The Trinidad and Tobago national senior women’s team already has one foot in the knock out stage of the 2014 CONCACAF Championship after United States-based Player of the Year, Kennya “Yaya” Corder struck the decisive goal in a 1-0 win over Haiti in Chicago.
Trinidad and Tobago finished the game with 10 players after goalkeeper Kimika Forbes, the hero in Wednesday’s narrow 1-0 loss to the United States, was ejected just after an hour.
However, the “Women Soca Warriors” held on for the result with central defender Arin King again oustanding.
Now, the United States can do Trinidad and Tobago a favour. The host nation whipped Guatemala 5-0 tonight and a similar high scoring win over Haiti would mean the Warriors can advance from the group on goal difference simply by not losing by more than than three goals against Guatemala on Monday.
A draw against Guatemala should be more than adequate to guarantee T&T’s progress with a spot at the Canada 2015 Women’s World Cup at stake. The top three teams from the eight nation tournament will advance automatically to the World Cup while the fourth team will enter a play-off against Ecuador.
No Caribbean nation has ever qualified for a FIFA competition before and Group A was always likely to be a fight between Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago for second place behind the US while Jamaica and Martinique are paired with Costa Rica and Mexico in Group B.
There was a bizarre moment last Wednesday when Trinidad and Tobago coach Randy Waldrum tweeted online for financial help to feed his team and the Haitian responded positively. The Haitian offer was eventually declined by Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee while funding for the Women Warriors eventually arrived from the appropriate sources.
Was the Haitian effort a genuine humanitarian response? Or an effort to counteract the US media attention that went to the Warriors?
Either way, the Haiti team could not find the appropriate response when it mattered; even against ten players.
Cordner, who plays professionally for the Seattle Reign Reserves, grabbed the only goal of the game with a deft flick into the far corner and in off the inside of the post after a brilliant cross from Sweden-based winger Ahkeela Mollon, who was a constant menace down the right flank.
The Haitian team pressed Trinidad and Tobago hard though and, in an intense, physical encounter, the Warriors were more sinners than saints as the fouls racked up.
And the Warriors had to endure a nervous half hour after their goalkeeper appeared to strike Haitian player Samantha Brand, while trying to sprint back to her goal area, and was shown a straight red card.
It means that the teenaged Tenesha Palmer will have the job of steering the Warriors through to the semifinals when Trinidad and Tobago faces Guatemala on Monday.
Trinidad and Tobago: 1.Kimika Forbes (GK) [Red card]; 16.Brianna Ryce, 4.Rhea Belgrave, 5.Arin King, 15.Liana Hinds; 2.Ayanna Russell (11.Janine Francois 46), 14.Karyn Forbes (20.Lauryn Hutchinson 58); 12.Ahkeela Mollon, 9.Maylee Attin-Johnson, 19.Kennya Cordner; 3.Mariah Shade (21.Tenesha Palmer (GK) 61).
Unused substitutes: 6.Khadidra Debesette, 7.Dernelle Mascall, 8.Patrice Superville, 10.Tasha St Louis, 13.Anique Walker, 18.Khadisha Debesette.
Coach: Randy Waldrum
Women’s World Cup qualifiers
Fri Oct 17
Trinidad and Tobago 1 (Kennya Cordner 37), Haiti 0 at Chicago;
United States 5 (Tobin Heath 7, 57, Carli Lloyd 46, Whitney Engen 58, Megan Rapinoe 66), Guatemala 0 at Chicago;
Thu Oct 16
Jamaica 6 (Christina Murray 2, 74, Shakira Duncan 6, Donna-Kay Henry 22, 77, Alexa Allen 71), Martinique 0;
Costa Rica 1 (Carolina Venegas 8), Mexico 0;
Mon Oct 20
Trinidad and Tobago v Guatemala, 5 pm, RFK Stadium, Washington;
USA v Haiti, 7.30 pm, RFK Stadium, Washington;
Editor’s Note: Click HERE for highlights of Trinidad and Tobago’s 1-0 win over Haiti.