The Trinidad and Tobago national under-23 football team lost the second of its last three outings yesterday evening with a 2-1 defeat to Fort Lauderdale Strikers in Miami. As in their last defeat to Portmore United in Jamaica, the young men in “red, white and black” were undone by senior opponents.
On Wednesday, the under-23s were put to the sword by 34-year-old former Costa Rican international striker Andy Herron who opened and closed the score summary. Herron scored from the penalty spot in the 27th minute, after he was brought down by goalkeeper Andre Marchan, and then grabbed the winner in the 88th minute when he was sent clear by teammate Ally Hassan and stroked the ball through Marchan’s legs.
His two items sandwiched a 51st minute goal from national youth team defender Leslie Russell who scored with a neat glancing header off a Jayson Joseph free kick.
The game was reportedly an ill-tempered affair with the hosts unhappy with the physical approach of the Trinidad and Tobago team. Ironically, Fort Lauderdale ended the contest with 10 players after defender Tony Stahl was ejected for a rash tackle in the 78th minute.
Midfielder Marcus Joseph almost put Trinidad and Tobago ahead, late in the second half, but saw his left footed free kick clip the bar while Fort Lauderdale was also denied by the frame of the goal.
The Miami outfit was able to conjure up a triumph in the end, though.
National under-23 coach Angus Eve may feel he has benefitted from the experience not least by giving a debut to Tobago-born Columbus Crew ball winner Kevan George, who was a second half substitute.
Midfielder Jean-Luc Rochford, nippy striker Trevin Caeser and left winger Joevin Jones were also introduced in the second half when the “Soca Warriors” gave Fort Lauderdale a scare.
Eve’s starting team comprised of: team captain Sheldon Bateau, Andre Marchan, Curtis Gonzales, Leslie Russell, Daneil Cyrus, Kareem Moses, Micah Lewis, Jeromie Williams, Jayson Joseph, Jomal Williams and Jamal Gay.
The under-23 team should be boosted by the arrival of Seattle Sounders striker Cordell Cato this evening and W. Connection attacker Shahdon Winchester tonight.
W. Connection owner David John Williams refuted Eve’s claim that Winchester was late in joining the squad and insisted the player will arrive at the pre-arranged date. He declined comment on his employee’s proposed move abroad.
Connection is Trinidad and Tobago’s post prolific exporter of football talent and the club announced today that 15-year-old midfielder Matthew Woo Ling will return to England Premiership team, Tottenham, on Saturday for a 10-day trial. The Fatima College schoolboy spent five days at the Spurs in December, 2011 and was invited back for a second trial in London.
Across in Miami, Trinidad and Tobago will play its fifth pre-tournament game from 3.30 pm tomorrow against Canada’s Under-23 team in a closed door friendly at the Holiday Inn Soccer Complex.
Thus far, the young Warriors whipped Honduras 5 Stars 4-1, drew 1-1 with a combined Jamaican team and lost 2-1 to Portmore United and Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
Trinidad and Tobago is aiming to book one of two automatic spots available for the 2012 London Olympics.
The qualifying competition consists of eight team split into two groups and T&T will face Mexico, Panama and Honduras on March 23, 25 and 27 respectively in the group stage with the winner and runner-up advancing to the semi-final stage.
Cuba, Canada, El Salvador and the United States are the other four nations involved.