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Plaza grabs Warriors winner in closed doors contest with Haiti

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.

Photo: Central FC striker Willis Plaza (left) celebrates after scoring the decisive goal against North East Stars in the 2014/15 Pro League season. Looking on are Stars goalkeeper Cleon John (centre) and Keryn Navarro. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC striker Willis Plaza (left) celebrates after scoring the decisive goal against North East Stars in the 2014/15 Pro League season.
Looking on are Stars goalkeeper Cleon John (centre) and Keryn Navarro.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

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.”

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Molino said he is following the Warriors closely and is confident his teammates can advance from their group.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago and Orlando City playmaker Kevin Molino (right) hurdles a tackle against Panama during an international friendly in March 2015. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago and Orlando City playmaker Kevin Molino (right) hurdles a tackle against Panama during an international friendly in March 2015.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

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.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart (centre) makes a point while midfielders Ataulla Guerra (right) and Khaleem Hyland look on during a practice session in March. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart (centre) makes a point while midfielders Ataulla Guerra (right) and Khaleem Hyland look on during a practice session in March.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

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

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Andre Boucaud (right) hustles Mexico attacker Rafael Marquez Lugo off the ball during the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Andre Boucaud (right) hustles Mexico attacker Rafael Marquez Lugo off the ball during the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

(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).

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Cordell Cato (right) motors past St Lucia right back Erick Gabriel during the 2014 Caribbean Cup qualifying series. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Cordell Cato (right) motors past St Lucia right back Erick Gabriel during the 2014 Caribbean Cup qualifying series.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

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.

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57 comments

  1. Thanks Nigel. We just haven’t really kicked on since a decent start two years ago.

  2. What I saw was very encouraging. But at the same time tt’s frustrating, because I see what Hart is trying to do and accomplish, but unfortunately we don’t have the luxury of having actual games to fine tune it. We still have some of the problems that have dogged us for years (wasting dead balls, inadequate running off the ball, ball watching, not being switched on for the full 90, escorting players into our penalty area, taking too long to realize that there is a game going on etc.). But there are actual plans and processes to eradicate them, but without and adequately funded programme, I fear it’s going to be hit or miss.

  3. What did you think based on what you saw Nigel Myers?

  4. Stephen Hart reviews T&T’s 1-0 win over Haiti

  5. Well, that is part of the education I say is lacking here. We have many players who would have been famous all over the world if they grew up in proper academies and learning from other pros.

  6. Lasana plaza has some ability but the minor league mentality he and many others possess is their down fall they never truly understood what being a professional is all about

  7. Lol. You’re trouble yes Cornell Glen. Hahaha

  8. Lmao Lasana last two comments

  9. Willis Plaza who can play anywhere on the forward line or in midfield. Is mobile. Decent touch and appreciation for space. And shoots with little back lift from either foot.
    Not a dribbler. But a solid footballer.

  10. Which willis you refering 2 lasana willis reid from the ny knicks or willis from different strokes

  11. If Willis was born in a football country, he would be a millionaire. I have no doubt about that.
    It’s hard to get a proper education in being a professional footballer in Trinidad and Tobago. We try as best as we can.

  12. Looks like we had the younger fellas starting up front which is the way we should be going….we need to play the fellas who have the most desire and hunger to represent the red, white and black….this should be the difference between the fellas who play and the fellas who warm the bench…..no more players with lackahdaisical attitudes….and this should be for forwards, midfielders and defenders……we need professional footballers who can focus, play simple team football, run hard and do their respective jobs in their respextive positions for their country for whatever period when they are the field….players should always be playing with the mindset “you are only as good as your last game”…..Guatemala, Cuba & Mexico are football hungry & football passionate nations…if we cannot match their desire and fight to win, we will concede soft goals to them and lose…

  13. Hahaha Dion Sosa we go take any positive result we can get eh! Hart has done well with his resources!

  14. But haiti beat us in our last two gold cup encounters

  15. Lol. We don’t coach in a fete match. We just play.

  16. Buh A A I didn’t know that Mr. Live Wire knows a little something about coaching “Best to press, then drop of in defensive block, then press and repeat”, so how come his team wired 868 has never won his annual football festival match eh? hahahaha Mr. Live Wire really good yes.

  17. The thing is I’m not sure if it was originally intended for Yohance to replace Cyrus. Yohance was on the sideline waiting to come in the game when Cyrus called for a sub after getting a hard jam.

  18. In our interview, Hart kept moaning that Trini midfielders like to play around with the ball in space but don’t like to put their bodies on the line by charging into dangerous areas. I’m paraphrasing.
    Since Aubrey didn’t play at all. I’m almost certain that he must have had a knock. Otherwise he would have at least replaced Cyrus.

  19. Re:Joevin Jones – I don’t know if it’s his preferred position, or if his regular starting role with Chicago Fire has him brimming with confidence, but he did very well in midfield. He functioned almost like a utility player. Doing his best to get the attack going, but also putting in the defensive work. I was pleased with what I saw of him in this role for the national team. During training sessions for the 2013 Gold Cup I saw Hart encouraging him (almost to the point of begging) to get forward, and he was hesitant. I know it’s only one game and not at a competitive pace, but he seemed to embrace this position.

  20. Joevin is better as a attacking mid he is suspect as a full back mekiel is a better defender and can also come frwd where as joevin will provide a better offensive threat ahead of him

  21. How did Joevin look in midfield? I’m very surprised that he was used there. And intrigued.
    Is the coach that worried about what his midfielders are offering?
    I’ve always liked Joevin. But I’m surprised at the timing of that change in thinking by coach.

  22. Well like I said lasana apparently england is very misguided as trinis nobody in their right mind would think england was a contender and not even brasil with that shit side

  23. I haven’t seen Cato have the kind of game that I need to win me over yet. I like his corner kicks though.
    By the way Nigel Myers, it is Ataulla Guerra. Not Ataullah. They keep misspelling the boy’s name.

  24. Plaza was in and out of the game at times, but very lively and mobile. His goal was an instinctive finish of a seasoned poacher. You could have seen that three up top was something new, because they were all trying to find their feet. But when they did, they were able to create problems for the Haitian defence. Cato was ineffective for the most part, and maybe it had to do with the fact that he played twice for San Jose during the past week. Didn’t seem like his usual self.

  25. Our Starting XI was: Jan-Michael Williams, Daneil Cyrus, Radanfah Abu Bakr, Sheldon Bateau, Mekeil Williams, Ataulla Guerra, Kevan George, Joevin Jones, Cordell Cato, Willis Plaza, Rundell Winchester

    At half-time:
    Marvin Phillip for Jan-Michael Williams
    Khaleem Hyland for Ataulla Guerra
    Keron Cummings for Cordell Cato

    During the rest of the game (not sure of the actual minute):
    Kenwyne Jones for Joevin Jones
    Jonathan Glenn for Willis Plaza
    Kadeem Corbin for Rundell Winchester
    Andre Boucaud for Kevan George
    Yohance Marshall for Daneil Cyrus

    Unused subs: Aubrey David, Dwane James

  26. Man allyuh trinis is the only people I know does get excited about a friendly I swear 1 game not going 2 fix yrs of problems with tnt football

  27. I doubt there is an international team capable of pressing for 90 minutes. Such strategies need a long time to work on and get right.
    Ask Paraguay. Best to press, then drop off in a defensive block, then press and repeat.

  28. I’m not at all surprised that Mekeil is in the reckoning. That is where Pro League knowledge comes in handy. Same for Cummings who was on my all star team this season.
    But how did the three strikers look Nigel Myers? How did Plaza play? What was the full starting team?
    Clearly he didn’t go with his XI to face Guatemala though.

  29. More welcome news! It will be good to have depth in the left back position and healthy competition for places.

  30. Mekeil Williams had a very impressive game in that position. Maybe he got the nod over Aubrey because Hart has been seeing him regularly.

  31. Damn! Hope the Cyrus injury isnt too bad…he’s a key man

  32. Thanks Nigel! Surprised Williams over Aubrey David

  33. Oh yeh, Yohance Marshall replace Cyrus after he picked up an injury.

  34. The defence was Daneil Cyrus (RB), Radanfah Abu Bakr (CB), Sheldon Bateau (CB), Mekeil Williams (LB)

  35. Thanks for the inside info Tallman! Sounds like the team is slowly adapting to Hart’s new formation…I remain hopefull we can get it right in time for Thursday…Question Nigel Did Barteau play at left back or in central defence?

  36. Thanks for the update. Aside from having to be reminded to press, I wonder if they are fit enough to do so for 90+ minutes. Won’t be long before we find out.

  37. Overall the tempo of the game was kinda slow. What I found notable, was this was one of the few times that I saw our attackers consistently pressing the opposition. It seemed like something new, because at times they would forget and have to be reminded. The backline started off shaky, but when they settled down they handled their stories. Mekeil Williams and Radanfah Abu Bakr were very solid in the back. This was the first time I saw Keron Cummings since he was at Central FC and he certainly added a new dimension to our attack. Very composed on the ball, intelligent passing, and adept at taking corners. Whether he can perform consistently is another matter. I still think we give the opposition too much space and time on the ball. Jan-Michael and Marvin both came up with big saves to deny the Haitians, but those were the only two clear chances against us.

  38. Well done my prolific goalscorer Willis Plaza. We shall rise again.

  39. What were your thoughts on the game Nigel? How was our general standard of play?

  40. I was at the game Lasana, and as far as I can tell , it was Rundell. He was playing on the left (where the cross came from) and Cordell was playing on the right. After some time they were switched, most likely because Cordell was bringing too much pressure on Cyrus.

  41. Are we supposed to take solace from the fact that we beat Haiti 1-0 with a late goal?

  42. Fuentes said it was Cordell Cato. Did he adjust that somewhere Nigel Myers?

  43. Rundell Winchester was the player who assisted on Plaza’s goal

  44. Maybe not what I expected but it is a win and a confidence builder.

  45. Poor Haiti can’t catch a break! 🙁

  46. USA just beat Guatemala [4-0] & Guatemala struggled to beat Bermuda two weeks ago. Good chance for Gold Cup win in 1st match!