The Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 team lost its second and final warm-up match yesterday before their departure for Jamaica on Wednesday January 7 to compete in the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship.
The young “Soca Warriors” will open the tournament with a clash against hosts Jamaica in Kingston on January 9. Four of the 12 participating teams will go on to the New Zealand 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup.
Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean Under-20 champions, did not have a single international practice game while the teenagers in red, white and black lost both practice games in Fort Lauderdale.
After a 2-0 loss to a United States Development XI on Saturday, the Warriors fell 2-1 to the Weston United Alumni at Vizcaya Park in Miramar on Monday night. And their hope of a third game against Canada, the only international challenger available, fell through after the North American team’s travel plans were disrupted by snow.
Head coach Derek King insisted that the tour has been very helpful to the squad and thanked the Ministry of Sport and TSTT for their sponsorship. He pointed that, in both warm-up games, he made multiple changes so as to give extended playing time to as many players as possible.
Last night, the Warriors led 1-0 in the first half through a goal from winger Akeem Garcia before conceding twice after a glut of changes in the second period.
“We started the game well (but) we conceded two late goals,” King told the TTFA Media. “We are finalizing our starting eleven and the first team in this game played quite well… Regardless of the result, we saw good ball movement and we were solid defensively which is important for us at the international level.”
St Ann’s Rangers starlet Kadeem Corbin, the MVP of the Caribbean tournament, was commended for his excellent form in the Fort Lauderdale camp while the likes of Leland Archer, Kevon Goddard, Duane Muckette and Matthew Woo Ling have all showed good form.
The team has missed captain Shannon Gomez, who was unable to travel to the United States, and, in his absence, winger Aikim Andrews deputised at right back.
Despite the setbacks, King vowed that the Warriors would make their country proud in Jamaica.
“I would like to thank the Ministry of Sport and the TTFA for allowing us the opportunity for the training camp because at this level the guys need this international preparation,” said King. “I think come Friday we will be ready for the opening game against Jamaica. We will take each game as a final but our first focus will be on the opening game versus Jamaica.’’
(Trinidad and Tobago national under-20 team)
Goalkeepers: Johan Welch (Houston Dynamo Juniors), Javon Sample (Central FC);
Defenders: Shannon Gomez, Martieon Watson, Maurice Ford (all W Connection), Brendon Creed (Temple University), Leland Archer (College of Charleston), Jesus Perez (North East Stars);
Holding midfielders: Neveal Hackshaw (North East Stars), Kevon Goddard (Central FC), Akeem Humphrey (Club Sando), Matthew Woo Ling (St Anthony’s College);
Attacking Midfielders: Aikim Andrews, Akeem Garcia, Jabari Mitchell (all W Connection), Duane Muckette (University of South Florida), Levi Garcia (Shiva Boys HC), Kishun Seecharan (Club Sando);
Forwards: Kadeem Corbin (St Ann’s Rangers), Ricardo John (Virginia Tech).