 World Cup.[2]


The United States was one of the five nations competing in the final round of CONCACAF's qualifiers for two spots at the upcoming World Cup in Italy, the other involved nations being Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador and Trinidad & Tobago. Mexico was disqualified due to a scandal related with the age adulteration for a youth tournament, known as los cachirules.[3] In that time, the U.S. team was formed mainly by college and semi-professional players.[4]

They started by losing 1–0 to Costa Rica, then they got revenge by beating Costa Rica 1–0, tied 1–1 against Trinidad and Tobago, won 2–1 against Guatemala and won 1–0 against El Salvador. After scoreless draws against both Guatemala and El Salvador, the situation of the group was as follows:

Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
 Costa Rica 8 5 1 2 10 6 +4 11
 Trinidad and Tobago 7 3 3 1 7 4 +3 9
 United States 7 3 3 1 5 3 +2 9
 Guatemala 6 1 1 4 4 7 −3 3
 El Salvador 6 0 2 4 2 8 −6 2

The United States needed a win in order to qualify for the World Cup because a loss or a draw would allow Trinidad and Tobago to qualify. Costa Rica had already qualified for the tournament in Italy.


The game was played on November 19, 1989 in the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain. The stadium was painted red, as an homage to the Strike Squad as the Trinidad and Tobago team was then known as.[5]

In the first minutes, John Harkes tried unsuccessfully to score. Trinidad and Tobago's Elliot Allen had two attempts on goal. At the 30th minute, Bruce Murray passed the ball to Paul Caligiuri, who dodged a rival defender and with a left-footed shot scored 1–0 for the United States. Trinidadian goalkeeper Michael Maurice waited for the ball practically standing on the goal-line, but he couldn't see it, arguing that the sun had blinded him.[6]

In the second half, the Trinidadian team went into attack in order to get a draw, but their efforts were in vain, as American goalkeeper Tony Meola was able to stop Trinidad and Tobago's attempts. After the final whistle, the U.S. celebrated the victory while Trinidad and Tobago was left in consternation.[7][8]


18th. round
Trinidad and Tobago 0–1 United States
Here Caligiuri 30'
Attendance: 35.000[9]
Referee: Juan Carlos Loustau (Argentina)
Trinidad and Tobago
United States

Assistant referees:
Argentina Carlos Espósito
Argentina Francisco Lamolina


After game, the group results were as follows:

Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
 Costa Rica 8 5 1 2 10 6 +4 11
 United States 8 4 3 1 6 3 +3 11
 Trinidad and Tobago 8 3 3 2 7 5 +2 9
 Guatemala 6 1 1 4 4 7 −3 3
 El Salvador 6 0 2 4 2 8 −6 2

Due to the political situation in El Salvador and the fact that El Salvador and Guatemala had no chances to qualify for the World Cup by winning both matches, the matches still to be played between El Salvador and Guatemala were cancelled.[10][11]

The U.S. press, considering the significance of the result, described Caligiuri's goal as "the shot heard 'round the world".[12][1]

After 36 years of absences from the World Cup, the U.S. team qualified for the 1990 World Cup but its participation in the tournament was brief. They lost 1–5 to Czechoslovakia, 0–1 against hosts Italy,[1] and 1–2 against Austria.[13] The U.S. would consecutively qualify for the next six subsequent World Cups, but failed to keep the streak going in 2018 as they lost 2–1 to Trinidad and Tobago during their final qualification game.[14]

Trinidad and Tobago suffered a protracted crisis of confidence until their own World Cup dream finally came true in 2005, after beating Bahrain 2–1 on aggregate in an intercontinental play-off,[15] which allowed the Soca Warriors to qualify to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. Yorke and Latapy (survivors of the qualifying campaign of 1989) were part of that Trinidadian team, which in that World Cup drew against Sweden 0–0 and lost against England 2–0 and Paraguay 2–0, being eliminated in the first round.[16]


  1. ^ a b c d "His goal changed soccer in the USA". October 15, 2013 – via YouTube.
  2. ^ Reno, Bill (November 19, 2014). "Relive Trinidad and Tobago 0–1 USA, Nov. 19, 1989". Paste Magazine. Paste Media Group. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  3. ^ "Carlos Albert relata cómo descubrieron a los 'cachirules'". Publimetro (in Spanish). April 12, 2018.
  4. ^ Litterer, David. "The Year in American Soccer - 1989". US Soccer History Archives.
  5. ^ Best, Earl (November 23, 2014). "Remember 19/11: Gally's post-Strike Squad torment". Wired 868.
  6. ^ U.S. Soccer (November 16, 2015). "Trinidad & Tobago GK Michael Maurice Remembers Paul Caligiuri's Shot in 1989". YouTube.
  7. ^ "'The shot' ends 40 years of hurt". FIFA. June 3, 2008. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  8. ^ "Once a year in November". TT Football. November 15, 2015.
  9. ^ Liburd, Lasana (June 19, 2015). "Cut Jack Warner and he probably bleeds brown envelopes" – via
  10. ^ "1990 FIFA World Cup qualification". RSSSF. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  11. ^ "THE SIDELINES : Strife Cancels Salvador Soccer". Los Angeles Times. November 17, 1989. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
  12. ^ French, Scott (November 19, 2014). "The Shot Heard 'Round the World: 25 years later, Paul Caligiuri recalls goal that changed US soccer forever". Major League Soccer.
  13. ^ "1990 FIFA World Cup - Teams - USA". Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  14. ^ Williams, Bob (October 10, 2017). "Trinidad and Tobago 2-1 USA: 2018 World Cup qualifier – as it happened". The Guardian.
  15. ^ "Bahrain 0-1 Trinidad & Tobago". BBC Sport. 16 November 2005.
  16. ^ "T&T captivate the Caribbean". November 18, 2009. Archived from the original on July 1, 2019.

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