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Canada clobber Women Warriors; but Hood promises semis spot for T&T

The Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team got an ice cold reality check in Houston yesterday evening, as they were clobbered 6-0 by Canada in a CONCACAF 2016 Rio Olympic qualifying fixture at the BBVA Compass Stadium.

Photo: Canada captain Christine Sinclair (centre) celebrates a historic strike against Trinidad and Tobago yesterday evening. Sinclair scored her 159 international goal, which took her clear of former US star Mia Hamm as the second highest women's scorer of all time. (Courtesy MexSport/CONCACAF)
Photo: Canada captain Christine Sinclair (centre) celebrates a historic strike against Trinidad and Tobago yesterday evening.
Sinclair scored her 159 international goal, which took her clear of former US star Mia Hamm as the second highest women’s scorer of all time.
(Courtesy MexSport/CONCACAF)

At kick off, Canada and the “Women Soca Warriors” had three points each and were competing for the right to top Group B. But it proved to be a mismatch, as the North American team scored twice in the first half and four more after the break for a comfortable win.

Trinidad and Tobago coach Richard Hood, who took over in the middle of January and had no international warm-up games leading up to the tournament, said it was just too early in his team’s cycle to handle a CONCACAF powerhouse like Canada, who are ranked 11th in the world by FIFA.

“We didn’t have the physical capacity to play with that Canadian team today, that was quite evident,” Hood told Wired868. “We are not as strong and as fit as we need to be to compete with that team. The Canadian team is a fantastic team.”

The result leaves the Women Warriors in third place, after Guyana shocked Guatemala 2-1 for their first win at CONCACAF level.

The Women Warriors must defeat Guyana on Tuesday night to advance from their group.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Women's National Senior Team head coach Richard Hood (left) and captain Maylee Attin-Johnson at the post-game press conference after Thursday's 2-1 win over Guatemala. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team head coach Richard Hood (left) and captain Maylee Attin-Johnson at the post-game press conference after Thursday’s 2-1 win over Guatemala.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

Hood suggested Guyana were fortunate to escape with three points against Guatemala but he knows they would be mentally stronger as a result.

“I thought Guatemala were the better team but they wasted a lot of opportunities and Guyana got the victory with a long ranged shot,” said Hood. “They will bunker down and hope they can resist us (on Tuesday) and we have to win that game.

“We will put out our most offensive team and go for the win.”

Trinidad and Tobago topped their Caribbean qualifying round while Guyana eked through in a third spot, so the two island republic should start as favourites.

But captain Maylee Attin-Johnson and company would have to put last night’s game behind them.

Yesterday’s result would not compare favourably to a fortuitous but gritty 1-0 loss to the United States, two years ago, in the 2015 World Cup qualifying campaign under former coach Randy Waldrum.

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)

But the devil is in the details.

Waldrum, whose own preparation was far from smooth, still had two camps in Houston and one in Palo Seco as well as five Caribbean Championship fixtures under his belt before he led the Women Warriors out to face USA.

In contrast, Hood has been in charge for barely a month, had no international rehearsals whatsoever and did not have his full team together until three days before their first game.

The Women Warriors too have had an eye-raising four different head coaches in their last six games, as Waldrum, Anthony Creece and Kendall Walkes all took turns on the bench before Hood’s appointment.

Attin-Johnson explained that Hood has implemented a new system designed to make Trinidad and Tobago a more potent and dynamic force going forward. But the problem is the squad have not had time to fully absorb it.

“It is difficult for some of us to change to a system in that space of time,” Attin-Johnson told Wired868. “We only had our full team three days before the first game. And with what we are trying to play, if one player doesn’t do their job, the entire thing can shut down…

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Maylee Attin-Johnson gestures to her teammates during their 2016 Olympic qualifier against Canada on February 14. (Courtesy TTFA Media)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Maylee Attin-Johnson gestures to her teammates during their 2016 Olympic qualifier against Canada on February 14.
(Courtesy TTFA Media)

“I think it is a good thing he is trying to implement but it is difficult to grasp when you don’t have your players together well in advance of such a difficult tournament.”

There was no hiding place for Trinidad and Tobago’s flaws last night, despite the fact that Hood set out to frustrate his opponent.

Talented winger Ahkeela Mollon and busy midfielder Janine Francois were both omitted from the starting team as Hood tried to put out a more workmanlike squad.

Khadidra Debesette started in Mollon’s preferred role on the right flank, due to her superior defensive instincts, while Victoria Swift’s more rugged approach was felt to be better suited for the Canadian challenge.

“Basically, we set up to counter Canada,” said Hood. “We knew they would play long balls from the ball for their forward to win flick-ons to feed with their runners through our defensive lines. And we knew they would be more physical in the centre than Guatemala.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago utility player Victoria Swift (centre) stays close to Canada forward Melissa Tancredi (left) while Arin King (right) and Karyn Forbes look on during 2016 Olympic qualifying action on February 14. (Courtesy TTFA Media)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago utility player Victoria Swift (centre) stays close to Canada forward Melissa Tancredi (left) while Arin King (right) and Karyn Forbes look on during 2016 Olympic qualifying action on February 14.
(Courtesy TTFA Media)

“So we brought in Vicki to mark their striker and let our back four cover (her)… And we tried to take away their wing play because we knew how strong they could be on the flanks.

“So we needed players who were willing to work hard on defence basically and we tried to start with our best defensive unit available to us at this time.”

Trinidad and Tobago’s resistance lasted for roughly 24 minutes until Canada’s Diana Matheson broke free down the left side of their defence and beat goalkeeper Kimika Forbes with a low shot at her near post.

The Women Warriors never looked capable of a response. The final shot count read 22 Canadian efforts to just two from the team in red, black and white.

And captain Maylee Attin-Johnson and company managed only 89 completed passes to 349 from their North American opponents.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Karyn Forbes (right) keeps the ball away from Guatemala attacker Diana Barrera during last Thursday's 2016 Olympic qualifying action. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Karyn Forbes (right) keeps the ball away from Guatemala attacker Diana Barrera during last Thursday’s 2016 Olympic qualifying action.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

“We were awful in possession and that is a big concern,” said Hood. “We never tried to play our passing game today… (Instead) we tried to (play long passes and) win second balls and we lost most of them.

“To play the way we want to play, we have to be able to keep the ball. And we couldn’t keep the ball.”

Melissa Tancredi doubled Canada’s lead with a free header off a left side cross in the 44th minute and the “Maple Leaves” never looked back.

“(Canada players) come in threes and fours and surround the ball and I think we panicked a little and weren’t composed when we had the ball,” Attin-Johnson told Wired868. “We were always rushing. I think it was a lack of composure and not trusting in our ability to move on the ball. That is what killed us.

“We kept turning over the ball.”

Thirty two year old veteran Christine Sinclair came off the bench and cut in off the left flank to score her 159th international goal, which took her past former USA legend Mia Hamm as the second highest scorer in the history of the women’s game.

Photo: Canada captain and record goal scorer Christine Sinclair. (Courtesy Business Wire)
Photo: Canada captain and record goal scorer Christine Sinclair.
(Courtesy Business Wire)

Another retired USA striker, Abby Wambach, remains the international game’s most prolific scorer with 184 goals.

Kadeisha Buchanan, Janine Beckles and Jessie Flemming got on the score summary too, as Canada ran riot down the flanks.

“A lot of their goals came from the wings and we just didn’t have an answer for that,” said Attin-Johnson. “We knew that would be their strength going into the game. We gave them too much space and let them play to their strengths and they punished us.”

Trinidad and Tobago cannot afford another slip-up.

“Guyana only need a draw to (advance), so we have to go out (and attack) with full force,” said Attin-Johnson. “We know they will (go into a) bunker and try to frustrate us, so we have to have an all or nothing mentality…

Photo: Guyana defender Alison Heydorne (second from right) celebrates her spectacular game winner against Guatemala with her teammates during CONCACAF 2016 Olympic qualifying action yesterday in Houston. (Courtesy MexSport/CONCACAF)
Photo: Guyana defender Alison Heydorne (second from right) celebrates her spectacular game winner against Guatemala with her teammates during CONCACAF 2016 Olympic qualifying action yesterday in Houston.
(Courtesy MexSport/CONCACAF)

“We are the number one team in the Caribbean for a reason and we will go all out against Guyana with that mindset. It is do or die.”

Hood vowed that the Women Warriors will rebound from tonight’s thumping. And Guyana better watch out.

“Our goal was to reach the semifinals and we are going to reach the semifinals,” said Hood. “We have to beat Guyana. And we will. Simple as that.”

(Team against Canada)

Trinidad and Tobago (4-2-3-1): 1.Kimika Forbes (GK); 4.Danielle Blair, 14.Karyn Forbes, 5.Arin King, 2.Jenelle Cunningham; 8.Victoria Swift (15.Liana Hinds 46), 9.Maylee Attin-Johnson (captain) (7.Kayla Taylor 80); 6.Khadidra Debesette, 10.Tasha St Louis, 19.Kennya Cordner; 3.Mariah Shade (16.Jo Marie Lewis 73).

Unused substitutes: 18.Shalette Alexander (GK), 20.Saundra Baron (GK), 13.Naomi Guerra, 12.Ahkeela Mollon, 11.Janine Francois, 17.Anastasia Prescott.

Coach: Richard Hood

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Arin King (right) nicks the ball away from Guatemala attacker Diana Barrera during 2016 Olympic qualifying action on Thursday. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Arin King (right) nicks the ball away from Guatemala attacker Diana Barrera during 2016 Olympic qualifying action on Thursday.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

CONCACAF 2016 Women’s Olympic qualifying series results

(Group B)

(February 14)

Guyana 2 (Mariam El-Masri 71, Alison Heydorne 76), Guatemala 1 (Ana Martinez 54) at BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston;

Trinidad and Tobago 0, Canada 6 (Diana Matheson 24, Melissa Tancredi 44, Christine Sinclair 63, Kadeisha Buchanan 66, Janine Beckle 75, Jessie Flemming 79) at BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston;

Photo: Canada's 16 year old rising star Deanne Rose (centre) terrorises the Guyana defence during 2016 Olympic qualifying action on Thursday. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Canada’s 16 year old rising star Deanne Rose (centre) terrorises the Guyana defence during 2016 Olympic qualifying action on Thursday.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

Upcoming fixtures

(All kick offs given in TT time)

(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.

[standings league_id=5 template=compact logo=true]

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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47 comments

  1. The team is playing well below their capabilities. In 2014 they were ultra competitive, but after the loss to Ecuador, we went on hiatus and lost a lot of momentum. What a shame! They still show fight, but you can see they’re very rusty, slow, and the fitness level is not adequate. It’s hard to be inactive for such a long period of time and then all of a sudden show up on game day. All we can do is support them and hope for the best.

  2. I’m never of the belief that teams can’t be beaten (the US included) but at the international level if a team is technically suspect and their conditioning is below par …..then you’re walking into a den of lions waving a white flag. Unfortunately TT competes against the US …. the current world beasts, provided we even get past Guyana (who we talk about as a guaranteed win even though they conceded less against Canada and beat the same team we did) ….if we get the US we getting at least 6.

    • I won’t say any team can be beaten either. I’d say that realistically you don’t expect to start screening last week and beat Real Madrid by Sunday.
      Freak results happen and you always hope for the best. But you cannot realistically expect it from your squad.

    • If the team was at least fit …they would give themselves a fighting chance … but they’re unfit and their possession game is poor … makes for a horrible 90 mins of football.

  3. well we new ttfa president said in his pre elections maifesto that the women”s program was 1 of his #1 priority

  4. Right now we should be worried about being embarrassed. 6-0 is embarrassing and playing the US in the semis could be worse. But again we don’t invest money in the ladies so what ROI can we realistically expect?

  5. No matter what coach is in charge, we cannot expect to beat the USA with even a few months preparation. I think a semifinal placing is a decent return. Anything beyond that is spectacular.

  6. god don’t sleep brent them ungrateful people at ttfa have men coaching for free and them letting them go with no notice so what they expect the resuts will be they get lucky against guatemala and even if they get 2 the semis the US mack truck waiting to dismantle them

    • Sosa sadly enough You seem more concerned with the white man than getting fired. You sound like you hoping your women national team get beaten to prove your point.

  7. We don’t invest any money in the ladies program. We fire the only good coach we’ve had and expect better results. Our FA is in shambles. .. Enjoy Houston ladies because allyuh eh going Brazil

  8. Keep your head up Ladies, Next Game is Soon So Keep Pressing Because Trinidad & Tobago Will Be Supporting You Always⚽❤????!!!

  9. Tough one team. Forget about that and learn from the mistakes. Little more effort on defense and follow coaches’ instructions. We will bounce back stronger!!

  10. Earl Best

    Why would Guyana automatically go through if Wednesday’s game ended in a draw? Goal difference? That should make Hood’s job of persuading his “best offensive team” to put their best foot forward. I guess Mollon will have a lot to prove so we can expect a corker from her.

  11. For the sake of positive vibes i will comment on this tournament, team performance and team selector after it is all done!!!

  12. Well Arin did say we’re not gonna get 4 again lol

  13. Thoughts on Mollon not playing?
    (Should have put money on that. Gut told me she wouldn’t play this match.)

  14. In the Olympic qualifiers? T&T got to the final four on two or three occasions in the CONCACAF Championship. We go there just a year and a half ago actually.

  15. either way, it’s the USA vs The Caribbean

  16. lol ..I was trying check, any Caribbean team ever played in the final four of the qualifiers?

  17. Well, look at the opening 20 minutes for T&T against Guatemala. If we start like that, Guyana would be in trouble. It will be interesting for sure.
    May the best team win. 😉

  18. I’ll be honest now (taking off my patriotic cap, being a journalist now). On the attack, Trinidad is scary. However, defensively, T&T looked weak, disorganised; no chemistry and that’s where the difference between the two teams are. While indeed, Guyana isnt such a threat, the girls are skilful and can surprise you (see goals scored against Guatemala, that could’ve beaten TT). Guyana is very organised in the defence.

  19. Lol. To be honest, you all surprised me already when you beat Jamaica to get here. Jamaica gave us the scare of our lives.
    So I know Guyana won’t be easy. But I think T&T is better going forward, so your strengths suit us.

  20. lol lol nah man .. strangely, the T&T supporters laughed my team when we went down 5 – 0 Canada hahahah

  21. Well, I didn’t see that match so I can’t comment Rawle. But I don’t see it as disrespecting Guyana. We need a win so we have to play an offensive team. Don’t think there is more to it than that.
    You trying to psych up your Jaguars or wot?! Hahaha

  22. PLus keep in mind, a few T&T players are team-mates with some of the Lady Jags in Canada

  23. “I thought Guatemala were the better team but they wasted a lot of opportunities and Guyana got the victory with a long ranged shot,” said Hood. “They will bunker down and hope they can resist us (on Tuesday) and we have to win that game.

    “We will put out our most offensive team and go for the win”

    smh, Lasana that coach ever heard about respecting opposition? Guyana is a very defensive team.. Guatemala was not the better team. i wonder which game he was watching… Against Guyana, Canada scored two goals in the second half and played harder than they did against TT. In fact, Canada started their second unit against T&T.

    Be humble and respect your opposition, regardless of how much you think you might beat them, you never know what could happen on the night.

    The T&T coach’s comments is what will make him has his last stint with that team.

  24. Hahaha. Thought I would have heard from you Rawle! Congrats on a great result for Guyanese football. But this wouldn’t be like the 2014 World Cup qualifying competition! 🙂

  25. All we (Guyana) need is a draw and if Trinidad play that mess that they did against Canada against Guyana, then we will get more than a draw lol