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Women Warriors promise pacy start against Guatemala in Olympic qualifiers

Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team coach Richard Hood hopes to put Guatemala to the sword with pace and athleticism as the “Women Soca Warriors” kick start their CONCACAF 2016 Olympic qualifying series from 7 pm (TT time) tomorrow at the BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago star Kennya "Yaya" Cordner (right) runs at the Guatemala defence during the 2014 CONCACAF Championship. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago star Kennya “Yaya” Cordner (right) runs at the Guatemala defence during the 2014 CONCACAF Championship.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

Only two nations will advance from Group B to the semifinal round and with Canada—who are ranked 11th in the world by FIFA—also in the group, the Women Warriors need to get off to a flying start.

All Rio 2016 Olympic qualifying matches will be streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra.

The Trinidad and Tobago women are ranked 48th in the world, which is 28 places higher than Guatemala, and defeated their Central American counterparts 2-1 in the 2014 World Cup qualifying series.

They must repeat the result tomorrow.

“We know how important this first game is because the winner could potentially end up as one of the two teams to advance from the group,” Hood told the TTFA Media. “We will take each game on merit but starting with three points is definitely our first aim. We’ve had some injury concerns but I don’t expect it to hamper us.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (second from left) and the "Women Soca Warriors" get ready for 2016 Olympic qualifying action in Houston. (Courtesy TTFA Media)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (second from left) and the “Women Soca Warriors” get ready for 2016 Olympic qualifying action in Houston.
(Courtesy TTFA Media)

“The training camp served us well and we have to give credit to Derrick Jonkins and Matthew Vasquez for the work they did to get them fit…

“The spirit is very good and I think they are very focused on the task at hand.”

Trinidad and Tobago and Guatemala both trained today at the sporting complex shared by the Houston Dynamo and Dash teams.

Hood, who replaced Texan Randy Waldrum as head coach last month, has seven players available from the squad that defeated Guatemala, roughly a year and a half ago in Washington.

Arin King is the only starting defender from that 2014 contest while Liana Hinds, Ahkeela Mollon, Janine Francois, Mariah Shade, Cordner and Attin-Johnson were also involved.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (number 9) is congratulated by Dernelle Mascall (second from right) and her teammates after her successful penalty kick against Guatemala in 2015 World Cup qualifying action. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (number 9) is congratulated by Dernelle Mascall (second from right) and her teammates after her successful penalty kick against Guatemala in 2015 World Cup qualifying action.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

Hood, who is also head coach of Pro League outfit Police FC, suggested that he did not see Guatemala in action himself but was briefed on the Central American opponent by his players.

Trinidad and Tobago hope to take full advantage of their athleticism tomorrow, which could mean key roles for speed merchants like Mollon, Cordner and full back Khadidra Debesette.

“We expect the Guatemalans to play a strong possession game,” said Hood. “We don’t know much about their current team except for reports that I have received and from what I have been told by the players.

“We expect them to play the typical Central American style but we will be prepared for that. We hope to use our athleticism and our speed against them.”

Attin-Johnson said the Women Warriors are excited and optimistic, despite not having their full 21-member squad together for the entire pre-tournament camp.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Ahkeela Mollon (left) holds off Mexico's Valeria Miranda in the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games. (Copyright AFP 2015)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Ahkeela Mollon (left) holds off Mexico’s Valeria Miranda in the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.
(Copyright AFP 2015)

“We are very excited and very much optimistic,” said Attin-Johnson. “We know how important our first game is to us. We need those three points to have a chance of going through to the next round…

“It was difficult not having all the players together at the same time but, when we did get most of our players, it turned out to be a very successful camp.

“We have a new coach and a new system and we had a lot of emphasis on executing that system that he wants to implement.”

The Women Warriors, according to their skipper, know what it takes to be victorious.

“There is a little pressure (because) we have not played together for a while but, for us, we know what it will take (to win),” said Attin-Johnson. “There are no excuses. We have to get the job done and once we execute what coach Hood wants us to do, then I think we come out victorious.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Women's National Senior Team and Police FC coach Richard Hood gestures from the sidelines during 2015/16 Pro League action against San Juan Jabloteh. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team and Police FC coach Richard Hood gestures from the sidelines during 2015/16 Pro League action against San Juan Jabloteh.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

“(Guatemala) are going to come out ready to punch and we just have to be able to absorb it and punch right back and be victorious.”

The CONCACAF 2016 Olympic qualifying series kicked off with action in Group A today in Frisco where Maribel Dominguez scored a hattrick in Mexico’s 6-0 mauling of Puerto Rico in the opening game of a double header.

FIFA 2015 Player of the Year Carli Lloyd scored a penalty and Alex Morgan notched a double in the second fixture as the United States romped to a 5-0 win at the Toyota Stadium.

(Trinidad and Tobago team)

Goalkeepers: Kimika Forbes, Saundra Barron, Shalette Alexander;

Defenders: Khadidra Debesette, Jenelle Cunningham, Arin King, Victoria Swift, Karyn Forbes, Danielle Blair, Chevonne John;

Midfielders: Maylee Attin-Johnson (captain), Liana Hinds, Janine Francois, Naomi Guerra;

Attacking midfielders: Ahkeela Mollon, Tasha St Louis, Anastasia Prescott, Kennya Cordner, Kayla Taylor;

Forwards: Mariah Shade, Jo-Marie Lewis.

Coach: Richard Hood

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender and 2014 TTFA Player of the Year Arin King (left) dives in to tackle Colombia's Tatiana Ariza during the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games. (Copyright AFP 2016)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender and 2014 TTFA Player of the Year Arin King (left) dives in to tackle Colombia’s Tatiana Ariza during the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.
(Copyright AFP 2016)

CONCACAF 2016 Women’s Olympic qualifying series

(All kick offs given in TT time)

(February 10)

Puerto Rico 0Mexico 6 (Maribel Dominguez 18, 51, 89 pen, Alina Garcia Mendez 22, Nayeli Rangel 54, Katlyn Johnson 90) in Group A at Toyota Stadium, Frisco;

United States 5 (Alex Morgan 1, 62, Carli Lloyd 9 pen, Crystal Dunn 15, Christen Press 83), Costa Rica 0 in Group A at Toyota Stadium, Frisco;

(February 11)

Guatemala v Trinidad and Tobago, 7 pm, Group B, BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston;

Canada v Guyana, 9.30 pm, Group B, BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston;

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (left) tussles with United States attacker Alex Morgan (centre) while Tasha St Louis looks on during 2014 CONCACAF action in Kansas City. (Copyright Kyle Rivas/AFP 2014)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (left) tussles with United States attacker Alex Morgan (centre) while Tasha St Louis looks on during 2014 CONCACAF action in Kansas City.
(Copyright Kyle Rivas/AFP 2014)

(February 13)

Costa Rica v Puerto Rico, 2.30 pm, Group A, Toyota Stadium, Frisco;

Mexico v United States, 5 pm, Group A, Toyota Stadium, Frisco;

(February 14)

Guyana v Guatemala, 2.30 pm, Group B, BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston;

Trinidad and Tobago v Canada, 5 pm, Group B, BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston;

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Kimika Forbes (right) saves from United States record goal scorer Abby Wambach in 2015 Women's World Cup qualifying action in Kansas City. (Courtesy Kyle Rivas/AFP)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Kimika Forbes (right) saves from United States record goal scorer Abby Wambach in 2015 Women’s World Cup qualifying action in Kansas City.
(Courtesy Kyle Rivas/AFP)

(February 15)

Mexico v Costa Rica, 7 pm, Group A, Toyota Stadium, Frisco;

United States v Puerto Rico, 9.30 pm, Group A, Toyota Stadium, Frisco;

(February 16)

Trinidad and Tobago v Guyana, 7 pm, Group B, BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston;

Canada v Guatemala, 9.30 pm, Group B, BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston.

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7 comments

  1. No hammering there Mike…check David Rudder to sing something =D

    • LOL … Despite the controversial PK , in the first half alone our strikers shoot at least 4 point blank shots at the keeper. Regardless of the PK we should’ve been up 5-6 to 1 at end of 1st half or the very least 3-1… Take the 3 ugly points regroup and stick to the coaches game plan. Canada will be much tougher than Guatemala so we must finish our chances and defend as tight knit units all over the pitch for the full 90 minutes.

  2. Great win by the women, tremendous character after that ridiculous penalty.

    https://twitter.com/NBCSportsSoccer/status/697947744376217601

    With the preparation challenges, then faced with the penalty call it would have been easy to lower heads and give up but not our WOMEN. Pure class!

  3. We need to hammer Guatemala tonight as Group B might just be won on goal differential. A large win tonight of 4 plus goals will go a long way in the big picture for group B. If we can get a result versus Canada (tie)( win would be awesome) then another big win versus Guyana to take group B. We don’t want to end up in 2nd place in group B as playing the States will be tough. Rather go up against Mexico or Costa Rica in the semi final round. Our Women Warriors are ready for tonight’s match from everything I have been reading and seeing on social media.

  4. Make or break. But we generally tend to have Guatemala’s number. They fear us there. Let’s hope that remains.

  5. Good luck, ladies! Play hard, play smart!