Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 Team coach Brian Williams said his troops are already facing a must-win situation as the young Soca Warriors face Costa Rica in 2017 Under-20 World Cup action at the Estadio Nacional in San Jose tomorrow from 9pm TT time.
At present, Costa Rica are bottom of the four-team group after an opening 1-0 loss to El Salvador on Sunday while Trinidad and Tobago and Bermuda played to a 1-1 draw at the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa in San Juan de Tibás.
However, Costa Rica, who enjoyed more ball possession and shots than El Salvador in their meeting, are expected to be a daunting proposition for the Warriors.
“We know it will be a difficult contest because Costa Rica needs to win also and they are at home but getting a result is not impossible for us,” Williams told the TTFA Media. “Our draw against Bermuda has obviously made things difficult and our plan now is simple. We have to win the game against Costa Rica in order to really be in with a good chance of going through.
“After El Salvador defeated Costa Rica, the group has become a bit opened as all four teams still have a good chance. But anything but a win for us will make things even harder for us.”
Kathon St Hillaire scored a first half item for Trinidad and Tobago on the weekend but Bermuda capitalised on an error by goalkeeper Montel Joseph to equalise through Oneko Lowe.
The Warriors were without star striker Nicholas Dillon at that point, as he was withdrawn early in the second half with cramp. Williams believes his team can better their opening result against the “Ticos”.
“I am optimistic that we can get it right,” said Williams. “Our players know the task before them and I think once we stay focused and avoid too many errors and also take our chances on goal then we could pull it off.”
Trinidad and Tobago have defeated Costa Rica just once in a men’s World Cup qualifier, which came at the 2013 Under-17 CONCACAF Championships in Panama. Andre Fortune and Brent Sam both scored in that 2-0 win over Costa Rica, which eliminated the Central American powerhouse in the group stage.
The Trinidad and Tobago U-17s were eventually dumped out of that competition by eventual qualifiers, Panama, in the quarterfinal round.
In the current Under-20 competition, two teams from each group advance to the next qualifying stage. And El Salvador will secure one of the two automatic berths if they defeat Bermuda at the Estadio Nacional tomorrow from 6.30pm.
Should El Salvador win, then the Warriors would need a triumph over Costa Rica, who close off their group fixtures with a contest against the possibly eliminated Bermuda on Saturday.
A draw between Trinidad and Tobago and Costa Rica would not be fatal but will force captain Jabari Mitchell and his teenaged compatriots into a must-win scenario with group leaders, El Salvador, in their final group outing on Saturday.
(Trinidad and Tobago team)
Goalkeepers: 20.Montel Joseph, 1.Denzil Smith (GK);
Defenders: 2.Isaiah Garcia, 5.Taryk Sampson, 4.Shane Sandy, 6.Simeon Bailey, 8.Kierron Mason;
Midfielders: 3.Kori Cupid, 11.Noah Powder, 16.Rushawn Murphy, 7.Morgan Bruce De Rouche, 12.Joshua Sitney, 17.Stephon Marcano;
Attacking midfielders: 13.Micah Lansiquot, 19.Taofik Lucas Walker, 10.Jabari Mitchell (captain), 15.Kathon St Hillaire;
Forwards: 9.Nicholas Dillon, 14.Josh Toussaint, 18.Joshua Leach.