The Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 Team’s Chile 2015 World Cup dream ended in disaster this evening as the junior “Soca Warriors” collapsed to a 5-1 loss against bitter regional rivals, Jamaica, in San Sula, Honduras.
The Warriors, who lost three successive 2015 CONCACAF Championship Group A matches against Guatemala, the United States and Honduras, would have kept their chances of a Play Off berth alive with a win today. Instead, it was an evening of humiliation for Trinidad and Tobago as they got front row seats to a range of “Reggae Boyz” dance moves in a lopsided result.
The Boyz are favourites to beat Guatemala to the knockout round now. While Trinidad and Tobago will play for nothing more than pride when they challenge Cuba from 4.30 pm on Wednesday in their final World Cup qualifying outing.
National Under-17 coach Shawn Cooper might have expected more today after his Warriors tested the United States and Honduras for long periods of their respective contests before succumbing 2-0 to both teams.
Trinidad and Tobago started brightly too and should have taken the lead in the 26th minute, as striker Chaz Burnett cut in off the left flank and dribbled past an opponent before spanking his low drive off the outside of the post.
But Jamaica’s Peter Vassell was first on the score card, in the 39th minute, with a shot from outside the area that took a slight deflection before beating Trinidad and Tobago custodian Levi Fernandez at his near post.
The Warriors responded with arguably their most breathtaking move of the tournament in the 42nd minute. Captain and full back Noah Powder stepped up to a dead ball on the edge of the Jamaican 18-yard box and produced a brilliant left footed effort that climbed, curled and dipped to comprehensively beat opposing goalkeeper Jahmali Waite.
Powder raced over to his own bench to “high five” coach Cooper. But Trinidad and Tobago lacked the concentration or tactical discipline to build on that momentum.
Two minutes into first half stoppage time, Jamaica striker Nathaniel Adamolekun restored the northern Caribbean island’s advantage with a lobbed effort after being left criminally unattended by Trinidad and Tobago defenders Tekay Hoyce and Kierron Mason.
Cooper opted to replace Fernandez, who has struggled between the uprights in this competition, with Tyrek James and, for 35 minutes, it might have seemed an inspired substitution.
But as the Warriors pushed forward in a vain search for an equaliser, the dam burst as Jamaica scored three times in the final 10 minutes.
Jamaica substitute Tajae Brown was in the right place in the right time as Powder’s attempted clearance struck him and looped over James for the Boyz’ third. Brown’s second, in the 84th minute, was a bubbled shot that hit his boot twice and fortuitously looped over the Trinidad and Tobago goalie.
And the Warrior defenders were at sea when Donovan Dawkins hooked in the fifth, in the 89th minute, as Jamaican players peeled away for yet another dance routine on the touchline.
Somehow, Trinidad and Tobago must put this embarrassment behind them for their final outing against Cuba on Wednesday afternoon.
Trinidad and Tobago: 1.Levi Fernandez (GK) (20.Tyrek James (GK) 45); 19.Noah Powder (captain), 4.Tekay Hoyce, 12.Kierron Mason, 3.Keston Julien; 6.Kareem Riley, 8.Joshua Burnett; 7.Shakeem Patrick, 10.Morgan Bruce (11.Jerren Nixon Jr 72), 14.Isaiah Hudson (16.Shobal Celestin 68), 9.Chaz Burnett.
Unused substitutes: 2.Isaiah Garcia, 5.Shirwin Noel, 13.Kishon Hackshaw, 15.Darnell Hospedales, 17.Jeankeon Alexander, 18.John-Paul Rochford.
Coach: Shawn Cooper
CONCACAF Under-17 Championship results
(Sun Mar 8)
Jamaica 5 (Peter Vassell 39, Nathaniel Adamolekun 45, Tajae Brown 80, 84, Donovan Dawkins 89), Trinidad and Tobago 1 (Noah Powder 42) at San Sula;