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T&T U20s lose two goal lead to Jamaica in crazy night at the Office

Wired868 reports from the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship in Jamaica:

As far as bizarre plot twists go, Trinidad and Tobago’s opening 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship fixture against Jamaica last night was probably right up there with “The Sixth Sense.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Jesus Perez (right) tackles Jamaica attacker Cardel Benbow during CONCACAF Under-20 action at Kingston, Jamaica. (Courtesy Yardie Sports/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Jesus Perez (right) tackles Jamaica attacker Cardel Benbow during CONCACAF Under-20 action at Kingston, Jamaica.
(Courtesy Yardie Sports/Wired868)

Did Trinidad and Tobago’s emphatic first half performance mean the United States would be quaking in its boots? Or did our disappointing fade away for the final 30 minutes suggest the young “Soca Warriors” lack the fitness to succeed in a tournament that entails five group matches in 12 days?

Was it down to bad luck? Or bad finishing? Or bad match preparation?

Whatever you call it, the final result read “Trinidad and Tobago 2, Jamaica 2” and the Warriors finished Match Day One tied with four of the six Group A teams on one point.

“I am very disappointed,” Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 coach Derek King told Wired868. “It is important that you win your first game. But it is finished and we still have a point so we have to build on it.”

But everyone in Kingston knew the Warriors could have done much better than that.

Panama, the Group A favourites, kicked off the CONCACAF tournament yesterday with a 4-0 romp over an outclassed Aruba at Kingston’s National Stadium while the fancied United States were surprised by a late Guatemala goal in a dour 1-1 draw.

Photo: Guatemala midfielder Andy Ruiz celebrates a late equaliser against the United States in the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship in Jamaica. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Guatemala midfielder Andy Ruiz celebrates a late equaliser against the United States in the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship in Jamaica.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

There was nothing dull about the day’s closing clash between the two Caribbean rivals, particularly if you were wearing red.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Ambassador to Jamaica, Dr Iva Gloudon, was present and strode out to meet the young men before kickoff but there was little sight of a cheering section for the Warriors at “The Office.”

In truth, tensions between the two nations have been exacerbated recently with many Jamaicans openly upset about the welcome they receive from customs officials at the Piarco International Airport. And, as always, National Security Minister Gary Griffith tends not to help when his lips start moving.

But King’s men were clearly not on a diplomatic mission.

From as early as the 23rd minute, some Jamaicans were heading for the exits. Others vowed to slink away from the National Stadium at halftime.

The Warriors were up 2-0 and the Jamaicans looked as vulnerable as pets on a highway. This was adding insult to injury. Having supposedly violated the spirit of Caricom by snubbing “Yardies” at Piarco, Trinidad and Tobago was now turning Jamaicans out of Kingston as well!

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Shannon Gomez (centre) considers another marauding run against Jamaica last night. (Courtesy Yardie Sports/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Shannon Gomez (centre) considers another marauding run against Jamaica last night.
(Courtesy Yardie Sports/Wired868)

“I could not have asked for a better start,” said King. “We went and pressed the football, we possessed the football, we scored our chances. It could have easily been 5-0 (in the) first half…”

There was some agitation on the social media, before kick off, when Wired868 revealed a starting line-up that did not include dynamic 17-year-old Shiva Boys HC winger Levi Garcia.

“It was between Levi and Aikim Andrews (for a starting flank position opposite Akeem Garcia) and Aikim has been wonderful in our last two practice games,” said King. “So at the end of the day, I told them all of the players are starting players on the team and who trains well and performs well in training will play.”

With a broad smile, King assured reporters that they would see Levi soon. But who can be sure after such an impressive display of wing football from the Warriors?

Garcia (A) and Andrews both left the schools’ game to represent W Connection last September and, overall, the Pro League might have felt pretty good about the school versus club argument as a third Connection player, right back and team captain Shannon Gomez, plus North East Stars midfielder Neveal Hackshaw and St Ann’s Rangers striker Kadeem Corbin all excelled in the first hour.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Johan Welch celebrates as the "Soca Warriors" took an early two goal lead against Jamaica in CONCACAF action at Kingston. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Johan Welch celebrates as the “Soca Warriors” took an early two goal lead against Jamaica in CONCACAF action at Kingston.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

The game was just 48 seconds old when the Warriors created their first chance after sustained pressure as Jamaica goalkeeper Nicholas Nelson scampered to fend away a Garcia (A) volley off an Andrews cross.

Jamaica’s crowd favourite, Cardel Benbow, rose local spirits with a twisting run past Gomez before delivering a useful cross, in the second minute, that Daniel Roberts failed to capitalise on.

But, in the sixth minute, the Office was stunned as Gomez knocked a wayward clearance from Nelson into Andrews’ path; and the winger responded with a dipping effort from outside the box over the stranded goalkeeper.

The Warriors were buzzing and the “Reggae Boyz” could not get out of their half of the field.

“I saw (Jamaica) play and they like to build from behind,” said King. “So our key was to hold a line and, as they played to the side, to press; and it worked wonderfully.”

Jamaica coach Theodore Whitmore accused his players of not being mentally ready for the game yesterday as they were overawed in the first half. But even partisan supporters were drooling at the Warriors’ play.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Aikim Andrews (right) forces his way past Haiti defender Stephane Lambese during the 2014 Under-20 Caribbean Cup. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Aikim Andrews (right) forces his way past Haiti defender Stephane Lambese during the 2014 Under-20 Caribbean Cup.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

In the tenth minute, Duane Muckette plucked an overhit pass from Kevon Goddard out of the sky with one touch before releasing Garcia (A) with an exquisite, cushioned volley off the outside of his right boot. The Jamaican crowd failed to stop itself from spontaneous “oohs” in response.

Two minutes later, the Warriors thought they had scored again but Gomez’s finish was ruled out for offside. There was no questioning the legitimacy of Corbin’s strike in the 15th minute, though, which followed another brilliant Gomez overlap.

Crosses were flying into the Jamaica penalty area from all angles while Jamaica left back Isamania Cohen, terrified at just the sight of Andrews, conceding possession on three successive occasions by the 23rd minute. Fearing the worse, there was a small exodus of half-hearted fans.

Whitmore swapped his attacking flankers as the more robust Junior Flemmings paid closer attention to Gomez. But the Boyz still could not find a way past the robust T&T midfield trio of Muckette, Goddard and Hackshaw.

At halftime, another sprinkling of Jamaican supporters left quietly. But the Boyz were far from finished. It is not for nothing that the supposed danger of a two goal lead is one of football’s most enduring clichés.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Shannon Gomez (right) is tackled by Jamaica midfielder Allando Brown during CONCACAF action in Kingston. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Shannon Gomez (right) is tackled by Jamaica midfielder Allando Brown during CONCACAF action in Kingston.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

Whitmore made two halftime changes, including 18-year-old Jamaica sensation Michael Seaton, while a third substitution soon followed. It was all or nothing time for the coach.

Meanwhile, the Warriors demonstrated a notable dip in intensity in the second half. True, they should have extended their lead in the 58th minute when Muckette shot wide after good approach-work from Corbin and Andrews.

But, had Muckette scored, the visitors would have merely exploiting an unforced error. The Warriors had gone into “public-servants-on-a-Friday-afternoon” mode by now.

A quick free kick from down Trinidad and Tobago’s left flank exposed napping full back Jesus Perez and Jamaica substitute Donja Smith, Seaton’s replacement, scored with a close range header in the 67th minute.

King introduced debutante Ricardo John in the 74th minute in an effort to get his team pressing from on top again. John chased willingly too but enough of his teammates did not join him while, when the Warriors had possession, the Virginia Tech schoolboy was not as adept as Corbin in losing his markers.

The absence of good, pre-tournament practice matches meant King had never seen John play an international before yesterday while the striker was not acquainted with this level before the competitive action started.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 team head coach Derek King. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 team head coach Derek King.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

The Jamaica team was buzzing now. Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Johan Welch made a fine stop low to his right to keep out Benbow in the 74rd minute while, a minute later, a stunning left footed volley from Flemmings flew inches wide.

King replaced Goddard with Humphreys in the 77th minute. And, a minute later, Mitchell was on for the spent Muckette.

Andrews could barely hold on to the ball now; but the Warriors had no changes left. Of the starting eleven, only Hackshaw and Garcia (A) looked to have much puff left.

In the 84th minute, Martieon Watson clattered Roberts in the Trinidad and Tobago penalty area but Mexican referee Fernando Guerrero allowed a supposed advantage as the ball rolled to Flemmings. And, once more, Flemmings shot wide.

Welch had to make another a reflex save for the Warriors while Hackshaw tried to run down the clock by the corner flag. The imperious nature of Trinidad and Tobago’s first half hour seemed a distant memory now.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Kevon Goddard (right) tries to keep an eye on Jamaica playmaker Junior Flemmings during CONCACAF Under-20 Championship action in Kingston. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Kevon Goddard (right) tries to keep an eye on Jamaica playmaker Junior Flemmings during CONCACAF Under-20 Championship action in Kingston.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

Three minutes into Guerrero’s four minutes of stoppage time, Perez lunged at another Jamaican substitute Khali Stewart on top of his own penalty box. And, this time, Flemmings made no mistake as he thrashed him a beautiful free kick.

“I wouldn’t say it was down to fitness,” said King. “At the end of the day, we are playing the host nation and they had the crowd support that helped them get back in the game. We should have had a little more patience in our play and managed the second half better.

“We kept trying to hustle the football. That was our downfall in the second half.”

So was the glass half-empty or half-full? Are the Warriors moving forward or backwards?

It will be better to tell against Aruba from 4 pm (TT time) on Sunday afternoon.

Trinidad and Tobago needs three points and some goals will be nice as well. There is the chance that King would use a more offensive line-up for that fixture with Levi and Mitchell coming back into contention.

The coaching staff at least got the big changes right in the starting team against Jamaica. Or did they?

Photo: Jamaica footballers celebrate a late leveller in CONCACAF Under-20 Championship action against Trinidad and Tobago in Kingston. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Jamaica footballers celebrate a late leveller in CONCACAF Under-20 Championship action against Trinidad and Tobago in Kingston.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

Things get hazy pretty quickly after a lukewarm result.

(Teams)

Trinidad and Tobago (4-2-3-1): 1.Johan Welch (GK); 2.Shannon Gomez (captain), 3.Martieon Watson, 13.Brendon Creed, 4.Jesus Perez; 18.Kevon Goddard (17.Akeem Humphrey 77), 8.Neveal Hackshaw; 15.Aikim Andrews, 6.Duane Muckette (10.Jabari Mitchell 78), 7.Akeem Garcia; 9.Kadeem Corbin (16.Ricardo John 71).

Unused substitutes: 20.Javon Sample (GK), 5.Leland Archer,  11.Levi Garcia, 12.Kishun Seecharan, 14.Matthew Woo Ling, 19.Maurice Ford.

Coach: Derek King

 

Jamaica (4-2-2-2): 1.Nicholas Nelson (GK); 12.Roberto Johnson, 3.Jevaun Waugh, 7.Malcolm Stewart, 20.Isamnia Cohen (2.Khalil Stewart 61); 11.I’ishmalle Currie (5.Allando Brown 46), 17.Shaquille Dyer; 10.Junior Flemmings, 19.Cardel Benbow; 8.Daniel Roberts, 9.Michael Seaton (15.Donja Smith 46).

Unused substitutes: 13.Dane Chambers (GK), 4.Rennico Clarke, 6.Martin Davis, 14.John Levee, 16.Shamar Nicholson, 18.Joel Cunningham,

Coach: Theodore Whitmore

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago under-20 midfielder Aikim Andrews (seated) celebrates his goal against Curaçao with his teammates. during the Under-20 Caribbean Championship. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago under-20 midfielder Aikim Andrews (seated) celebrates his goal against Curaçao with his teammates. during the Under-20 Caribbean Championship.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

CONCACAF Under-20 Championship

Group A

(Fri Jan 9)

Jamaica 2 (Donja Smith 67, Junior Flemmings 90+3), Trinidad and Tobago 2 (Aikim Andrews 6, Kadeem Corbin 15)

United States 1 (Cameron Carter-Vickers), Guatemala 1 (Jose Ruiz)

Panama 4 (Ismael Diaz De Leon 19, 50, Ervin Zorilla 30, Edson Samms 36), Aruba 0

 

Upcoming Fixtures (TT times)

Group A

(Sunday January 11)

Trinidad & Tobago vs Aruba, 4 pm, National Stadium, Kingston;

Panama vs USA, 6.30 pm, National Stadium, Kingston;

Jamaica vs Guatemala, 9 pm, National Stadium, Kingston.

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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37 comments

  1. The team needs improved concentration ,desire n fitness good effort but those mistakes will b punished by the more organised teams who tend 2 b better prepared

  2. Had enough chances to kill of d game lackadaisical second half need to be more professional

  3. ouch….. benefit by learning from the lessons guys… stay strong

  4. ..ppl must understand we will never always agree on issues because we all see things different from where we sit, that’s why we’ve our own opinion…..no hard feelings….

  5. You know from working with me Keith i was always good for one. Lol!!

  6. Debbie thanks for the laugh..hahahahahahahahaha

  7. Hi Dion you technically agreed with my statement lol

  8. Brazil got seven people still love them and their own will still support win or lost.

  9. I always say – no team deliberately squanders a lead – it’s part of the game – it happens – and for reasons too – it’s up to the technical staff to look at the film and find out where the boys went wrong and correct it. That’s why coaches are paid.

  10. Good preparation gives you an extra five and ten percent. Everyone knows that Keith Clement. And when you lose a game in the last second like the women did against Ecuador. It is only natural that you wonder what that extra five or ten percent would have brought you.
    So why shouldn’t fans demand that administrators give that ten percent? It’s their job.
    Even though, of course, the players have their roles.

  11. Simon, a thread on the Wired868 forum had an online link that people watched. That sadly is the best that can be done.
    Brian, they played really well in that hour eh. So it is unfortunate they could not hold on. If they have the legs, I think they can still qualify.

  12. We don’t have talent? Come better than that…we definitely have talent and were superior in terms of talent than Jamaica yesterday, however, the development of that talent to create better players is lacking…and commitment? I know some of the senior teams can give off an aura of non-commitment and dedication but the U-20 team currently shows effort to the cause…it’s a shame that you would go out of your way to bring down these youths who I am sure are already very disappointed particularly with how the game went down..watch the football before you bash Joanne, thanks

  13. Goals win games not excuses. Stop making excuses and face the reality of two things we don’t have talent and commitment from all involved.

  14. What other response you expected from Keith David Aguillera? Talk about making excuses? He’s always making excuses for TTFA”s failings.

  15. Am dude.. why you comparing a team like brazil that has one of the world best football producing factory in the world next to Argentina etc..where they have world class players?? How many WC brazil win.. how many confederation cups~~they win how many titles an how many great players they produce..?? That are still revered today?? Not because of talent alone but having a sound Administrative structure that produces diamonds after diamonds.. and you want to use that next to Admins who barely have money but working for free and pocketing fifa money..oh better yet.. coudnt send them to camp cause oil prices down..but yup its not the Admin fault we at this position in football……….like I said IF the head is bad we will always be rotten.. and if we did win I still call it as i see it which as Debbie Espinal put it deh **meaning the team** do the best they can despite getting no resources or help from the Administrators etc…….. come on use ah better eg next time….

  16. Sorry I don’t buy it….all we do is make excuses for poor performances because if they had won the game everyone would have been praising them on what a great result…..Brazil my team had the best preparation for the World Cup and Germany which was more focused won 7-0……who Brazil should blame?…..When you do a bad job you always looking for someone or something to blame….when its not administration is your tools…….shm

  17. Well they played really good…on the latter half….the ref kinna mess it up and favour the locals with some silly calls…one that lead to a goal…

  18. Yo the negative comments not called for…if you watched the game you’d see we played well and definitely deserved to win…it was simple errors that cost us the game..support instead of fight down..especially when u dont know..blessings

  19. Couldn’t even find a working stream to watch the game. How can we gain support for local sports when we can’t even watch the games.

  20. R.Walcott

    really don’t get all the negativity though

  21. at least someone has understanding and foresight~ and yes Debbie we can rally and do th best we can with lil resources but we eh gonna reach no where till we get serious an kick dem out……..a team peformance is always a reflection of the head’s that Govern it…..

  22. I think David was referring to the lack of support from the TTFA when it comes to training camps and preparing the teams for big tournaments. Despite the lack of co operation they seem to rally and do the best they can with little resources.

  23. …I’m confused what leading 2-0 and giving it away has to do with the administrators of the sport…..were they out there on the field…steups man….

  24. expected any different. i certainly did not. you would have seen the team who wanted to win, actually win.

  25. Keep on hoping that our football, men and women, will find there way sooner rather than later… but they MUST have the financial support to do this… Keep on going, T & T men and women…

  26. we will always fail unless big changes are made..so like WICB ..lol TT football eh nothing to be surprised about again!! but..total failure

  27. Can’t believe we threw away a 2 – nil lead. At least we came away with a point and USA drew as well.

  28. Steups I gave up on Trinidad football long time

  29. With all that goes on with our national teams in TT now it is no big thing…..

  30. As is usually the case with all our football teams