Trinidad and Tobago lost their opening game of the 2021 Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship 5-3 to hosts Costa Rica this evening, despite a double from captain Ryan Augustine.
The twin island republic face two-time Concacaf champions the United States in Alajuela tomorrow and anything short of an unlikely win means coach Ramiro Amarelle’s men will not get one of two automatic spots from Group C.
However, they are still favourites to get to their fourth successive Concacaf quarterfinal once they put Turks and Caicos to the sword on Wednesday evening.
The United States spanked Turks and Caicos 11-1 earlier today.
The two best third-placed outfits from three Concacaf groups also advance to the knockout stage, and with Group A featuring just three teams—Mexico, Panama, and Belize—Trinidad and Tobago may need just one result to advance.
The Soca Warriors might have made things easier for themselves today, though. However, wayward shooting proved their downfall early on, as they failed to trouble opposing custodian Claudio Adanis.
Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Zane Coker made a string of fine early saves, only to be beaten by a volley near the end of the first period by Jonaiker Gamboa. And Coker would have felt let down by his teammates when Christian Sánchez got a clear sight on goal to double Costa Rica’s lead with a blast in the 18th minute.
In the third and final period, Augustine brought the tourists level with two firm free kicks in the 24th and 25th minutes—both befuddling substitute goalkeeper Niels Fallas by dropping right in front of him before skidding over his grasp.
But the Warriors failed to build on their skipper’s platform.
Josimar Downer should have restored Costa Rica’s advantage in the 28th minute, only to miss a free header. But, three minutes later, Sánchez blasted in his double after shrugging off T&T attacker Kevon Woodley. And burly forward Greivin Pacheco got the ‘Ticos’ fourth in the 31st minute, after beating substitute goalkeeper Jabari Gray on the second attempt.
Dominic McDougall gave the Warriors a glimmer of hope with a close range finish in the 34th minute, after industrious work down the flank by teammate Jesse Bailey. But 39-year-old veteran Pablo Calvo sealed the deal for the home team with a volley off a corner kick in the 34th minute to close the score summary.
Things are unlikely to get easier for Trinidad and Tobago against USA tomorrow. But they would at least hope to have their shooting boots on when they face fellow Caribbean team, Turks and Caicos, on Wednesday.
Trinidad and Tobago: 12.Zane Coker (GK); 5.Omri Baird, 6.Ryan Augustine (captain), 11.Kevon Woodley, 10.Dominic McDougall.
Substitutes: 1.Jabari Gray (GK), 2.Joash Baird, 3.Akinola Gregory, 4.Shallun Bobb, 7.Lemuel Lyons, 8.Jesse Bailey, 9.Hakeem King.
Coach: Ramiro Amerelle
Costa Rica: 1.Claudio Adanis (GK); 5.Frandert Arrieta, 10.Josué Sandi, 3.Jonaiker Gamboa, 9.Greivin Pacheco.
Substitutes: 12.Niels Fallas (GK), 2.Zendrick Maitland, 4.Josimar Downer, 6.Pablo Calvo (captain), 7.Jhonatan Sánchez, 8.Christian Sánchez, 11.Roger Mora.
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