Trinidad and Tobago forward Willis Plaza snapped a seven-game scoring drought today as the “Soca Warriors” edged Haiti 1-0 in a closed doors training match at the Central Broward Regional Complex in Fort Lauderdale.
Plaza’s item, which came after just five minutes, will not affect his international goal tally, though. The contest did not count as a FIFA recognised fixture due to the number of substitutions made by each team. But it might come as a relief to a squad that had gone five matches without a win.
Earlier, the Warriors got a visit from injured Trinidad and Tobago 2014 Player of the Year and Orlando City playmaker Kevin Molino, who is undergoing rehab in Orlando following an ACL reconstructive surgery.
“It’s still disappointing for me to be ruled out of the Gold Cup with this injury,” Molino told the TTFA Media, “but God is great and thankfully I’m starting to feel good again.
“I’m following all the directions and maintaining a positive attitude which is crucial towards my recovery.”
Molino said he is following the Warriors closely and is confident his teammates can advance from their group.
England-based midfielder Andre Boucaud said the team is working hard and there is healthy competition for squad places at the moment.
“I think the coach is pushing to get what he wants out of us and we the players are trying to give him what he wants,” said Boucaud. “No one knows what the starting team will be like but everyone wants to be involved which is always a good thing. You’re seeing that from all of the guys and you can feel it intensifying and growing with every session…
“I think we’re going to get it together in time for the first match against Guatemala and look to take it through for the rest of the tournament.”
Warriors coach Stephen Hart was relatively pleased with his team against Haiti.
“It was a game of two halves really,” Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart told the TTFA Media. “The first half we were very compact. We were organized and we didn’t give up many chances but when we did win the ball, our ball speed and possession was at times too erratic. We didn’t really build well.
“But in the second half, it was almost completely different. We defended well and we pushed the ball forward quickly and we got players up in numbers to support it. We had a quite a few chances which was good.”
The Warriors have found goals hard to come by over the past eight months. But Hart suggested that might change at the Gold Cup.
“I’m pleased with the fact that we created chances out of good, solid defending, knowing how to recover the ball,” said Hart, “and hopefully come game time those chances will be tucked away.”
(Team x Haiti)
Trinidad and Tobago: 21.Jan-Michael Williams (1.Marvin Phillip 46) (GK); 5.Daneil Cyrus (18.Yohance Marshall 56), 6.Radanfah Abu Bakr, 4.Sheldon Bateau, 17.Mekeil Williams; 11.Ataulla Guerra (8.Khaleem Hyland 46), 19.Kevan George (14.Andre Boucaud 56), 3.Joevin Jones (9.Kenwyne Jones 56), 13.Cordell Cato (20.Keron Cummings 56), 10.Willis Plaza (7.Jonathan Glenn 56), 16.Rundell Winchester (12.Kadeem Corbin).
Unused subs: 22.Adrian Foncette (GK), 2.Aubrey David, 15.Dwane James.
Coach: Stephen Hart
(Trinidad and Tobago Gold Cup team)
Goalkeepers: 21.Jan-Michael Williams (Central FC), 1.Marvin Phillip (Point Fortin Civic), 22.Adrian Foncette (Police FC);
Defenders: 6.Radanfah Abu Bakr (HB Koge—Denmark), 18.Yohance Marshall (Juventud Independiente—El Salvador), 4.Sheldon Bateau (KV Mechelen, Belgium), 17.Mekeil Williams (W Connection), 5.Daneil Cyrus (W Connection), 2.Aubrey David (Shakhter Karagandy—Kazakhstan), 3.Joevin Jones (Chicago Fire—USA);
Midfielders: 14.Andre Boucaud (Dagenham & Redbridge—UK), 8.Khaleem Hyland (KVC Westerlo—Belgium), 15.Dwane James (North East Stars), 19.Kevan George (Columbus Crew—USA), 11.Ataulla Guerra (Central FC), 20.Keron Cummings (North East Stars);
Forwards: 9.Kenwyne Jones (Cardiff City—UK), 13.Cordell Cato (San Jose Earthquakes—USA), 23.Lester Peltier (Slovan Bratislava—Slovakia), 10.Willis Plaza (Central FC), 16.Rundell Winchester (Portland Timbers 2—USA), 7.Jonathan Glenn (IBV—Iceland), 12.Kadeem Corbin (St Ann’s Rangers).
Gold Cup fixtures
(Thu July 9)
T&T v Guatemala, Chicago;
(Sun July 12)
T&T v Cuba, Phoenix;
(Wed July 15)
T&T v Mexico, Charlotte.