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Enter LA Galaxy: Tough CONCACAF draws for Central, Connection

Trinidad and Tobago Pro League champions, Central FC, face a nightmarish draw for their CONCACAF Champions League debut this year and, arguably, DIRECTV W Connection have it even worse.

Photo: LA Galaxy star Robbie Keane (right) and Manchester United's Phil Jones clash in a friendly fixture. (Copyright AFP 2015)
Photo: LA Galaxy star Robbie Keane (right) and Manchester United’s Phil Jones clash in a friendly fixture.
(Copyright AFP 2015)

Central were today drawn with United States’ 2014 MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy, who are led by ex-Tottenham and Inter Milan striker Robbie Keane, and Guatemalan champions, Comunicaciones.

A more famous Brit, ex-Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, will also be a LA Galaxy player by the time the MLS club visits. Gerrard played in Trinidad once before in an international friendly against the “Soca Warriors” in 2008. England won 3-0.

Comunicaciones won 3-0 against Caledonia AIA on their last visit to Trinidad, two years ago, when Paolo Suarez—the elder brother of Barcelona striker Luis Suarez—scored a hattrick.

Photo: Paolo Suarez (centre), the elder brother of Uruguay and Liverpool star Luis Suarez, scored a hattrick in Port of Spain as Comunicaciones whipped Caledonia AIA in the 2013 CONCACAF Champions League. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Paolo Suarez (centre), the elder brother of Uruguay and Liverpool star Luis Suarez, scored a hattrick in Port of Spain as Comunicaciones whipped Caledonia AIA in the 2013 CONCACAF Champions League.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Connection were pitted against Mexican champions, Santos Laguna, and the Costa Rica top flight’s 2014 Invierno winners, Saprissa.

KFC Munch Pack

Only the group winners advance to the quarterfinal round.

Yet again, the Pro League teams will be at a severe disadvantage for their meetings. While the North and Central American teams will be in mid-season, Central and Connection would have gone three months without competitive action when they take to the field.

Both of the Couva rivals have busy periods ahead off the field. Connection look set to lose star playmaker Hashim Arcia to Defence Force while more than half of Central’s first team and their entire technical staff are out of contract.

Photo: Central FC midfielder Leston Paul (left) tries to keep a grip on W Connection playmaker Hashim Arcia during the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship final. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC midfielder Leston Paul (left) tries to keep a grip on W Connection playmaker Hashim Arcia during the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship final.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

CONCACAF Champions League draw

(Group A)

W Connection, Saprissa (Costa Rica), Santos Laguna (Mexico)

(Group D)

Central FC, Comunicaciones (Guatemala), LA Galaxy (USA)

(Group H)

Montego Bay (Jamaica), Arabe Unido (Panama), DC United (USA).

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  1. Thats on the lighting for the grounds…..mani ramjohn, ato boldon, hasley Crawford and Larry Gomes….can anyone ask questions about that???

  2. This is just ridiculous….so much money wasted and same old problems. …woow

  3. 4 stadia… hope the home games can be played in trinidad for the two clubs….the checks done by concacaf on each one has gotten a F grade

  4. Again its a case of we locals not having medium to long terms objectives and just following what everyone does!! What about fifa dates? Transfer windows etc? MLS is our major market how many players we have playing there who import the national scene? Before we create or change policy we must first have clear objects and all else will fall in line!! I wonder who can forget the start stop proleague of before?

  5. The CFU tournament is in April and May. I think if the league runs from March to November it will be a best case scenario. They can even take a two week or three break in June/July to send players on trials or host foreign clubs.

  6. The Pro League changed to the European season model around 3 years ago. It made it easier to send players to European clubs. However, now it would appear that MLS is our main market, plus the season gets disrupted by Carnival, Xmas and Easter, so the format is being reviewed to see the pros and cons of moving the season. MLS has to avoid NFL so their season runs counter to Europe. But our current format helps clubs qualify through CFU. If we change to the MLS format, we would be in pre season when CFU begins, so we may not even reach Champions League!!

  7. I hope Guerra doh bow to Gerrard or anybody but make them bow on the field.

  8. Ricarda, what is it you really talking about? Did you read the trailing comments from Lasana and Travis as opposed to my response. Travis spoke about his time playing vs MLS clubs which i said cant compare to now because the MLS has grown much more than we have. Was that offensive? The reason i am qualified to say that is because i have seen just about every CCL game local teams have played and we are further behind now. Lasana spoke about 2 of the country’s top players playing with the pro league’s top team being out of contract. If the player has any serious aspirations in the game he will obviously seek to play with a better team or in a better league. Haven’t you read Rahim Sterlin’s agent saying the boy wont stay at Liverpool even if his salary was raised to 800K a week. Or Suarez’s decision to leave liverpool was because the team didnt afford him the opportunity to play Champions league. I really lost with the direction you went there yuh know.

  9. Jack was de man in charge. Dunno if they ever changed the season breaks since

  10. Definitely taking my children to see these games

  11. Why is our football on break during this time? Why can’t we play the same time as the others? Who in charge here?

  12. This would b a very good yard stick for our players coaches and team staff to see how clubs are run,players are prepared, teams organised etc unfortunately when u look at local players tactical awareness n composure it,s a sore point so anothrr area in which they can learn

  13. If you want to be the best, then you have to beat the best!

  14. I wish CENTRAL FC and W Connection the best in representing the rest of the Pro League Clubs. Our love is with you guys give a good showing

  15. Teams can purchase any player it all depends on their goals.

  16. Here what pisses me off when people like Kester Lendor could say that a team can’t rise again.
    Kester Lendor do you know if all the players aspire to play international football. Are you aware why Caledonia allowed Ataulla Guerra to go to Central.
    Thanks Lasana for being in the stadiums and having good judgments to every team. Just to correct you not Petrotrin its National Petroleum because right now the gentleman works Petrotrin and we can look like liars. He must be shocked that CALEDONIA could attract such a sponsor. Players and staff make terrible decisions sometimes and you have to expect the consequences. Travis will know what i speak of for he too represented as a player and a staff. Its so disrespectful to not even mention our names nor North East or Jabloteh.

  17. man SIS sponsoring them already they getting $$$$$$$$$$$$$

  18. You know what once again we find another trying to tell us not to believe in what we have, and that outside is better you know what when any local team plays outside opposition i am bound by my patriotism to support that team, win, loss or draw.
    Yes we have work to do here to lift our product, yes there is need to upgrade our coaches, however, not giving them a chance even before the kick off is unfair. We need to stop sitting at home and going on line and having a say and head out there and give support to the teams.
    The only way for them to have an edge is for John Public to return to the stands in true Trini style for without them there can be no going forward. So to the fans out there find your club and spend some time with them they will bring joy to you and your children if not right now but surely in the FUTURE!!!!!

  19. It would be good to face top level football, though

  20. Let them check NGC for sponsorship. They sponsoring everything left,right and center. Steups.

  21. I remember the season change to align with europe was to allow many of our players and the league itself to have the opportunity for massive trials overseas without the club losing its assets for large periods of football. But it seems that staying in the same stead as the rest of the region will prove better in the long run #liveandlearn

  22. Nothing they can’t handle

  23. If they want a paycheque above all else. Caledonia got Petrotrin to help sponsor a player’s salary this season. So why not a marquee player?
    And Jabloteh had the biggest squad in the whole Pro League. Probably over 30 players! Release four players and they can afford Plaza or Guerra.
    In fact, I think Jabloteh can be a dark horse for next season if they build on what they started this year.

  24. No chance in hell the gap is widening daily what we have here is professional jokers masking themselves as professional footballers

  25. Lasana, Cale, finished the season 2nd from the bottom and Jabloteh just don’t have the big sponsors anymore to recruits the best players & staff even so they probably won’t make it to the CCL in some time. Can’t imagine these players moving there.

  26. 1 team from each group Jomo I. Johnson

  27. My point Is Fenwick’ s tactics and motivationall skills will be tested,we`’ll see how well he fares.

  28. I was coach/player in 2009 thats when I was referring to,and Central’s squad is much better than that in central defence, also many of central’s players like Elton,Guerra, Oliver, Plaza, Marcano we’re on that team

  29. Actually Kester Lendor, there is more stability now for Pro League clubs because of Govt subvention and the ability of some teams to find sponsors when necessary.
    North East Stars, Caledonia AIA and Jabloteh could afford at least one of those players if they wanted to. They would shuffle around players or maybe get a sponsor.

  30. Travis, the MLS has grown a lot from that time you mentioned when you’ll played to where it is now. Local teams have struggled against them, They make our teams chase the ball down for long periods and this is worst with the Mexican teams from what I’ve seen in the last years.

  31. Let’s see what Terry Fenwick can do seeing as some of you think he’s the only one who understands Trinidad Football.

  32. Lasana they are free agents but who are the suitors? On the local front it is only WCFC that is a viable move for them. God forbid they are destined for Asia or Finland. These guys will probably be best advised to hold out and play in the CCL and hope for a good individual showing, Then they may gather more leverage to sell their services elsewhere. The technical staff will be in the same situation because clearly the ambitions of the coach is to work at a higher level as evidenced by his earlier move the Belgium lower leagues. I’m not sure he’ll want to miss out on an opportunity to be showcased at the CCL level.

  33. How much teams advancing per group

  34. My all star team:- Jan;Perez(NE), Jack (Cen),Williams(W),Jones; Oliver(Cen),Guerra(Cen),Cummings(NE);Plaza(Cen),Jorsling(Def),Joseph(Civic)

  35. What did you think of my all star teams Travis?

  36. They ‘ll sort it out i’m sure the minister will find a way to keep his squad in tact and even strengthen, but I welcome your objectivity,its unheard of from sports writers in Trinidad

  37. At present, Central FC doesn’t have a technical staff as far as I am aware Travis. And players like Ataulla Guerra and Leston Paul are free agents.
    So I’m not sure what Central FC might look like by then.

  38. Well we`’ll see how good the englishman is i don’t expect qualification but your home games should be competitive, Earl Jean and myself lost 1 nil vs DC & Toluca while we were still in with a chance at home and coulda win both games had we put away our chances

  39. If Paolo Suarez plays, he can potentially add bite to the game…just saying 🙂

  40. CONCACAF let’s go, always a lesson, maybe we get enough practice of quality before we meet them.

  41. I think the Pro League should consider reverting back to the old format. At least that way teams may give a better showing!

  42. But montego has an easier group?

  43. So we’ll have Stevie G visiting?

  44. When does the CONCACAF CL begins?

    • Lasana Liburd

      The fixtures have not been released yet. The CONCACAF general secretary is a bit distracted by the FBI after all… But it usually starts in August.

  45. Scotty Ranking

    Wasn’t there a proposal afoot to better align our local competitive schedule with the Central and North American leagues so that these lengthy breaks with no activity could be avoided?

    • Lasana Liburd

      Yes. But not in time for this year’s competition. They will vote on pushing back the start of the next season so that it is possible easier next year and perfect in 2017.