The Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team could not hold on to a fortuitous halftime lead at San Cristóbal this evening, as they concluded their two-match tour with a 1-1 tie against the Dominican Republic.
Recently appointed head coach Kenwyne Jones’ current record stands at three draws (two against Panama), one defeat against Dominican Republic and zero wins.
The Women Soca Warriors have generally shown improvements in each outing, as they adapt to the 3-4-1-2 system introduced by former coach James Thomas and retained by Jones. However, apart from Victoria Swift’s thoughtful marshalling of the backline and Kimika Forbes’ brave goalkeeping, there was not much to applaud besides the mentality of the visitors today.
The Women Warriors are not the sort to back down from a fight. But outside of set pieces, they rarely looked like asserting themselves on the ball.
Both coaches kept virtually the same starting teams from last Friday’s affair. Dominican Republic head coach Benito Rubido rotated his goalkeepers and replaced his right-back and centre-forward.
Jones made just one enforced change, as flanker Kedie Johnson gave way to midfielder Naomi Guerra. Johnson and veteran defender Lauryn Hutchinson have already returned to the United States.
There are not many former Trinidad and Tobago national coaches who would dare ask the TTFA to fly a player in for one of two scheduled matches, just as it would generally be considered a gamble to use so few players from your squad—as you could never be certain about the date of your next international game.
Perhaps Jones has assurances about game time for his troops that Men’s National Senior Team counterpart Angus Eve would kill for.
The rookie head coach’s faith in his core squad did not look to have been repaid in the early stages of this evening’s rainy affair. in the seventh minute, it took a wonderful defensive recovery from Swift to deny Dominican Republic forward Vanessa Kara as she bore down on goal.
In the 16th minute, Dom Rep star winger Manuela Lareo turned Liana Hinds inside-out before blasting wide at the near post. And, a minute later, Forbes was forced into a low save from flanker Lucia Marie, after defender Rhea Belgrave had been caught in possession near the half-line.
Trinidad and Tobago were not being overwhelmed. But Dominican Republic were creating the better opportunities.
Then, out of nowhere, the two-island republic went ahead. Veteran playmaker Maylee Attin-Johnson met a Hinds corner kick with a looping header and Dom Rep defender Gionvana Dionisio’s attempted goal-line clearance slammed into Belgrave and flew into the back of the net.
It was the third goal in four games for the Women Warriors and the second from a set piece.
In the 41st minute, there was a moment of controversy as referee Ada Tolentino whistled for a penalty after ruling that Trinidad and Tobago forward Kennya Cordner had handled the ball in her own area. But she then overruled herself after a word with her assistant, Angelica Santiago—although Tolentino was six times closer to the action.
Trinidad and Tobago were still ahead at the interval but that changed quickly after the restart.
As defender Chelsi Jadoo failed to clear her lines, the hosts took full advantage with Jara dribbling Jadoo to cross for the excellent Lareo to head home in the 48th minute. And it took a series of flying Forbes saves to ensure that the Dominican Republic did not find a winner, while, thankfully, defender Gabrielle Cuevas could not keep a free header down off one of several dangerous Winibian Peralta corner kicks.
Midfielder Asha James, so lively last week, barely had a sniff of the ball today. And without her the Women Warriors could not get a hold of the game.
Perhaps therein lies a clue regarding what area of the field might need some experimenting, if Trinidad and Tobago are to move from dogged to domineering.
There might have been cause for concern with the lengthy stoppages so that Forbes could get treatment from the medical staff. Jones has had four different goalkeepers in his camp since he took over, but Forbes is the only one to get playing time.
Jones would hope that his veterans are in good physical condition and form when it counts, as he has not looked too far beyond them.
To be clear, the performances have not been bad so far from the Women Warriors. But they will probably need to do better than this to get to next July’s Concacaf W Championship.
Trinidad and Tobago (3-4-1-2): 1.Kimika Forbes (GK); 4.Rhea Belgrave, 8.Victoria Swift, 3.Chelsi Jadoo; 7.Liana Hinds, 14.Karyn Forbes (captain), 10.Asha James (12.Chelcy Ralph 80), 18.Naomie Guerra (6.Kaydeen Jack 72); 9.Maylee Attin-Johnson; 19.Kennya Cordner, 11.Raenah Campbell (13.Dennecia Prince 56).
Unused substitutes: 21.Tenesha Palmer (GK), 22.Akyla Walcott (GK), 2.Collette Morgan, 5.Jaasiel Forde, 16.Tsianne Leander, 23.Chrissy Mitchell.
Coach: Kenwyne Jones
Dominican Republic (4-2-2-2): 12.Odaliana Gómez (GK); 2.Gionvana Dionisio, 19.Gabrielle Cuevas, 20.Brianne Reed, 18.Keisla Gil (5.María López 85); 8.Jazlyn Oviedo, 7.Winibian Peralta; 14.Lucia Marie (13.Daphne Heyaime 72), 21.Manuela Lareo; 9.Vanessa Kara, 17.Jazlyn Moya.
Unused substitutes: 1.Claudia Nicole Torres (GK), 3.Lynette Ureña, 4.Gabriella Marie, 6.Yoneldy Peña, 11.Alyssa Oviedo, 16.Paola Then, 10.Marianelyz Pérez, 22.Renata Mercedes, 15.Kathrynn González.
Coach: Benito Rubido
Referee: Ada Tolentino
(30 November 2021)
Dominican Republic 1 (Manuela Lareo 48), Trinidad and Tobago 1 (Rhea Belgrave 23) at San Cristóbal