Shot heard round the world (soccer)

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Trinidad & Tobago v United States (1989)
Event1990 FIFA World Cup qualification – North, Central American and Caribbean zone – final round
United States qualifies for the 1990 World Cup
DateNovember 19, 1989
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 American soccer history, which allowed the national team to make it to the 1990 FIFA World Cup after 36 years of failed attempts to qualify. This goal was scored in the qualification game between United States and Trinidad and Tobago on November 19, 1989 in Port of Spain.

The U.S. team hadn't qualified for a FIFA World Cup since 1950, and the U.S. (having being elected 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.[1]

Before the game[edit]

The United States was one of the five nations competing in the final round of CONCACAF's qualifiers for two spots at the 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.[1] In that time, the U.S. team was formed mainly by college and semiprofessional players.[2]

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 to 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 made it to the World Cup.

The game[edit]

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.[2]

In the first minutes, John Harkes tried unsuccessfully to score. Trinidad and Tobago's Elliot Allen had two attempts on goal. At 30', 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.[2]

In the second half, the Trinidadian team went into attack in order to get a draw, but their efforts were in vain, because 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.[2]

Match details[edit]

Trinidad and Tobago 0–1 United States
Caligiuri Goal 30'
Attendance: 35.000[3]
Referee: Juan Carlos Loustau (Argentina)
Trinidad & Tobago
United States
Trinidad & Tobago:
GK 22 Michael Maurice
DF 19 Dexter Lee Substituted off 76'
DF 2 Clayton Morris (c)
DF 5 Floyd Lawrence
DF 4 Dexter Francis
MF 17 Kerry Jamerson
MF 12 Elliot Allen Substituted off 60'
MF 10 Russell Latapy
MF 8 Hutson Charles
FW 14 Philibert Jones
FW 11 Leonson Lewis
  15 Maurice Alibey Substituted in 60'
  16 Dwight Yorke Substituted in 76'
Everald Cummings
United States:
GK 20 Tony Meola
DF 2 Steve Trittschuh
DF 3 John Doyle
DF 12 Paul Krumpe Substituted off 62'
DF 5 Mike Windischmann (c)
MF 8 Brian Bliss
MF 6 John Harkes
MF 7 Tab Ramos
MF 15 Paul Caligiuri
FW 16 Bruce Murray
FW 10 Peter Vermes
  14 John Stollmeyer Substituted in 62'
Bob Gansler

Assistant referees:
Argentina Carlos Espósito
Argentina Francisco Lamolina

After the game[edit]

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, the matches still to be played between El Salvador and Guatemala were cancelled.[2]

The U.S. press, considering the significance of the result, described Caliguri's goal as "the shot heard 'round the world".[2]

After 36 years of absences from the World Cup, the American team qualified for the 1990 World Cup but its participation in the tournament was brief. It lost 5–1 against Czechoslovakia, 1–0 against hosts Italy, and 2–1 against Austria. The Americans would qualify for the six subsequent World Cups before failing to qualify for the 2018 tournament.

Trinidad and Tobago suffered a protracted crisis of confidence until their own World Cup dream finally came true in 2005, beating Bahrain in an inter-continental play-off, which made Soca warriors 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 draw against Sweden 0–0 and lost against England 2–0 and Paraguay 2–0, being eliminated in the first round.[2]


  1. ^ a b Reno, Bill (November 19, 2014). "Relive Trinidad and Tobago 0–1 USA, Nov. 19, 1989". Paste Magazine. Paste Media Group. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "'The shot' ends 40 years of hurt". FIFA. June 3, 2008. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  3. ^

External links[edit]