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Warriors spanked by Haiti; T&T eyes Gold Cup exit

The Trinidad and Tobago senior national football team is on the brink of an early exit from the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup after losing 2-0 to Haiti tonight at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens.

The “Soca Warriors”, who drew their Group B opener 2-2 against El Salvador on July 8, face Honduras from 9.30 pm on Monday July 14 at the BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. Only a victory would keep Trinidad and Tobago alive in the competition.

There are 12 participants in the CONCACAF tournament and only four of them go home after the first round. Yet, the Warriors are on the verge of spoiling their best ever chance to emulate Bertille St Clair’s team of 2000 by getting out of the group stage.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Densill Theobald (bottom) manages to check Haiti striker Jean Maurice's progress on this occasion. But Maurice had the last laugh with a double as Haiti defeated T&T 2-0 in the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Densill Theobald (bottom) manages to check Haiti striker Jean Maurice’s progress on this occasion.
But Maurice had the last laugh with a double as Haiti defeated T&T 2-0 in the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

Having avoided Mexico, Costa Rica and the United States in the Gold Cup draw, the Warriors gave signs of ambition in a roller coaster 2-2 draw against El Salvador. But, against Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago did not muster a single shot on target apart from a second half Kenwyne Jones header that hit the foot of the post.

A predatory double by Haitian striker Jean Maurice, who scored in the 16th and 52nd minutes, settled the contest.

Maurice, who is on loan at French top division club Le Mans from Paris Saint Germain, pulled away from marker Seon Power to score from close range in the first half after Trinidad and Tobago custodian Jan-Michael Williams parried an angled drive from dynamic 20-year-old Haiti and Nancy midfielder Jeff Louis. And Maurice was in the right spot for his second too as Warriors defender Carlyle Mitchell’s lunging clearance from a Kim Jaggy cross cannoned off the striker and across the goal line.

At the other end, Keon Daniel headed wide from a fine Joevin Jones cross in the first half while Darryl Roberts volleyed over after Jones (K) had headed down a Carlos Edwards cross in the dying minutes. But that was as good as it got for Hart’s men.

“We have to be more decisive and more penetrative in the right areas in the field,” Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart told the TTFA Media, “and in general we have to show some more passion and desire to win the ball back and to be more dynamic overall.”

The Warriors were never short of effort and there were fleeting moments when they zipped the ball around on the outskirts of the Haitian box. But they lacked the fluidity necessary to keep Haiti on its back foot and there were questions to be asked about whether the coaches made the best use of available personnel.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago's Jan-Michael Williams was the busier goalkeeper as the "Soca Warriors" fell 2-0 to Haiti. (Courtesy ESPN)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago’s Jan-Michael Williams was the busier goalkeeper as the “Soca Warriors” fell 2-0 to Haiti.
(Courtesy ESPN)

A month from now, Hart would see Jones (J) play in an advanced role for DIRECTV W Connection and he might feel a bit silly about using him at left back when his midfield cried out for creativity. Even though, to be fair, it was the previous coaching duo of Hutson “Barber” Charles and Jamaal Shabazz that started playing the Connection starlet there in the first place.

Trinidad and Tobago most prolific strikers over the last year were Devorn Jorsling and Cornell Glen. But Glen, strong, quick and skillful, did not get off the bench tonight while Jorsling was not taken to the United States at all.

Daneil Cyrus’ sudden demotion to the substitutes’ bench is another surprise considering his encouraging and athletic performances alongside Mitchell in 2013.

Hart, who was hired three weeks before the Gold Cup and after the close of the Pro League, never saw these players in their natural environment. Director of football Leo Beenhakker never involved himself in the selection of the final 23-man squad and only joined the team in Florida a week before the opening game.

It was never going to be easy for Hart and Beenhakker to show their worth with such inadequate preparation and Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee’s decision to overhaul his technical staff at the last minute may come into focus again if the Warriors are eliminated.

Trinidad and Tobago held the bulk of this Haitian team—Louis and all—to a goalless draw at the Antigua and Barbuda 2012 Caribbean Cup finals last December. Tonight’s outing can hardly be seen as an improvement on that result.

Photo: TTFA director of football Leo Beenhakker (right) makes a point to head coach Stephen Hart during a pre-tournament camp in Fort Lauderdale. (Courtesy TTFA Media)
Photo: TTFA director of football Leo Beenhakker (right) makes a point to head coach Stephen Hart during a pre-tournament camp in Fort Lauderdale.
(Courtesy TTFA Media)

After the 2-2 draw against El Salvador, Hart mentioned the phrase “ball possession” or “slack passing” 11 times in three minutes during the post-game press conference. It might have been particularly galling that his captain Densill Theobald lost possession in his own half for Haiti’s crucial second goal while the Warriors were often second best in the centre of the field.

“Haiti scored twice and we didn’t,” said Hart. “They possessed the ball at times better than us. We failed to press the ball and the shot came in and they got the rebound for the first goal.

“We played some better football in the second part of the first half but at times we were playing ball possession for ball possession sake and not to penetrate. We lacked penetration and any sort of movement in the final third to get behind them.”

Luck did not go Trinidad and Tobago’s way either as Jones (J) and Middlesbrough right back Justin Hoyte both limped off the field and might be doubtful for Monday’s decisive fixture. Aubrey David and Cyrus would probably deputise in either role while Edwards, who had a quieter time tonight, can also play either position.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago director of football Leo Beenhakker (right) makes a point to utility player Joevin Jones during training. (Courtesy TTFA Media)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago director of football Leo Beenhakker (right) makes a point to utility player Joevin Jones during training.
(Courtesy TTFA Media)

Hart and Beenhakker must shuffle the pack and find the right combinations on the field to threaten a Honduran team that was devastating on the break in a 2-0 win against Haiti in its group opener and clinical at the death to edge El Salvador 1-0 tonight.

Hart, the former Canada national coach, must face his own emotional scars against Honduras. Two years ago, Hart took Canada to Honduras needing just a draw to get to the final CONCACAF World Cup 2014 qualifying round. But Honduras thrashed Canada 8-1 and Hart’s resignation was accepted by the North American football body.

Revenge will suit Trinidad and Tobago and Hart.

“Now we must have that desire to take the game to Honduras,” said Hart. “It’s quite simple now. We have to win on Monday to stay alive.”

Trinidad and Tobago football fans would hope that a flash of inspiration from coaches and players alike, married to the commitment already shown, can make the difference against Honduras and take the Warriors into the quarterfinal stage. It will have to be an emphatic revival.

(Teams)

Trinidad and Tobago (4-2-3-1 formation): 21.Jan-Michael Williams; 17.Justin Hoyte (10.Kevin Molino 70), 20.Seon Power, 5.Carlyle Mitchell, 3.Joevin Jones (25.Aubrey David 60); 18.Densill Theobald (Captain), 8.Khaleem Hyland; 12.Darryl Roberts, 19.Keon Daniel (23.Jamal Gay 56), 11.Carlos Edwards; 9.Kenwyne Jones.

Unused substitutes: 1.Marvin Phillip, 6.Daneil Cyrus, 7.Chris Birchall, 13.Cornell Glen, 14.Andre Boucaud, 16.Kevon Carter, 22.Cleon John, 26.Curtis Gonzales, 32.Radanfah Abu Bakr.

Coach: Stephen Hart

 

Haiti (4-2-2-2 formation): 1.Frandy Montrevil; 2. Jean Sony Alcenat, 3. Mechak Jerome, 8. Judelin Aveska, 19. Kim Jaggy; 16. Jean Marc Alexandre (Captain), 13. Jean Monuma Constant; 7. Jeff Louis, 15. Yves Hadley Desmaret; 10. Jean Philippe Peguero (6.Kevin La France 63), 11. Jean Eudes Maurice (5.Jean Jacques Pierre 80).

Unused substitutes: 14.Jean Julien Jospy, 22.Ricardo Ade, 20. Olrish Saurel, 21.Wilde-Donald Guerrier, 4. Charles Herold Junior, 23.Pascal Millien, 12.Peterson Joseph, 9.Kervens Fils Belfort, 18.Leonel Saint Preux.

Coach: Israel Cantero

CONCACAF 2013 Gold Cup

Group B

(July 12)
Haiti 2 (Jean Maurice 16, 52), Trinidad and Tobago 0 at Miami Gardens

Honduras 1 (Jorge Claros 90+2, El Salvador 0 at Miami Gardens

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9 comments

  1. Mr. Liburd, What is wrong with you guys?. How can you assigned any blame whatsoever to the previous coaches for the garbage that Trinidad and Tobago is playing in the Gold Cup. You have to blame Raymond Tim-Kee and the so called coaches Leo Beenhaker and Stephen Hart,whom he found fit in his infinite wisdom to sign to contracts. The only thing that the previous coaches did wrong was to allow themselves to be “hoodwinked” by this Little Jack Warner into working for free, and Mr. Charles allowing himself to be humiliated into interviewing for an Assistant Coach’s job. Without Gally Cummings at the helm, your football is sterile, devoid of ideas, without creativity, without the right players and has all but been buried .Learn from Haiti, Panama, and even El Salvador. Where is Bahrain when you need them ? What is their Fifa ranking? 118th.

  2. I don’t understand why we are surprised we installed another puppet to the position of head coach, this is why brother Shabazz had to be removed he is a thinker and wanted the team to do the right thing. Tell these prima donnas goodbye and let the young players gain their experience. How could you play Gay before Glen? Glen scored 14 Gay scored 5. Every one knows that Jovin is much more effective coming from the right, ask Connection. We left the best left back at home Villaroel. Still we expect them to win.

    Cleon has the best record yet he sits on the bench. I thought before a tournament we wanted the in-form players. This must be a dream I am having. It makes no sense that we have a Pro League and insult all the local players by not giving them a chance. It will only demotivate them people. Nothing good can come from the decisions made for this tournament. To move forward. tough love has to be adopted. Or then do the next best thing when you are ready for a National Team to represent us; go online and import it.

  3. I saw some improvement in the fact that we created more chances in the last two games than we did in the last 16 games. However we still lack much creativity in attack and are two dependant on this target striker play. If Jones or Gay is absent our style would have to totally change. Theobald and Hyland are the wrong mix for the centre as Theobald is only a passer and is not a threat going forward. Hyland is great box to box with a high workrate and needs someone more attacking than himself since he has great defensive qualities. Loved the fact that Hoyte could swing a cross and Joevin Jones is not shy to advance and shoot. We need more aggressive play and shooting from outside to create the pressure like what Haiti did and we are too wasteful with chances and dont even get much of them on frame. We should hire a finishing coach as well.

    • Trinidad and Tobago scored 23 goals in its last 16 games under the previous administration. Much is being made of five scoreless games in 2013 but remember four of those games were away to Peru, Romania, Estonia and Belize. The Soca Warriors held Haiti goalless en route to qualifying for the CONCACACAF tournament. So it would be unfair to call Hutson Charles, Jamaal Shabazz and Derek King totally useless.

      • I never suggested that the previous coaches were useless in fact I prefer them however not their selection method which resulted in the playing style and less youthful, pacy and attacking players. I find that we were always more of a reactive team than a proactive. We need a team to score on us before we start to play well. This was the same in the 2005-2006 campaign and if we do happen to score first we go to sleep instead of continuing to attack as if we can’t believe that we actually scored a goal. I don’t think we should boast about holding Haiti scoreless before because their football has grown leaps and bounds since then.

        • It is true that you did not call them useless. Sorry if I seemed to be attributing that to you.
          It is true that Haiti has progressed since the Gold Cup. And, even before the coaching staff was overhauled, it didn’t seem like the Warriors were going forward at the desired pace.
          The past coaching staff shares some blame for that as does the team management. And so too the Ministry of Sport and TTFA for the farcical episodes before and during all our friendly games.

  4. Lester Henry

    As I noted before the Gold Cup started, the team was not properly prepared and that any positive result would simply be a “fluke” or a monumental surprise! The El Salvador game was just that: a fluke!

    It would not make any difference who the coaches were.

    But even from that first game, it was clear that: Densil Theobld was pass his sell by date, Carter was out of his depth, and the left back was a disaster wating to happen.

    The lack of the basic skills of the game (trapping and passing) continues to haunt our football and this will remain so until we get rid of the absurd notion that we produce “skillful” players!! What absolute nonsense!! I cringe whenever I hear this crap coming from our local “experts” on the game.

    Once the majority of people in the country believe that Russell Latapy was a “better” player than Dwight Yorke then we will continue to delude ourselves~ and our football will never improve beyond the ocassional “fluke” result!

  5. Congratulations to Mr. Raymond Tim-Kee for your auspicious start and the continuing ruining of Trinidad and Tobago football. I am sure that your mentor Jack Warner is proud of you, Remember as you continue Jack’s work of destruction, that Power corrupts and that absolute Power corrupts Absolutely.. And remember that the People, the Public of Trinidad and Tobago
    has allowed the Declination of its Politics and Football which its has sanctioned with its deafening silence and “Omni-Impotence”

  6. I believe that there were too many missed chances at the goal. Something must be wrong here. We should have kept the staff and let them take us to the Gold Cup