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Guatemala punishes T&T blunders; Warriors must defeat US

Trinidad and Tobago started the day unbeaten and near the top of Group A in the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship. But by 6 pm (Jamaican time), the young “Soca Warriors” were staring elimination in the face.

A 2-0 loss to Guatemala today means that Trinidad and Tobago must defeat the United States in its final group match on Wednesday January 21 at Montego Bay to have any chance of advancing to the play off round of the CONCACAF competition.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Neveal Hackshaw (left) tries to close down Guatemala star Mauro Portillo during the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Championships in Jamaica. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Neveal Hackshaw (left) tries to close down Guatemala star Mauro Portillo during the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Championships in Jamaica.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

And, even so, the Warriors must win by a hefty goal margin too after the United States trounced Aruba 8-0 today, which is four goals better than Trinidad and Tobago’s 5-1 result against Aruba on Sunday.

Suddenly, the road to the New Zealand 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup looks fraught with uncertainty.

“I am very disappointed with the result,” said Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 coach Derek King. “In the first 20 minutes we played all the football (and) we saw some good ball movement. We held our shape and Guatemala sat back and allowed us to play.

“We allowed a soft goal. (In the) second half, the same thing happened and a blunder from our keeper (led to the second goal). We played all the football but goals win matches not possession.”

The final statistics, according to CONCACAF, showed 10 shots from the Trinidad and Tobago team and just two from Guatemala. Even then, the Central American team needed more than a little help from the Warriors.

Mauro Portillo’s header was heading straight to Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Johan Welch when it went in off the thigh of defender Martieon Watson in the 24th minute. CONCACAF chalked it down as an own goal from the Naparima College student.

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

And Guatemala’s second? Welch would seem a very unlikely candidate to execute a “Rene Higuita-type” move outside of his own penalty area. And, again, Portillo was there to take advantage.

Guatemala coach Carlos Ruiz, an Argentine import, said his team was “very lucky” to come away with three points.

“Trinidad and Tobago played very well and had most of the ball,” said Ruiz, via a translator. “We were very lucky today to come out victorious because our chances came from two mistakes.

“Guatemala made use of mistakes given to them by the Trinidad and Tobago team.”

Ruiz was, arguably, a touch generous. True, Guatemala capitalised on errors rather than made much of the game themselves. But it was alarming, although not altogether surprising, to see the Warriors growing increasingly lacklustre with every passing minute.

Sure, the likes of Aikim Andrews and Kadeem Corbin were still willing runners to the death. But the movement off the ball that died after 70 minutes against Jamaica was gone much sooner this afternoon.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 midfielder Duane Muckette (left) tries to take the ball under pressure from Guatemala midfielder Andy Ruiz. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 midfielder Duane Muckette (left) tries to take the ball under pressure from Guatemala midfielder Andy Ruiz.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

University of South Florida playmaker Duane Muckette is arguably Trinidad and Tobago’s best player but, for the third successive game, he did not get close to 90 minutes and was at walking pace long before his substitution.

Muckette lasted 78 minutes against Jamaica, 66 minutes against Aruba and, in Trinidad and Tobago’s biggest game so far, he managed just 57 minutes against Guatemala.

Do the Warriors, whose poor pre-tournament preparation was well documented, have any energy left to knock off Panama and the United States?

King suggested concern over the team’s fitness levels was overblown though. He claimed that their livelier showings against Jamaica might be down to an 8 pm kick off as opposed to 3 pm starts against Aruba and Guatemala.

“At the end of the day, we had ball possession and once you have ball possession you have a chance to score goals,” said King. Plenty of our players were below par today… We created goal scoring chances but we just didn’t take them.”

In truth, Guatemala goalkeeper Nicholas Hagen looked flustered just twice today. In the seventh minute, Hagen threw himself low to his right to keep out a Muckette effort. And, in the 80th minute, he again had to use every inch of his wingspan to keep out a low Corbin effort in a crowded penalty box.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Brendon Creed (right) plays the ball away from Guatemala attacker Mario Hernandez. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Brendon Creed (right) plays the ball away from Guatemala attacker Mario Hernandez.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

Otherwise, the Warriors were straight at the Guatemala custodian or overbar while there were far too few good scoring chances created considering the havoc that Andrews and Akeem Garcia caused on either flank.

“The final pass wasn’t there today,” said King. “Sometimes when we could take an extra touch we were forcing (the play) and the crosses were not good today. The service in the final third was poor today.”

After a lopsided opening 25 minutes, Guatemala went ahead with only its second real attack and its first shot on target. Only it was not really on target.

Guatemala right wing back Steven Robles got down the right flank and delivered a looping cross to the far post. Portillo climbed well to head down to goal and, probably, straight at Welch. But Watson could not get out of the way in time and the ball struck the Trinidad and Tobago defender and rolled in at the near post.

Muckette had a chance to equalise in the 29th minute only for Guatemala defender Carlos Estrada to fling his body in the way to make the block.

Eight minutes into the second half, Muckette released Corbin with a clever flick but the latter attacker dragged his angled left footed shot harmlessly across the face of the goal.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago's Duane Muckette (right) challenges Guatemala captain Julio Ortiz during the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago’s Duane Muckette (right) challenges Guatemala captain Julio Ortiz during the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

Trinidad and Tobago’s three-man central midfield combination had gone flat by then and King sent in Akeem Humphrey and Jabari Mitchell for Muckette and Kevon Goddard.

Humphrey immediately helped to lift the tempo but Mitchell’s contribution was mixed. Mitchell did create another shooting opportunity for Corbin in the 80th minute but the playmaker failed to make much headway in the crowd of players on top the Guatemala penalty area.

Levi Garcia, who is bound for Europe in 2015, was the third change in the 69th minute and, apart from one incisive cross to Andrews, he did not resemble the younger winger who set the Caribbean Cup tournament alight last September.

“Leading up to the competition, he was not well and he is now getting back (his) confidence,” said King, who revealed the player had a stomach bug. “He is the youngest member of the team and we are trying with him and talking to him and trying to guide him.”

In the 87th minute, it was lights out as Welch collected a throw from captain Shannon Gomez and, inexplicably, tried to dribble Portillo rather than hammer the ball forward or simply return the ball to his right back. Portillo won the ball and applied the insurance goal.

Photo: Guatemala forward Mauro Portillo. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Guatemala forward Mauro Portillo celebrates after scoring against Trinidad and Tobago.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

The less said about that decision from the United States-based goalkeeper, the better.

Gomez called it a blooper while King went with blunder.

“We just have to give him confidence to come back and do his best in the next game,” said Gomez.

But can the tiring Trinidad and Tobago team rebound to take a draw from Panama and win against the United States?

“Football plays on the day so it is not beyond us,” said Gomez. “Every game we go with the mindset to win. It is (about) them taking their chances or us taking our chances…

“We are confident.”

The Warriors need a big result from their final group match now. But, going into the tournament, they might have expected that it would come to this. Whether they can pull it off is another matter entirely.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago national under-20 captain and right back Shannon Gomez (right) battles for possession against Cuba during the Under-20 Caribbean Cup. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago national under-20 captain and right back Shannon Gomez (right) battles for possession against Cuba during the Under-20 Caribbean Cup.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

King’s team has been praised for being one of the country’s best youth teams. But now they must prove it.

The Dwight Yorke-led Under-20 team beat the United States 1-0 on the way to the Portugal 1991 World Youth Championships while, in 2009, Kevin Molino scored the winner to take the young Warriors past Jamaica.

Gomez, Corbin, Muckette and company must take a big scalp to join such lofty company.

(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 57), 8.Neveal Hackshaw; 15.Aikim Andrews, 6.Duane Muckette (10.Jabari Mitchell 57), 7.Akeem Garcia (11.Levi Garcia 69); 9.Kadeem Corbin.

Unused substitutes: 21.Javon Sample (GK), 5.Leland Archer, 12.Kishun Seecharan, 14.Matthew Woo Ling, 16.Ricardo John, 19.Maurice Ford.

Coach: Derek King

 

Guatemala (3-4-3): 1.Nicholas Hagen (GK); 16.Julio Ortiz, 15.Carlos Estrada, 2.Kevin Grijalva, 13.Steven Robles, 14.Andy Ruiz, 6.Cristian Jiminez, 20.Mauricio Maltes (17.Pablo Aguilar 59), 8.Kevin Bordon (10.Diego Alvarez 46), 9.Mauro Portillo, 11.Mario Hernandez (18.Benedicto Aldana 71).

Unused substitutes: 12.Julio Ochoa (GK), 3.Allen Yanes, 4.Nicholas Samayoa, 5.Luis De Leon, 7.Christopher Ortiz, 19.Jose Morales.

Coach: Carlos Ruiz

 

Referee: David Gantar (Canada)

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago national under-20 players celebrate a goal against Aruba in the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago national under-20 players celebrate a goal against Aruba in the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

CONCACAF U-20 results

Group A

(Wednesday January 14)

Guatemala 2 (Martieon Watson OG 24, Hugo Portillo 87), Trinidad & Tobago 0 at National Stadium, Kingston;

United States 8 (Romain Gall 16, 23, 32, Bradford Jamieson IV 18, 48, Thomas Thompson 26, Emerson Hyndman 30, Amando Moreno 84),  Aruba 0 at National Stadium, Kingston;

Jamaica 0, Panama 2 (Edson Samms 56, Ismael Diaz 86) at 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. That Jamaica match when we were leading 2-0 and allowed the Reggae Boyz to tie 2-2 started this mess. Those 2 lost points will be huge in the final analysis. Trinidad players have always had all the technical skills. However, our weakness has always been on the mental and physical side. Still, good luck boys!!!

  2. We dominated that game from beginning to end and outclassed them all the way. What went wrong???????

  3. Small-sided 5v5 + GK in the 3rd quarter of the field for the forwards n midfielders everday and in between the matches…these fellas are lacking shooting accuracy….17 shots out of 30 just aint cutting it….

  4. Trinidad will never get better playing warm up matches against countries like Aruba that they scored 5 on. You get better by playing people better than you. Bring on the Germans the French the Belgians. We will get a beating but will learn something in the process.

  5. As a keeper, I get sick when I see how the second goal scored…. Play it safe, you’re no Manuel Neuer.

  6. Same story,different day I see. Wow!

  7. Again…. Smh we like to do things the hard way eh!

  8. Until we come to term with the fact that our technical capability can only be realistically measured when we face the top teams in serious competition we will continue to be satisfied with making noises for winning easy games and making excuses for losing difficult games. Structure, mobility, speed of resolving problems , I still tell young footballers that the game is played using the brain first. Drills and repeating activities done by top teams only work when they are put into a context of a philosophy of football understood by players and coaches. Coaching must be done in a holistic manner..physical,mental and the ability to analyse and synthesize on the field under pressure.

  9. Panama won 2-0 against Jamaica.

  10. i could understand the own goal, but that second what was really going through Welch head…….smh!

  11. idk wat does be goin on inno

  12. We were supposed to have beaten Jamaica

  13. Well just a few years ago we still had Arnold Dwarika, Angus Eve, Stern John,Reynold Carrington, irasto knights, Marvin Oliver, Bert Neptune, Roderick Rambo Gibbs, Nevick Denoon, Richard Chinapoo, Dwight Yorke and I can name a few more all who were also prolific goalscorers yes.

  14. Bruce Aanensen, there are not many orthodox strikers in the game today eh? That has to be down to the tactics of this era. How many real number 9s are there anywhere on the globe?
    Jamaica is giving Panama a hell of a game at the moment. Definitely Jamaica’s best game of the tournament. Fingers crossed.

  15. Remember people like Ed Espinal Snr, Wilfred Cave, Jackie Fleming, Steve David, Ian De Bruin, Gwen Cust, Tansley Thompson and others that I do not remember now???? These guys may not have been the greatest players, but let them loose around the penalty box, and eight out of ten times, the ball was in the back of the net. That is how you win matches.

  16. Right now, Jamaica is playing their best game against Panama. It is goalless but they are giving them a good fight. Who knows…

  17. If we get a draw against Panama, then a 1-0 win against the US will do. IF.

  18. As I said before in an interview on TV the problem I have seen with our football in our sweet country is finishing and that is a serious problem and as I said I don’t really know what kind of drills our coaches are doing to correct this serious problem that we have in our sweet country. When finals in the different tournaments in our Professional league are decided on penalties something is definitely wrong but I am not giving up because I know that can be corrected.

  19. Let us not give up guys. You are creating chances. Put them away and you can win even if outplayed. We outplay and lose so why not the reverse???

  20. So what about the present TTFA administration who continues to fail with respect to choosing the right coaching staff and players to represent our sweet country eh. Them really good yes.

  21. Get rid of Kalamity and every remnant of the UNC/PP and Jack Warner

  22. Took in the game from about the 7 mins into the second half and to me we didn’t look as composed as the two previous games along with most of the game Vs Jamaica. Having said that if we play to our full potential we can beat USA what I’m not certain of is us keeping a clean sheet.

  23. Brian Pouchet what really has to be done to get our sweet country back to where we use to be like back in the days eh?

  24. Earl it was over when the referee blew the whistle to start the first match that they played

  25. oh lawd the USA again eh, oh well it isn’t over until it is over.