EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Brian McBride scored the second-fastest American goal in World Cup qualifying, moving the United States to the brink of its fifth straight appearance in soccer’s showcase tournament.

McBride’s goal 91 seconds in put the Americans ahead, and the United States dominated Trinidad and Tobago 1-0 Wednesday night.

The United States could have blown open the game early, and the Americans played with a man advantage after T&T defender Dennis Lawrence was ejected in the 41st minute until Bobby Convey was sent off in the 88th for receiving his second yellow card. But they frittered away another half-dozen good scoring chances, making for a tense second half even though they outshot T&T 18-1 overall.

American goalkeeper Kasey Keller had his fourth straight shutout in qualifying, extending his qualifying shutout streak to 417 minutes.

The United States (5-1) moved into the lead in the final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region with 15 points, two ahead of Mexico (4-0-1), which hosted Costa Rica (2-2-1) later Wednesday. The Americans likely could clinch a berth by beating the Mexicans in their next game, on Sept. 3 at Columbus, Ohio, and they ensured themselves of no worse than fourth place – which would mean a playoff against Bahrain or Uzbekistan for a World Cup slot.

John O’Brien, the oft-injured American midfielder, made his first appearance in a qualifier since Nov. 11, 2001, at Trinidad, and started the action that led to the first goal. O’Brien took a backpass from Convey, moved upfield and played a 25-yard, left-footed pass that Convey ran onto and crossed to McBride, who knocked the ball in from about 4 yards.

It was McBride’s 29th international goal, leaving him five shy of Eric Wynalda for the U.S. record, and his 10th in qualifying, moving him ahead of Earnie Stewart for the American career lead. The only faster American goal in qualifying was by Ante Razov, who scored 74 seconds in against T&T on June 20, 2001.

O’Brien was paired in the midfield with U.S. captain Claudio Reyna for the first time since the 2002 World Cup, with Reyna playing only his second game for the national team since September. O’Brien bruised his left hip and was replaced by Chris Armas at the start of the second half.

Onyewu Oguchi had a chance in the ninth minute with goalkeeper Kelvin Jack out of his net, but Atiba Charles cleared the ball off the goal line. Landon Donovan then picked up a bad clearance by Jack in the 31st minute but was stopped by the goalkeeper, who came out to cut down the angle.

Convey had a great chance in the 38th off a nice pass by Donovan but just missed the far post. Donovan then went in alone after picking up Marvin Andrews’ bad backpass in the 41st, but Lawrence grabbed his shoulder 1 yard outside the penalty area and was ejected. The Americans had four shots starting with the ensuing free kick, three that were blocked and one that went wide.

Jack made diving stops on Onyewu’s header in the 56th minute and Convey’s hard, low drive in the 63rd, and he stopped Donovan shots in the 70th and 82nd minutes. Taylor Twellman, a second-half sub, put the ball in the net in the 86th but was called for offsides.

Notes: Convey received his first yellow card for a hard tackle in the 31st minute. He is suspended for the game against Mexico. … Eddie Lewis, usually a midfielder, started at left back but pushed forward.

AP-ES-08-17-05 2206EDT

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