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Women Warriors trouble US; before narrow opening loss

Nobody’s laughing anymore.

The Trinidad and Tobago national senior women’s team made some unwelcomed headlines last week when head coach Randy Waldrum, an American native, took to Twitter to request financial assistance for his squad.

But, as the 2014 CONCACAF Championship kicked off in Missouri, the “Women Soca Warriors” came desperately close to biting the hand that fed them with a commendable performance; albeit in a losing effort.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (left) tussles with United States attacker Alex Morgan (centre) while Tasha St Louis looks on in Kansas City. Trinidad and Tobago lost its 2014 CONCACAF opener 1-0. (Courtesy Kyle Rivas/AFP)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (left) tussles with United States attacker Alex Morgan (centre) while Tasha St Louis looks on in Kansas City.
Trinidad and Tobago lost its 2014 CONCACAF opener 1-0.
(Courtesy Kyle Rivas/AFP)

Trinidad and Tobago and the United States, FIFA’s number one ranked team, were tied at 0-0 up until the 54th minute when veteran Abby Wambach, the most prolific scorer in the history of the women’s game, broke the deadlock with a header into an empty net after a cross from teammate Alex Morgan.

It was Wambach’s 171st goal from 225 international outings

Warriors goalkeeper Kimika Forbes had stormed off her line to block Morgan’s path but was unable to thwart the American’s cross. While she stood between the uprights, Forbes looked unbeatable on the night with a series of decisive stops as she kept out one long range effort from Megan Rapinoe with some help from the bar and produced two brilliant close range saves to deny Wambach and Sydney Leroux.

Most women’s teams would need a bit of luck against the USA; much less the poorly funded Trinidad and Tobago squad, which is unranked by FIFA due to spending over 18 months without competitive football before the August Caribbean Cup.

But yesterday’s contest was no shooting gallery. In front of Forbes, Trinidad and Tobago’s outfield players cleverly swapped from half-field presses to deeper zonal marking to unsettle an experienced American team that used three players, captain Christie Rampone, substitute Heather O’Reilly and Wambach, who had over 200 international caps each.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Kimika Forbes (right) makes a crucial second half save from United States' record goal scorer Abby Wambach in Women's World Cup qualifying action in Kansas City. (Courtesy Kyle Rivas/AFP)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Kimika Forbes (right) makes a crucial second half save from United States’ record goal scorer Abby Wambach in Women’s World Cup qualifying action in Kansas City.
(Courtesy Kyle Rivas/AFP)

Once in possession, the Warriors demonstrated a clear game plan too as they tried to unleash speedy wingers Kennya “Yaya” Cordner and Ahkeela Mollon, who play professionally in the United States and Sweden respectively.

Cordner was the more menacing attacker on the night and she would be disappointed not to have forced a save from US goalkeeper Hope Solo off a few decent half chances.

At the other end, there were heroes everywhere in red shirts although it was impossible to miss the contributions of Arin King and Rhea Belgrave at the back.

Captain Maylee Attin-Johnson, as always, was a calming figure in central midfield while Liana Hinds and Brianna Ryce, who both missed T&T’s successful Caribbean Cup competition in August, acquitted themselves well. To be fair, who didn’t?

Still, the Warriors must now show their ability to switch from solid defence to incisive offensive if Trinidad and Tobago is to qualify for its first Women’s World Cup.

Haiti snatched all three points yesterday with a 1-0 win over Guatemala, despite playing for more than an hour with 10 players, and the two Caribbean nations meet in a crucial play off on Friday evening at Toyota Park in Chicago.

Photo: Haiti forward Lindsay Zullo (number 9) bundles the ball over the line for the winning item against Guatemala in Women's World Cup qualifying action in Kansas City. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Haiti forward Lindsay Zullo (number 9) bundles the ball over the line for the winning item against Guatemala in Women’s World Cup qualifying action in Kansas City.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

If Haiti wins, the French-speaking islanders will move to the semi-final round for the first time.

If Trinidad and Tobago wins, then Waldrum and his ladies are halfway there with Monday’s meeting with Guatemala remaining at the RFK Stadium in Washington.

And what if Haiti and the Women Warriors draw?

Well, that depends. Can Haiti restrict the United States to just one goal?

Trinidad and Tobago left the field with zero points yesterday. But Forbes and company could reap the benefit of their dogged performance in a few days if goal difference decides which team advances to the knock out stage alongside the host nation.


Trinidad and Tobago: 1.Kimika Forbes (GK); 16.Brianna Ryce, 4.Rhea Belgrave, 5.Arin King, 20.Lauryn Hutchinson, 15.Liana Hinds (18.Khadisha Debesette 79); 12.Ahkeela Mollon, 8.Patrice Superville (14.Karyn Forbes 82), 9.Maylee Attin-Johnson, 19.Kennya Cordner; 10.Tasha St Louis (3.Mariah Shade 46).

Unused substitutes: 21.Tinesha Palmer (GK), 2.Ayanna Russell, 11.Janine Francois, 6.Khadidra Debesette, 7.Dernelle Mascall, 13.Anique Walker.

Coach: Randy Waldrum


United States: 1.Hope Solo (GK); 11.Ali Krieger, 3.Christie Rampone (captain), 4.Beky Sauerbrunn, 16.Meghan Klingenberg; 12.Lauren Holiday, 10.Carli Lloyd, 15.Megan Rapinoe (8.Amy Shilling 86), 13.Alex Morgan, 14.Christen Press (2.Sydney Leroux 61), 20.Abby Wambach (9.Heather O’Reilly 77).

Unused substitutes: 18.Ashlyn Harris (GK), 5.Kelley O’Hara, 6.Whitney Engen, 7.Morgan Brian, 17.Tobin Heath, 19.Crystal Dunn.

Coach: Jill Ellis

Photo: United States attacker and world football's most prolific goal scorer Abby Wambach (second from right) is congratulated by teammates after the winner against Trinidad and Tobago in Kansas City. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: United States attacker and world football’s most prolific goal scorer Abby Wambach (second from right) is congratulated by teammates after the winner against Trinidad and Tobago in Kansas City.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

2015 Women’s World Cup qualifiers

(Wed Oct 15)

Haiti 1 (Lindsay Zullo 70), Guatemala 0 at Kansas City

United States 1 (Abby Wambach 54), Trinidad and Tobago 0 at Kansas City


Upcoming fixtures

(Fri Oct 17)

Trinidad and Tobago v Haiti, 6.30 pm, Chicago;

United States v Guatemala, 8.30 pm, Chicago;

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the managing director and chief editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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  1. Haiti is tough and scrappy. I watched them play one player short against Guatemala yesterday and score.

  2. I love the point about trust, Ian R Briggs! Based on that observation, the coaching was very good, I agree, it’s a sign of very good leadership sorely lacking in T&T sports management at the moment. Thus last night coaching suggested the coach was not a dreamer but a realist and, although I might be wrong, my assumption of the coach’s strategy, understanding that the USA is a ‘tough nut to crack’, was to play for a draw, and or to minimize the goal difference in the case of a loss! If that was the objective, then the coaching really worked and objective achieved. That accomplishment is enough to solidify the relationship between coach and team, and strengthen the team’s confidence.

  3. Its ah Spin of of Urs of Neglect by TTFA and Its Money Hungry Administrators

  4. Analyzing the game is one thing but criticizing these girls after all they been through this week isn’t fair. Saying they are not fit isn’t their fault. No one gave them time ah day! They had I train with crap facilities and equipment. They had to beg for money to eat. These girls are playing with everything they have. It’s beyond football for these girls! I should say women. If you want to criticize them for their play for me is ridiculous. If is anyone has an excuse for their performance is these women! The same struggle will motivate them to qualify for the World Cup!

  5. Next game is Friday @ 630 vs Haiti in Chicago…… Last game is Monday @ 5pm vs Guatemala in DC… very short turn around time…only good thing is that there are direct flights to these places after evey game…. so if Tim Kee and Phillips didn’t pocket the air fare and send them by bus, we should be ok…..

  6. Now can someone post the schedule of the other matches please? I added FS 2 to my line up just to see the games.

  7. Yes we could have done better…. from a player point of view, our finishing was poor (we didn’t hit the target and force Solo to make a save even when she literally gave us the ball just outside the box..still holding meh head on that one..lol)… and the US did give us enough room to settle and play..at least at this level…. our touch on the ball was awesome by some (King is a class player and Forbes is a great reader of the game and shot blocker) but wanting with others… but from a coaching point of view, given the prep time (well lack there of), this result was flat out amazing and hat off to the girls and the coaching staff…. Coach trusted his players to do what he wanted and the players trusted to coach with the game plan and executed…. 1/0 is a fair result given the pre, during and post of this match…. IMO

  8. What am happy about they showed heart,determination and the never say die attitude and tht all we could off ask for going up against the worlds #1 so now its just a matter off taking tht same approach in the other game and get those 6points and move forward …#WSW

  9. Against all the odds our Women put on a fantastic showing and had the American commentators sitting up and taking notice and bashing their own team. Yes! There are areas for improvement, there always will but i’m just so proud of their performance against a team who in the past drop 11-0 on us that i’m beyond words for their gallantry.

  10. Is it also true that Waldrum is doing this pro bono?

  11. No one is above criticism. Brent Bennett and Ian R Briggs are correct in their technical assessments to me.
    But in principle, I don’t see an issue with saying what they might have done better.
    For me, if Mollon got past her full back a few times or if Cordner got some shots on target… We might have been in dreamland!
    Yet a great result and the team was clearly well coached.
    I keep wondering what the score would be if it was the Soca Warriors against Germany.
    And consider Waldrum met some of his players for the first time last week. Amazing.

  12. In practical terms, the score can help. Because I doubt very much that Haiti or Guatemala can keep the U.S. team down to a single goal.

  13. you have to understand.. the US trying to implement a new system with the coach (3/5/2)… and this was the 1st game of meaning that they implemented it…. what it showed them was when it matters some people are not able to perform…. even with that they still had 70%posession and 24+ shots on goal….. what TT did as a team was make them (US) try to beat them by going wide but not allowing crosses …. We did that for the most part in the 1st half…. but remember with a 70% possession edge it means that TT was chasing the ball and closing down space for virtually 30 min of a 45 min half….. I don’t care how fit you think you are… if you chase shadows for 30min you will die…. by the time you ready to pass a ball you have no oxygen going to the brain to do much more than instinctive passing….. hence in the 2nd the coach tried to play a higher line and squeeze the field more with a light press on the US back 4…. it worked as we got chances from give aways in the US defensive 3rd…we just didnt hit the target…. however, by doing that (pushing higher) we left gaps and space the the US were able to exploit (hence the goal and 1v1’s the US got in 2nd half)….. TT GIRLS ARE FIT… actually outside of our 06 WC team, probably one of the fittest I have seen represent TT… but if you chasing a game for 60 min against the calibre of the US then you will lok bad at some point…. shit even Real does look bad when they chase Barca shadows… so why should we expect more from our ladies?….

  14. It was a gutsy performance. I imagine the Americans are shellshocked by it.

  15. class is class….. let’s be real…. we came out of nowhere really with that performance last night….. it was best we caught them by surprise in the 1st game…. here is the good and bad…. we escape with a great performance by our girls… but it also wake up the US (they will not be happpy when they watch the tape of that game at all) but it also put other teams on notice about US….. so now we have to perform at that same level for every game…. Friday will let us know what type of shape these ladies are in…… but based on the organizationthat was displayed with our back 4 and the genuine speed we have wide and on top…. if the legs there TT as a team can go far…..

  16. To understand football is to understand why they got tired. When you chase and defend for 90 minutes that will happen. We were lucky to some degree but that was a gutsy performance.

  17. great battle ladies,now its time to finish d business vs haiti n guatemala

  18. I think I mentioned somewhere above that resources is an issue.

  19. I was proud of their performance and where they need improvement is fixable. It’s a good team, they played a giant and it exposed their weaknesses. That’s something to build on.

  20. and like Brent said. American Women Soccer Team and its Federation doh take kindly to been embarrassed an put to shame . That woman federation takes pride and i do mean Real pride in being the best team and number one in the world..they doh make joke with that…..so if trinidad nearly beat them. it will surely have the team and staff weary of what happened…..

  21. Vernal Damion Cadogan the point im making is.. it takes money to have these girls in an out of training and having international games that keeps them up to it…..it’s not these girls fault they don’t have Aunty Kamla TNT bank card to ease there needs and requirements so they can train consistently and have international games……………you may see faults but what i see is these girls playing with what ever little resources they had and giving it there all against the Numero 1 team in the world~~ we performed pass our input and effort to attain that result and i applaud these girls….it shows they have more guts an heart than most of our Guys when playing……..**always remember what u put it or what ur giving to put in is what you will get in return** and these girls pass what they was expected to give us in return from our mediocre Training camp and lack of international Games

  22. Live in reality Vernon. Clearly you don’t understand the world power that the US is when it comes to women’s football. It matters not that we had 15% possession that we lacked strength etc. Understanding the ability to “compete” in itself is a massive accomplishment

  23. Vernal if you didnt make the comment then it was not directed at you…. didnt know that had to be explained………. and nobody arguing…. well at least we not arguing…. just differing points of view on a game…. just like ant other game we watch and converse on the forum….. and BTW…NO ONE on this site has forgotten the mess that is the TTFA… so no passes here… even if the girls do well…. what ever they accomplish would be inspite of the TTFA and their buffoonery

  24. I don’t see these as criticisms, I see them as observations of reality.

  25. Our team was clearly exhausted long before the Americans, they also lacked the strength to win the ball at the end of a chase.
    Possession must have been no more than 15% and it was only thanks to the sheer tenacity of the Soca Princesses that they only lost by 1.

  26. cant believe people critizing a team that was barely funded and rarely had competitive games.. yet these girls play the hearts out an got a 1-0 lost and people still critzing them like they was on ah 1billion dollar budget to qualify for the world cup**sigh some people thinking makes me wonder yes**

  27. Yeah I cool but some comments make no sense.

  28. Ian R Briggs I laugh at the “week or 2 of weight training”…. perhaps for someone who never did any kind of sporting activity that comment would be acceptable but to you and I it’s laughable lol

  29. We need to stop arguing amongst ourselves and considered what is required to beat teams like the USA in the future. The problems we have stem from the TTFF/TTFA organization and the Ministry of Sport, I believe. Also we as a people need to understand the difference between positive and negative criticism which is all good, by the way, as long as it is constructive feedback. Nothing is wrong with criticism as long as it is objective which is critical for performance improvement. No sportsman/woman participates to lose but it happens and they learn from it hopefully. We as observers have to learn to agree to disagree and calm down.

  30. We should perhaps also be careful not to mistake observations with criticisms.

  31. “add a week or 2 of weight training”? horse apparently you have never lifted weights or never lifted weights in relation to playing this sport…. what you talking about there would only hurt rather than help the players…. “love their tenacity”? you watch a totally different game… what you saw was a team playing to a game plan and sticking to it…. the only mistake coach made was he tried to be a little more adventurous in the 2nd half and moved the back line up a little higher up the field. That created gaps that were not there in the 1st half…… It is very clear it have a lot of man here who only watch football but really have not idea about how to watch a game…. were there some ladies whose technique looked suspect? sure… but that was also very evident on the US team…. Did we look weak at times? sure but so did the US…… should the US have scored more? probably but we also got chances…. THE ONLY REASON THE COACH STILL WITH THIS TEAM AND DOING IT FOR FREE IS BECAUSE HE SEE LEGITIMATE TALENT AND FIGURE WITH A LITTLE ORGANIZATION THEY CAN MOVE FORWARD…. and based on what the ladies showed last night, he was right…. If their legs can hold out for the rest of the tourney we actually have a legitimate shot of qualifying…..

  32. That being said, everything I mentioned initially still applies.

  33. They made me proud as well Brent. Listen, they played the region’s best team, from a country with the organization and resources to provide for it’s team the very best in nutrition, strength training and conditioning.
    Our team was obligated to rely on the kindness of a foreign public for lodgings and meals this week.
    If there is fault to be found it won’t be in our gallant players.

  34. Amazes me about what people expect. The US players have been lifting weights since HS, thru college and now on a strict diet and strength regimen with the national team. Last week our team didn’t have taxi fare fare and food, yet we over analyzing what they don’t have.. SMH….

  35. No excuse for weakness in football. Even the small guys like Messi are strong as an ox. Coach need to add a week or two of weight training.

  36. Strength is different from fitness. I agree that we are not strong enough but please don’t criticize their fitness. Those ladies made me proud last night.

  37. Yeah conditioning.
    If you noticed when chasing the ball against the Americans they wouldn’t have the strength at the end to reach out and kick the ball, they often gave up.
    I loved their tenacity though.

  38. Conditioning dude? Really? Those ladies are super fit. Try doing what they did last night for 90 minutes? If people know football they shouldn’t talk.

  39. The Princesses need to work on conditioning, passing and making plays.
    The goalie though was boss!

  40. Yep! A moral victory…ESPECIALLY when you consider their inadequate prep…to face the #1 world-ranked team

  41. Thats how I felt watching them too Savitri!

  42. Have to Call BR We can use her at Liverpool Ladies Team

  43. Nice. at least deh dow av ah Hockey Coach

  44. She was brave. Made some point blank saves.