Home / Volley / Global Football / It’s not over: T&T women eye Ecuador after ET loss to Mexico

It’s not over: T&T women eye Ecuador after ET loss to Mexico

The Trinidad and Tobago women’s national senior team’s next international match will be 2,782 metres above sea level in Quito, Ecuador on 8 November 2014 at a venue once deemed medically unsafe for players by world governing body, FIFA.

But what else would we expect? A 15 minute flight to Caracas?

Over the last four months for the “Women Soca Warriors” have faced more hurdles than World Championships winner Jehue Gordon might meet in his lifetime; and yet they are still moving. Their dream of qualifying for the Canada 2015 Women’s World Cup is not over yet; just deferred.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Kimika Forbes (right) punches clear of a crowded penalty area during the CONCACAF Championships third place play off against Mexico. (Copyright AFP 2014/Mitchell Leff)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Kimika Forbes (right) punches clear of a crowded penalty area during the CONCACAF Championships third place play off against Mexico.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Mitchell Leff)

At the CONCACAF Championship’s third place play off this evening in the PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania, Trinidad and Tobago lost sight of the third and final automatic World Cup spot after falling 4-2 to Mexico in extra time.

Captain Maylee Attin-Johnson was crushed that her squad failed to hold on to a fleeting second half lead.

“The only thing I am disappointed in is the premature celebration,” Attin-Johnson told Wired868. “We got caught up in the euphoria and lost our focus.”

Mexico coach Leonardo Cuellar rested his entire midfield and forward players—six in total—in the CONCACAF semifinal on Friday. It meant that more than half “El Tricolor” had four days rest between games while the Trinidad and Tobago team, already haunted by injuries and a key suspension, got just one day off.

Cuellar would say his trick worked although his first emotion might be relief.

In five matches, Trinidad and Tobago lost just once in normal time; and that was to FIFA’s number one team on the planet, the United States. Yet, the Warriors must wait until 2 December 2014 and the second game of a two-legged tie with Ecuador to find out if it has been enough.

“We will make a happy ending to this story,” said Attin-Johnson. “We have pushed the top teams in CONCACAF to the end; and that’s with limited preparation. We have not played with our full team throughout this tournament but each player that was called upon stepped up big time.

“We have a great group of resilient young ladies and I’m super proud of each and every one of them.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago players (from left) Ahkeela Mollon, Maylee Attin-Johnson and Kennya Cordner try to close down Costa Rica playmaker and captain Shirley Cruz during the 2014 Women's CONCACAF Championship semifinal. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago players (from left) Ahkeela Mollon, Maylee Attin-Johnson and Kennya Cordner try to close down Costa Rica playmaker and captain Shirley Cruz during the 2014 Women’s CONCACAF Championship semifinal.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

The dream of becoming the first Caribbean team to qualify for a World Cup is so tantalising close that it must feel surreal.

Yet, once more, the Women Warriors found themselves chasing an opponent that was more experienced, better supported by its administration and, on this occasion, fresher.

After an opening 25 minutes in which Mexico was only marginally better, Sandro Mayor put the North American nation ahead with a neat, curling finish from inside the area after the Trinidad and Tobago defence failed to cut out a left side Monica Ocampo cross.

And, by halftime, the Warriors had not managed a single shot while there was a fresh injury scare as Attin-Johnson was stretchered to the sidelines for lengthy treatment on her ankle.

But, not for the first time, the women from the “two island republic” took full advantage of the first whiff of an opportunity. Kennya “Yaya” Cordner scored Trinidad and Tobago’s first attempt on goal with a stooping header in the 57th minute from a right side Ahkeela Mollon cross.

It was Cordner’s third goal of the competition and, up until that point, no other Trinidad and Tobago player had scored from open play. And all three of her goals came from Mollon deliveries.

“Yaya” and “Mollo” probably finish each other’s sentences by now.

Photo: Flipping brilliant! Trinidad and Tobago attacker Kennya "Yaya" Cordner scored three times in the CONCACAF Championships. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Flipping brilliant! Trinidad and Tobago attacker Kennya “Yaya” Cordner scored three times in the CONCACAF Championships.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

Mexico almost regained its advantage within seconds as Mayor shot against the bar in the 59th minute after T&T goalkeeper Kimika Forbes, uncharacteristically, failed to gather a routine ball from a corner kick.

Trinidad and Tobago was growing in confidence by then.

Coach Randy Waldrum sensed the mood and made an attacking change as teenaged attacker Anique Walker replaced deep-lying midfielder Karyn “Baby” Forbes in the 67th minute.

Mexico central defender Alina Garciamendez was forced to make an acrobatic clearance in the 76th minute with Trinidad and Tobago attacker Mariah Shade lurking as the Warriors showed not only offensive intent but know-how. And, two minutes later, Trinidad and Tobago went ahead.

This time, Cordner drove a left sided cross into the penalty area and, as utility player Brianna Ryce threw herself at the ball, the unnerved Mexican defence failed to snuff out the danger. Mariah Shade, so often the coolest player in the penalty area, took advantage with a first time finish from six yards.

Yesss! Noooo!!

Fifty-five seconds later, the lead vanished as T&T full back Liana Hinds, one of the team’s unsung heroes, mistimed her leap at a Mayor cross and Ocampos calmly headed in at the far post.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Liana Hinds (right) tries to stay close to Costa Rica playmaker Shirley Cruz during the CONCACAF Championships semifinal. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Liana Hinds (right) tries to stay close to Costa Rica playmaker Shirley Cruz during the CONCACAF Championships semifinal.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

There were no further goals in regulation time, thanks to a brilliant Forbes save off a Veronica Perez free kick. But, two minutes before the end of the first half in extra time, Veronica Corral put Mexico ahead from close range after Bryce misread another Mayor cross.

And, one minute into the second half, Bryce erred again with a loose pass on top of her penalty box. The ball was immediately relayed to Corral who clinically converted her second item.

For the tireless Bryce, it was a cruel end to a competition in which she played in four different roles in defence and midfield. Today was her first international game as a central defender due to the suspension of Rhea Belgrave and injury to Ayanna Russell.

The Warriors could not muster another goal in Pennsylvania. But they have two games left against Ecuador to set that right.

“Mexico rested six players on Friday and we still ran them hard,” said Attin-Johnson. “But Ecuador will feel it come November 8. And (hopefully) God’s will is for us to clinch qualification in Trinidad on the second (of December).

“I know the support (in Trinidad) will be incredible.”

It will be vital that the financial support comes soon, though.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (number 9) is congratulated by Dernelle Mascall (second from right) and her teammates after her successful penalty kick against Guatemala in World Cup qualifying action. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (number 9) is congratulated by Dernelle Mascall (second from right) and her teammates after her successful penalty kick against Guatemala in World Cup qualifying action.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

Last Wednesday, Minister of Sport Dr Rupert Griffith announced a $50,000 bonus for each player as reward for their efforts in the group stage. But it is more important that the team is prepared for its trip to Ecuador; and it will not be cheap.

Ecuador played three games at home in the South American qualifiers and four away. They lost ever match on the road and won all but one home game.

Ecuador’s only defeat in the thin air of Quito came to Brazil and there might be a story there worth repeating.

On September 18, Brazil won 2-0 away to Chile in its penultimate group fixture, which confirmed the team’s progress to the next round. Brazil was due to host Argentina on September 20 before playing the first match of the final group stage away to Ecuador on September 24.

Only two Brazilians who faced Chile were used against Argentina, in a game which Brazil lost 2-0. And Brazil was full-strength in Quito where the “Samba Ladies” romped to a 4-0 win.

Did Brazil play a reserve team against Argentina so as to give their first choice players an additional five days preparation at altitude in conditions that leave visitors complaining of shortness of breath?

If so, will Trinidad and Tobago match that financial investment in its ladies?

Whatever the answer—and former national women’s coach Jamaal Shabazz also has extensive experience of playing at altitude—one suspects that our women will give 100 percent. All for one; and one for all.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Lauryn Hutchinson (centre) screams for joy after scoring the equaliser against Costa Rica in the 2014 Women's CONCACAF Championship semifinal. At right is defender Rhea Belgrave. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Lauryn Hutchinson (centre) screams for joy after scoring the equaliser against Costa Rica in the 2014 Women’s CONCACAF Championship semifinal.
At right is defender Rhea Belgrave.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

“It’s been a great experience for us both on and off the field,” said Attin-Johnson, as she took a second to consider the last fortnight. “We became sisters in this tournament. The most important thing is we played with all our hearts and fought for each other.

“It’s been a tremendous ride but we know it is not over.”

(Teams)

Trinidad and Tobago: 1.Kimika Forbes (GK); 15.Liana Hinds, 16.Brianna Ryce, 5.Arin King, 20.Lauryn Hutchinson (8.Patrice Superville 93), 14.Karyn Forbes, 9.Maylee Attin-Johnson (captain), 6.Khadidra Debessette (10.Tasha St Louis 106), 12.Ahkeela Mollon, 19.Kennya Cordner, 3.Mariah Shade,

Unused substitutes: 21.Tenesha Palmer (GK), 2.Ayanna Russell, 7.Dernelle Mascall, 11.Janine Francois, 13.Anique Walker, 18.Khadisha Debessette.

Coach: Randy Waldrum

 

Mexico: 12.Pamela Tojonor (GK); 13.Kenti Robles, 4.Alina Garciamendez, 15.Christina Murillo, 3.Bianca Sierra; 10.Sandra Mayor, 17.Veronica Perez (18.Dinora Garza 114), 8.Teresa Noyola (7.Lydia Rangel 48), 16.Karla Nieto, 11.Monica Ocampo (19.Tanya Samarzich 106), 9.Veronica Corral.

Unused substitutes: 1.Cecilia Santiago (GK), 2.Ariana Romero, 5.Paulina Solis, 6.Liliana Mercado, 14.Monica Alvarado, 20.Luz Duarte.

Coach: Leonardo Cuellar

 

CONCACAF Championship

(Sun Oct 26)

Third Place Play Off

Mexico 4 (Sandra Mayor 24, Monica Ocampo 79, Veronica Corral 104, 106), Trinidad and Tobago 2 (Kennya Cordner 57, Mariah Shade 78) in Chester;

Final

United States 6 (Abby Wambach 4, 35, 41, 71, Carli Lloyd 18, Sydney Leroux 73), Costa Rica 0 in Chester

 

FIFA Play Off

Ecuador v Trinidad and Tobago, Nov 8, Quito, Ecuador;

Trinidad and Tobago v Ecuador, Dec 2, Port of Spain, Trinidad.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and 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.

Check Also

Warrick: De Four should look in the mirror for cause of Women’s Olympic fiasco, not blame WOLF

“A bad carpenter blames his tools… Mr [Stephan] DeFour, you should not only apologise to …

58 comments

  1. What hole Shaun Fuentes suddenly came out of?? All of a sudden he ready to talk?? They so damn shameless it ain’t funny. VIP reception et al. Whey they find the money for dat?? Eh?? Sure that pappyshow cost more than the $500. US they didn’t give them. Unfortunately these Girls have to suck salt with these bandwagonists to achieve theirs and TnT’s dream. Stay focused Soca Warriors. We know you can do it. Doh let that bunch chain up yuh heads.

  2. Big interview eh. Man the colleges better release these players. It’s up to the school and teachers man. Some teachers do not care about athletics. So they have zero tolerance. Some are cooler than that.

  3. one thing we do know is that Ecuador does not like to play at sea level..lol… so if we can limit the damage and come back home with a draw or even being down 1/0 or 2/0 we will still give ourselves a fighting chance to beat them in trini… tough to defend for 90 min in that altitude with little prep… but if we can get 1 early and sit back nice and tight, we can even sneak out of there with a win…..

  4. Congratulations girls, the team did very well considering the obstacles. Continue to push forward!

  5. Qualifying on home soil will be ‘the bomb’ despite the acclimatisation anxieties. Our ladies have run with the best of the heifers and have proven themselves. It all comes down to tactics and strategy. The pressure is on Ecuador because they have to score three clear goals at home and at least draw or score 1 in T&T. T&T, on the other hand, can afford to play with 10 ladies and walk out a 0-0 or a 0-1 losing scoreline away and return home as the dry season starts where T&T is more dangerous at home and are a 5-0 team on wet, sluggish surfaces. It was not a good gamble to start recovering players with so many chances of qualifying still to play. We can only hope that these influential players have not been made worse for the last hurrah. Also, it would only be moronic for the simple defensive adjustment (despite the others) not to be made of playing Arin King on the right and not the left of centre defence when there is no defensive midfielder. Nevertheless, the above-mentioned and the humidity inside a packed Hasely Crawford are the challenges Ecuador will have to deal with. I won’t mind if Randy tweets for a shut out on the road instead!

  6. Lets hope for a draw in Ecuador and then we could rest it on them in TnT. Our Girls are strong willed and determined. They could pull that off.

  7. Oh Lawd!! Wonder how much money pass for that change of heart . They’re so damn corrupt it’s obscene. SMH!!

  8. My concern is that Tim Kee..a local Chinese..continues to cling to Tradition and send the team away on ‘trus’ again as he did in this competition…

  9. When FIFA banned games at Quito, Ecuador, which is T&T’s next destination: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6697159.stm

  10. Lol. Yeah. They would be aware. But there is such little time. It really is unfair for Ecuador to have that advantage.
    There is two weeks between our final CONCACAF game and the first leg at altitude. But then there is a month before the second leg.
    If we played in Ecuador second, we could have adjusted much easier.
    That damn FIFA draw didn’t do the girls any favours.

  11. So you think the T&TFA are aware that some of these venues are a bit, er, high?

  12. Failing this, the Ministry of Sport can buy each girl an altitude tent or hypobaric chamber to sleep in :-/

  13. How can athletes who live at sea level prepare for a competition at altitude?

    One approach is to compete within 24 hours of arrival at altitude. Not much acclimatization will have taken place but most of the classical symptoms of altitude sickness will not have had time to manifest. After the intial 24 hours, dehydration and sleep disturbances become more prominent.

    An alternative option is to train at a higher altitude for at least 2 weeks prior to competition. Although full acclimatization to altitude takes 4 to 6 weeks, many of the physiological adaptations occur in the first 2 weeks and the more severe disturbancs should have settled. It is important to remember that during the intial days at altitude work capacity is reduced, so athletes should train at 60-70% of sea level VO2 max and build up gradually over 10-14 days.

  14. Acclimatization to Altitude

    It takes approximately two weeks to adapt to the changes associated with the hypobaric conditions at 2268m (7500ft), roughly that of Mexico City (1). Every 610m (2000ft) increase requires an additional week of acclimatization to altitude (1). But no matter how long an individual lives at altitude, they never fully compensate for the lack of oxygen and never regain the level of aerobic power or endurance performance they could at sea level.

  15. Why is FIFA still allowing matches to be played there?? Ok i got it! It’s FIFA where money rules.

  16. “Arrive at your exercise destination either two weeks before your event, or the night before. Buch reports that most people need to 10 to 14 days to acclimate to a higher altitude. The higher the altitude, the bigger the adjustment your body has to make. The effects of altitude will multiply during the period your body adjusts. In other words, you could feel worse before you feel better. So if you’re not able to arrive at the area early, show up the night before your event. This will minimize the effect altitude will have on your body.”

  17. I think the get it, play and get out approach was tried and failed too under Ian Porterfield. I know Jamaal Shabazz went there a few times with Caledonia and Guyana. Maybe he can share his thoughts.
    I think roughly two weeks have done teams well in the past. I’m thinking about the Confederations Cup held there. I’m not sure of the preparation when they hosted the World Cup.

  18. you are correct Kestor it is not….. not at that type of altitude…. but anytime in Mexico will help with understanding what it feels like to have no oxygen and still have to run… also help with game planning….. so anything that can help them understand game conditions would be a plus…. what we don’t want, is we don’t at least attempt to prepare properly and have to come back to Trinidad down 4 or 5 goals….

  19. I’m not sure if 2 weeks is enough time to acclimate. My understanding is that it can take as much as 4 – 6 weeks and anything less is actually counter productive. Our MNTs in the recent past have adopted the get in, play and get out approach and some have had more success than teams of the past. We can find the expertise here to help with this, local coaches and teams have had to deal with it and Anton spent 3 months for a FIFA course there. They might all prove valuable resources.

  20. If the Ministry of Sport has not received the plan and the request for funding from TTFA by now, then they need to start kicking butt because the athletes and technical staff should not be made to suffer. The players have already sacrificed a lot of their time away from their families, studies and jobs etc to put T and T on the world stage and they deserve to be stress free in order to focus.

  21. Should we hold our breaths Lasana?

  22. All the bandwagonist gone…smfh………let’s go girls !!!!

  23. I understand that the idea of a training camp in Mexico City has been floated. Sounds like a good idea.
    Now let’s see the follow through.

  24. These Women have grit and tenacity and am sure with the proper backing they will make it to the finals. They’ve already done us proud and will continue to do so. Hats off to them for accomplishing so much with so little.

  25. Since they have been touched with The PP Govt support they are not doing well! Just my opinion!

  26. We better send them over there soon as possible

  27. 11 days to that game. This is shaping up to be a great story if it comes off.

  28. Yes. But we have to be in the game still after the first leg. I know a T&T men’s team that held Mexico to a draw and then lost 7-0 to the same team at altitude.
    We have got to prepare as well as we can for that first leg.

  29. A team of winners ! First leg is going to be very difficult given the conditions and the length of time we have to prepare. December 2nd should be a totally different story.

  30. these ladies are immense. they have earned every shred of respect i have to give

  31. Having said that. It is up to the TTFA to prepare a plan for the women quickly and ask for what they want. The Ministry of Sport cannot create the program for them.
    And we heard last time that it was the late request for funding that caused the women to be near penniless when they headed for the US.

    • I partly agree on this. Why isn’t the bonus about getting this far in the tournament or perhaps for winning CFU? Smells like ‘bandwagonismness’ to me. Is it so unfathomable to have some ‘national’ monetary reward program for winning international tournaments?

  32. Although this team would have been tired, they pressured Mexico to the very end. I sincerely hope the Ministry of Sports understands the kind of preparation that will be necessary for their next bite at the cherry in Ecuador and ensure that the funds are made available for medical staff, physical therapists and a good sports psychologist to be available to them 24/7 until their journey is completed. Great work by these warriors.

  33. I love the attitude of this team ably let by it’s captain. Many of our teams in different sports need to emulate the approach pf these ladies -fight to the end. They need to go to Ecuador now rest for a few days and try to acclimatize. When they come home the stadium needs to be bursting at its seems – win lose or draw we have to show our appreciation for the overall performance.

  34. Think about the team playing their next match on a pitch three times higher than El Tucuche, and how thin the air is at that height above sea level. They will feel chilled and oxygen-deprived.

  35. This game was real good. They played their hearts out, but in the end they ran out of steam… 5 games in 12 days is tough at any level…. With enough rest, practice and if they play anywhere close to how they played this game, we should win at Ecuador. One problem tho, Ecuador is about 9000 feet above sea level. It should be interesting and entertaining. Go TNT!.

  36. Really hope those girls get through they went toe to toe with region’s best and besides a 1 nil loss to the mighty US they didn’t lose another game in regulation time. That deserves Huge praise. I hope it is their fate to qualify.

  37. Three bites of the cherry coming up vs Ecuador….must see the light after holding a power house like Mexico 2-2 in full time….

  38. And it isn’t over yet Kirk A Inniss…

  39. T&T lost, ok. the girls tried their best

  40. Our responsibility is to offer permanent support regardless! We should be proud of the effort since this entire campaign started on the wrong foot..

  41. T&T We Want A Goal….#DoOrDie!!!

  42. Yes. Now is the time for the Ministry of Sport to get the cheque book out. Give the girls three days off and then back to camp!

  43. Yep. Just 180 minutes left to get it done…

  44. I hope they beat Ecuador. This is our last chance to qualify

  45. Lasana please I hope you pressure TTFF to find out their plan as soon as because ministry of sport cannot as you said do it for them. We will be there for Trinidad game but if we need to hire the best do it now. get Yorke and they to talk to the girls or even go with them to share their experiences especially for games they played in Mexico.

  46. If is one thing. These women have real character.

  47. Yet another header again! Why aren’t more of these plays run if this is the way we threaten? I think that both Coaches Shabbaz and Hart have to be granted an intervention at this stage of the competition to sort out that defence. Our centre backs are getting pulled too wide and spaces are created once again for really soft goals. Too much is at stake now. the girls are doing their part, it’s time for the coaching team not to let them down. I also hope that the 50,000 would include players who played in the foundation stages of the qualification and were left out in the latter stages, even though it’s a joke at this stage.