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T&T women hold Ecuador; Warriors make point at altitude

Wired868 covers the FIFA 2015 World Cup Play Off first leg from in Quito, Ecuador:

At one of the highest football stadiums in the world, the Trinidad and Tobago national senior women’s team demonstrated the height of its ambition today with a goalless draw in the first of a two-legged FIFA World Cup Play Off contest played away to Ecuador at the Estadio Olimpico Atahualpa in Quito.

There are just 90 minutes left in Trinidad and Tobago’s Canada 2015 Women’s World Cup campaign and, whisper it, it is hard to see the “Women Soca Warriors” not completing the task from here.

Seven years ago, FIFA temporarily banned Ecuador from holding international matches in Quito due to the perceived unfair advantage of playing at 2,700 metres above sea level and the potential health risk to visitors.

But not even Quito’s thin air could suffocate the Warriors’ dream for a maiden World Cup senior place.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder and captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (right) advances with the ball under pressure Ecuador star Gianina Lattanzio during the first leg of the FIFA Play Off in Quito. (Copyright AFP 2014/Rodrigo Buendia)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder and captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (right) advances with the ball under pressure Ecuador star Gianina Lattanzio during the first leg of the FIFA Play Off in Quito.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Rodrigo Buendia)

On Tuesday December 2, the Warriors will try to finish the job at sea level in Port of Spain and coach Randy Waldrum hopes to see the Hasely Crawford Stadium full to the brim.

“I think in the first half of the game, we were the better side,” said Waldrum, after the match. “But as the game went on, with the altitude, we tried to site in and make sure we didn’t concede and give away the game.

“So I think at home with our fans, which will be bigger and stronger hopefully than this contingency, I think we will have a great opportunity to finish it out at home.”

The Hasely Crawford venue has not been sold out since October 2005 when a brilliant Stern John double helped the national men’s team to a 2-1 win over Mexico en route to the 2006 World Cup.

Eight years on, the Women Warriors hope to join them with the distinction of qualifying for a senior FIFA tournament. And, surely, there could not be a better time for Kennya Cordner and Ahkeela Mollon to cut loose.

Once more, the Trinidad and Tobago ladies’ best quality was their nerve, passion and willingness to sacrifice for each other.

Today’s outing was only the second time in Ecuador’s entire qualifying campaign that “La Tricolor” failed to win in Quito. Apart from Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil was the only nation to leave the Atahualpa Stadium with a result this year.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Rhea Belgrave (left) attempts to clear under pressure from Ecuador striker Gianina Lattanzio. (Courtesy TTFA Media)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Rhea Belgrave (left) attempts to clear under pressure from Ecuador striker Gianina Lattanzio.
(Courtesy TTFA Media)

“Big teams struggle to get results here and we got a result,” Trinidad and Tobago captain Maylee Attin-Johnson told Wired868. “I thought we should have come out with a win but we didn’t. I’m super proud of my teammates for being able to maintain our composure with the high altitude.”

In truth, there were times when Trinidad and Tobago’s point looked in doubt; not least when substitute Dernelle Mascall left her feet to lunge at Ecuadorean attacker Elizabeth Caicedo inside the penalty area.

About 17,500 partisan patrons rose to their feet roaring for a penalty. German referee Bibian Steinhaus offered the small consolation of an Ecuador throw instead.

Ecuador attacked to the final whistle but that was the host team’s best chance.

Waldrum suggested that the reason the Women Soca Warriors are still alive tonight had much to do with their week-long training camp in Mexico City, which helped prepare them for the altitude.

“I have to thank (TTFA president Raymond) Tim Kee and (general secretary) Sheldon Phillips and the Government or whoever was responsible for getting us to Mexico City,” said Waldrum. “I don’t know that we could have gotten this result had we not had that week to work in altitude…

“I don’t think we would have made it.”

The effects of altitude do not hit you at once and, as Trinidad and Tobago stroked the ball around in the first 15 minutes, it might have seemed like a myth. The sun was shining, the temperature was a cool 25 degrees Celsius and a gentle breeze waffled over the ground.

Attin-Johnson was strolling around the field stroking the ball around like a latter-day Socrates while winger Ahkeela Mollon was twisting Ecuador left back Angie Ponce into knots.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Ahkeela Mollon (left) flicks the ball around Ecuador left back Angie Ponce during the first leg of the FIFA Women's World Cup Play Off in Quito. (Copyright AFP 2014/Rodrigo Buendia)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Ahkeela Mollon (left) flicks the ball around Ecuador left back Angie Ponce during the first leg of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Play Off in Quito.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Rodrigo Buendia)

Rather than parking the bus, the Warriors were driving at Ecuador high up the field and the senoritas did not like it.

Forget a draw; maybe Trinidad and Tobago could win here!

But, as the halftime whistle loomed, Ecuador began to show signs of their hidden threat.

Trinidad and Tobago defender Arin King was alert to close down opposing attacker Ambar Torres on the edge of the area. And the German referee was sharp too when Ecuador winger Ingrid Rodriguez reacted to Patrice Superville’s hand on her chest by theatrically flopping to the ground and demanding a penalty.

Ecuador fans jeered Steinhaus at the interval but, for the most part, the Warriors looked comfortable.

The second half was a different matter entirely.

Ecuador coach Vanessa Arauz replaced a holding midfielder, Adriana Barre, with speedy striker, Monica Quinteros, as La Tricolor went from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-1-3-2 formation. The sun disappeared behind dark clouds and the temperature plunged from 25 to 13 degrees Celsius.

And Ecuador was totally transformed from a thoughtful and methodical team into a hard-running, aggressive machine.

On separate occasions, King, Superville and Kimika Forbes resorted to lunging challenges to deny Quinteros while Ecuador players rained crosses into the Trinidad and Tobago box from all angles.

In the thin air, once you lose your breath it takes a while for you to find it again.

Lauryn Hutchinson was struggling and, in the 65th minute, Waldrum had Karyn Forbes replace her at full back while Ayanna Russell came on in midfield.

Ponce, the meek Ecuador left back that Mollon repeatedly embarrassed in the first half, suddenly looked like Roberto Carlos as she tore down the flank and whipped balls into the Trinidad and Tobago penalty area.

Kimika Forbes punched away most of them; King got the rest. By then, Trinidad and Tobago’s attackers all had defensive duties.

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. Forbes was busy again in Quito this afternoon. (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.
Forbes was busy again in Quito this afternoon.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Mitchell Leff)

Waldrum sent Tasha St Louis on for Mariah Shade in a vain bid to regain some offensive shape and rhythm in the 66th minute while Mascall replaced midfielder Janine Francois who had run herself into the ground by the 75th minute.

There was a scary moment in the 73rd minute when Attin-Johnson tried to hurdle opposing right back Kerly Real and inadvertently caught the Ecuadorean with her boot. The Warrior captain had already been booked and the home team urged the referee to send her off.

Steinhaus felt a free kick to Ecuador was punishment enough.

Nine minutes from time, Mascall hit a tame strike from distance straight into the midriff of Ecuador goalkeeper Shirley Berruz. It was Trinidad and Tobago’s first shot on target for the match.

As Ecuador pushed players forward, Mollon twice threatened to make them pay with dangerous right side crosses for the head of her favourite target, Cordner. The latter player just failed to make contact with the first cross and was ruled offside for the second, which she managed to head over the goalline.

But, by this stage, a goal would have flattered the two island republic.

A clash of heads between defenders Rhea Belgrave and Superville forced Trinidad and Tobago to temporarily go down to 10 players near the death while Torres went close with a dipping volley.

Then, in the 87th minute, Mascall made a loose pass near her own penalty area and sprinted back to try to make amends. Caicedo had already entered the Trinidad and Tobago box by the time Mascall caught up with her and, as the Warrior flew in with a tackle, the Atahualpa ground stood up and roared in protest.

Steinhaus shook her head and pointed for a throw.

Atahualpa was South America’s last Inca Emperor who was captured and subsequently executed during the Spanish conquest of the 16th century. And another band of foreign invaders made a point at a venue named in his honour today.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (right) chops down Ecuador attacker Ingrid Rodriguez in the FIFA Women's World Cup first leg in Quito. (Courtesy TTFA Media)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (right) chops down Ecuador attacker Ingrid Rodriguez in the FIFA Women’s World Cup first leg in Quito.
(Courtesy TTFA Media)

Ecuador’s fate will not be decided by Spain; but in Port of Spain. And the South American nation should not expect mercy from Trinidad and Tobago’s Women Soca Warriors on December 2.

“It’s big times or no times come December 2, all or nothing,” said Attin-Johnson. “We hope the stadium is packed to capacity and we will deliver.”

(Teams)

Trinidad and Tobago (4-1-4-1): 1.Kimika Forbes (GK); 8.Patrice Superville, 4.Rhea Belgrave, 5.Arin King, 20.Lauryn Hutchinson (2.Ayanna Russell 65); 9.Maylee Attin-Johnson (captain); 12.Ahkeela Mollon, 14.Karyn Forbes, 11.Janine Francois (7.Dernelle Mascall 75), 19.Kennya Cordner; 3.Mariah Shade (10.Tasha St Louis 66).

Unused substitutes: 17.Sandra Baron (GK), 6.Khadidra Debessette, 13.Anique Walker, 16.Jasmine Sampson, 18.Khadisha Debessette.

Coach: Randy Waldrum

 

Ecuador (4-2-3-1): 1.Shirley Berruz (GK); 19.Kerly Real, 3.Lorena Aguilar, 16.Ligia Moreira, 6.Angie Ponce; 18.Adriana Barre (14.Monica Quinteros 46), 13.Madeline Riera (8.Erika Vasquez 56); 20.Andrea Pesantes, 10.Ambar Torres (11.Elizabeth Caicedo 81), 7.Ingrid Rodriguez; 9.Gianina Lattanzio.

Unused substitutes: 4.Merly Zambrano, 5.Mayre Olivera, 12.Irene Tobar, 17.Tamara Angulo.

Coach: Vanessa Arauz

 

Referee: Bibiana Steinhaus (Germany)

 

FIFA Play Off

First leg

(November 8)

Ecuador 0, Trinidad and Tobago 0 at Estadio Olimpico Atahualpa, Quito;

 

Second leg

(December 2)

Trinidad and Tobago v Ecuador at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain.

 

Editor’s Note: The recorded attendance at Quito for the FIFA 2015 World Cup Play Off first leg was 17,500 patrons.

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.

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63 comments

  1. w e beating that in trini come December 2nd all the band-wagonist aill come out too all is invited to come out and support our SOCA PRINCESSES

  2. We filling that stadium with RED on Dec 2nd…Go Warriors!

  3. TnT we wAnt ah goal…..TnT we need ah goal

  4. TTFA needs to market these games with enthusiasm, promote/sell these games as a major spectacular event, encouraging the people to come out and support these games. The entrance fee should remain the same at the least, and T&T football paraphernalia should be available for sale in abundance throughout T&T and on the internet weeks prior to and in the stadium during the game. Unfortunately, I do not have confidence that promotion will be done effectively; if the game were to be free, spectator attendance would be no more than 200.

  5. They failed to qualify but we reward them with 50,000. Unacceptable.

    • Think before you talk bro. They have a home game to play…and when they WIN they will qualify for the Women’s WC. Anyway moving on to the people that actually know what’s going on in the football world. I heard the Ecuadorian FA sold tickets for the game at approximately U$ 2 so the fans could fill the stadium. Not sure how accurate that info is but something for the TTFF to consider. Come December 2nd the Stadium should be filled.

  6. Dese female warriors really impressin n makin trinidadians proud…its strange we didnt qualify long time but I guess dey jus wanted to make dat fairy tale n play in front of their country in d National Stadium on Dec 2…I will b there go go go warriors

  7. OUR GIRLS, AWESOME PERFORMANCE, NATIONAL STADIUM 2/12/14 BE THERE I KNOW I WILL

  8. December 2….will be there after GOD

  9. Congrats, great effort girls. PROUD TO BE TRINI, TRUE TRINI.

  10. The price of the game can be a factor as well?? It’s important not to think to much of profit making of the game but a price to encourage people to come

  11. 95 minutes in that thin air and not conceding a goal. If I was Maylee I would have hugged the ref too when that whistle blow!

  12. Would be nice if corporate T&T could mobilize for Dec 2nd. We want to paint de stadium red. I know my bmobile peeps on board.

  13. We need another November 19 again for the ladies lets give them our fullest support

  14. Excellent! Now let’s get ready to support the ladies when they play here! TnT all the way!

  15. Editor’s Note: The recorded attendance at Quito for the FIFA 2015 World Cup Play Off first leg was 17,500 patrons.

  16. We need a win. One Ecuador goal would put us in problems. But once we play to our ability, I think T&T is the stronger team.

  17. These ladies will make us proud once again

  18. Oh, how I long for the day that our football teams play a convincing attacking game, scoring at least 3 goals a game. Regardless, lets come out in huge numbers, chanting and prancing with bottle & spoon, iron & pan, drums and brass… big rhythm section!

  19. The Ecuador team will go to sea level to train at Guayaquil and temperatures there are between 33 and 22 degrees Celsius. So it would be hard to get an advantage in terms of temperatures in truth. Better to get the optimal time for supporters perhaps.

  20. LOL… I have no confidence in this ‘hot midday’ strategy. We tried that many times (especially with the Soca Warriors) and lost disappointingly! I say, TO WIN, let’s get out there in large numbers in support of the ladies, and encourage our ladies to play an aggressive attacking game with decisive crisp short passes. If hot midday is what we relying on… we lost long time. The equator runs through Ecuador!!!

  21. Let December 2nd 2014 be a day to remember for all the right reasons !

  22. Is Trinidad Lasana they will give a public holiday so the game could start at midday if they want.

  23. Okay. Probably a stab in the dark then. Randy Waldrum says he would like to give it some thought and get the balance between an awkward time for Ecuador and a good time for us to get a full stadium.
    It might well be 6 pm in the end. FIFA’s dates did us no favours at all. A hotter kick off time would be best. But that is difficult on work day.

  24. Not official, but I was given it by TTFA last week.

  25. Guess we’ll have to wait and see Lasana. So far the Coach’s strategies have worked for the Girls so i hope he’ll be the final decision maker. If they play it at midday i’ll be there.

  26. Debbie, women’s football in Ecuador doesn’t have a big following yet. But the price was US$2 which is less than a snack box here and they got a good crowd. That is something the TTFA should note when it prepares to price the ticket.
    I’m still curious about that 6 pm kick off time. I would love to hear who made that announcement.

  27. That can’t be right Bernard Pantin. I asked the coach this evening and he said it is something he wants to give some thought to see when might offer the best advantage for Trinidad and Tobago.
    So I can’t see how a time could have been announced. Who said it was 6 pm?

  28. On a Tuesday. That should give people enough time to get off from work. Hope they don’t get greedy now and start to overcharge like a certain jack in the past.

  29. No penalty there Lasana. Good slide tackle. For once the German was on our side.

  30. The dotish Minister of Sport will card it for the HCS training field, what you think!!??

  31. And remember Bahrain thought they were there already after they drew with us 1-1 in Port of Spain. So we still have to stay focused to finish the job. 😉

  32. That is the question eh. Lol. There isn’t even a kick off time decided yet. Hopefully, the TTFA will sort that out within the next two weeks.

  33. Where & when are tickets on sale for the return leg

  34. I didn’t have the benefit of replay for the second Ecuador appeal for a penalty late in the game. How did it go?

  35. Yeah. They had two penalty appeals and one looked giveable. And then she could have sent off Maylee too. I thought she wasn’t swayed by the crowd one inch.

  36. Excellent …..now lets have a huge turn out for that return game and give our Female warriors the support that will inspire them to VICTORY.

  37. all yuh ladies in dig out a goal dread dye smalls, we will deal wt dem down a trini

  38. Aside from players doing well, the German referee did pretty good job, I thought!!

  39. Ecuador’s fate will not be decided by Spain; but in Port of Spain. Viva Espana oops Viva Porto de Espana!!

  40. Ahkeela Mollon, I don’t think there is a better crosser of the ball from open play in T&T. The higher your percentage of good crosses, the better our chances of success.

  41. True talk Lasana Liburd…We only halfway done with this Journey!

  42. Yes. Shaka made a point on Twitter that today was half a loaf. Bahrain was celebrating early after a draw in Port of Spain with an away goal. They were convinced they were home and dry

  43. @Lasana, that is the anthem song when we qualify.

  44. To be honest that was my favourite World Cup tune Anselm LeBourne. All respect due to Maximus for the anthem of course. But that Iwer song summed it up nicely.

  45. They need to make sure they don’t get complacent. We need another clean sheet to progress.

  46. We go be singing “Tell Them We Reach” when we play in Port-of Spain. We better get Iwer George ready.

  47. These girls have become heroes I’ve no doubt that the Hasely Crawford will be filled to its capacity…

  48. There were about 24,000 people at the stadium in Quito today. Hasely Crawford will be full with that number. And hopefully it will be.

  49. Who can stop these ladies now?! That was a tremendous result with real character. As positive a goalless draw as you are likely to see! 🙂

  50. It was a monster result in really tough conditions.

  51. In true Warrior fashion, the battling qualities of these ladies have been truly inspirational. Barring a huge loss in focus, this should be sweet history again for T&T. Canada here we come. Warriors all the way.

  52. Great going by the Warriors!

  53. The bahrain game wasnt sold out????