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Five-star Women Warriors spank Guyana; T&T book semifinal date with USA

The Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team inflicted a historic 5-1 whipping on neighbours, Guyana, last night to advance to the CONCACAF 2016 Olympic qualifying series semifinal round on Friday.

It was Trinidad and Tobago’s joint largest margin of victory in a CONCACAF women’s tournament, after a 6-2 win against Haiti in a 2004 Olympic qualifier.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Ahkeela Mollon (left) bursts past Guyana mdifielder Otesha Charles during CONCACAF 2016 Olympic qualifying action last night in Houston. (Copyright AFP 2016/Scott Halleran)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Ahkeela Mollon (left) bursts past Guyana mdifielder Otesha Charles during CONCACAF 2016 Olympic qualifying action last night in Houston.
(Copyright AFP 2016/Scott Halleran)

The “Women Soca Warriors” will now face FIFA World Cup champions, the United States, from 9.30 pm at the BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas. The winner will go to the Rio Olympics. The loser will be be eliminated.

For now, Trinidad and Tobago coach Richard Hood and his squad might just want to bask in the success of a final four placing.

“The result was a great one for us in a must win situation,” Hood told Wired868. “This was our main goal coming out there. Anything but a semifinal finish would have been a failure.

“Now, we have to see what we can do against the US.”

Guyana only needed to draw to advance to the semifinal round. But, despite a humbling 6-0 loss to Canada on Sunday evening, Hood promised to get the Women Warriors into the knockout round.

Trinidad and Tobago captain Maylee Attin-Johnson said she never doubted their ability to progress for a second.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago players Khadidra Debesette (left) and Maylee Attin-Johnson (right) try to close down Guatemala midfielder Marilyn Rivera during 2016 Olympic qualifying action last Thursday. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago players Khadidra Debesette (left) and Maylee Attin-Johnson (right) try to close down Guatemala midfielder Marilyn Rivera during 2016 Olympic qualifying action last Thursday.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

“We were not really worried,” Attin-Johnson told Wired868. “We knew we were the number one team in the Caribbean, so we just needed to go out there and stamp our authority.”

Hood reverted to the starting team that defeated Guatemala last  Thursday, as winger Ahkeela Mollon and midfielder Janine Francois were recalled at the expense of full back Danielle Blair and holding midfielder Victoria Swift.

Hood and Attin-Johnson had promised to hit Guyana with everything they had and, although their opponents knew what was coming, they could not resist.

“We wanted to come out and go at them fast and get behind their backs down the flanks as quickly as possible,” said Hood. “We thought their full backs were weak and we executed brilliantly.”

Kennya “Yaya” Cordner put the Women Warriors ahead after just seven minutes as she ran on to a through ball and rounded Guyana goalkeeper Chante Sanford to score.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Kennya "Yaya" Cordner (centre) prepares to fire him while Guyana goalkeeper Chante Sandiford (left) looks on during CONCACAF 2016 Olympic qualifying action last night in Houston. (Copyright MexSport/CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Kennya “Yaya” Cordner (centre) prepares to fire him while Guyana goalkeeper Chante Sandiford (left) looks on during CONCACAF 2016 Olympic qualifying action last night in Houston.
(Copyright MexSport/CONCACAF)

And Trinidad and Tobago grabbed three more goals in the next 15 minutes, as Mollon teed up an item for Mariah Shade then grabbed one herself while opposing defender Alison Heydorn put into her own net in a clumsy effort to cut out a Janelle Cunningham cross.

Once four goals clear, the Warriors, according to captain Attin-Johnson, went into cruise control. And Bria Williams pulled a goal back for Guyana with a precise lobbed effort from distance in the 44th minute.

“We took our feet off the gas and allowed them to score a goal,” said the Trinidad and Tobago captain. “That is what separates us from the top teams like the USA and Canada. When they get a team to punish, they keep pushing and pushing for the entire 90 minutes.

“We have got to learn to be more professional if we want to close the gap…”

Cordner added gloss on the scoreline with a fifth item for the Women Warriors in the 61st minute, after the Guyana custodian failed to hold on to a Mollon effort.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Ahkeela Mollon. (Copyright AFP 2016/Scott Halleran)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Ahkeela Mollon.
(Copyright AFP 2016/Scott Halleran)

Attin-Johnson made a point of congratulating Mollon, who got her first 90 minute outing under Hood tonight and should be raring to go against the United States.

“We are a very dynamic team going forward with Ahkeela and Kennya on the wings and they both played within the (new tactical) system and scored,” said Attin-Johnson. “She proved she can perform within the system and that is great for us with the USA to come on Friday.”

Hood praised Mollon too, as the winger responded positively after she struggled tactically in the opening win over Guatemala and was left out against Canada.

“She played the offensive role much closer to what we are trying to get her to do,” he said. “The goal she scored was straight through the middle and we want to see more of that from her. I want her to finish off moves too and not just cross the ball.”

The final whistle sealed Trinidad and Tobago’s largest triumph in a CONCACAF women’s tournament in the last 12 years and joint best margin of victory ever at this level.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Jo Marie Lewis (right) tries to close down Guyana defender Leah Ramalho during CONCACAF 2016 Olympic qualifying action last night in Houston. (Copyright CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Jo Marie Lewis (right) tries to close down Guyana defender Leah Ramalho during CONCACAF 2016 Olympic qualifying action last night in Houston.
(Copyright CONCACAF)

It will be considerably more difficult on Friday when the Women Warriors line up against the World Cup champions on their home soil from 9.30 pm.

Hood said the squad will review video footage of the United States over the next two days, as they formulate a game plan.

He admitted to concern about his team’s physical preparation while there are still some tactical areas that he needs more time to work on.

“We are not where we should be fitness wise,” said Hood. “I don’t know with our fitness concerns if we can play the way we want to play against them…

“We also have to improve our ability to keep possession of the football. I don’t know if we can improve enough over the next two days. It is a work in progress.

“We just have to do our best.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Tasha St Louis (far left) celebrates with teammates after her stunning game winning goal against Guatemala in Houston, Texas. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Tasha St Louis (far left) celebrates with teammates after her stunning game winning goal against Guatemala in Houston, Texas.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

Attin-Johnson and her teammates gave the US a fright, two years ago, but ultimately succumbed to a 1-0 defeat. It is likely to be ever tougher this time.

She doesn’t think the World Cup champions would be particularly motivated by that close scoreline.

“They didn’t like that they only beat us 1-0 in that (2015 World Cup qualifier) and they will come out hard (on Friday),” said Attin-Johnson. “But I don’t think they will be trying to settle a score. They are a top team for a reason and they are very professional in every game they play, no matter who they are coming up against.

“We just have to maintain our composure and play our hearts out…

“For us to qualify for an Olympics, we have to beat a top team. Now a top team is in front of us and we have to do our best and hope our best is good enough.”

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)

(Team against Guyana)

Trinidad and Tobago (4-2-3-1): 1.Kimika Forbes (GK); 6.Khadidra Debesette, 14.Karyn Forbes, 5.Arin King, 2.Jenelle Cunningham; 9.Maylee Attin-Johnson (captain), 11.Janine Francois (15.Liana Hinds 65); 12.Ahkeela Mollon, 10.Tasha St Louis (8.Victoria Swift 72), 19.Kennya Cordner; 3.Mariah Shade (16.Jo Marie Lewis 64)

Unused substitutes: 18.Shalette Alexander (GK), 20.Saundra Baron (GK), 4.Danielle Blair, 7.Kayla Taylor, 13.Naomi Guerra, 17.Anastasia Prescott.

Coach: Richard Hood

 

Referee: Gillian Martindale (Barbados)

Photo: Trinidad ad Tobago left back Janelle Cunningham (right) tries to stay close to Canada attacker Janine Beckle during CONCACAF action. (Courtesy MexSport/CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad ad Tobago left back Janelle Cunningham (right) tries to stay close to Canada attacker Janine Beckle during CONCACAF action.
(Courtesy MexSport/CONCACAF)

CONCACAF 2016 Olympic qualifier

(Tuesday February 16)

Trinidad and Tobago 5 (Kennya Cordner 7, 61, Mariah Shade 10, Alison Heydorn OG 17, Ahkeela Mollon 21), Guyana 1 (Bria Williams 44) at BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston;

Canada 10, Guatemala 0 at BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston.

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

AboutLasana 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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28 comments

  1. A draw means penalty kicks though. But that would be an accomplishment for sure.

  2. Boy I will take a draw! Anytime! I hope we keep it under 5.

  3. ..LOL. Yes, one can always hope..

  4. Lasana Liburd, I always support T&T in everything. However, I’m a big US woman’s soccer fan. What should I do ? Hope for a draw ?

  5. Or hor…. I thought you were a dreamer lol

  6. I don’t mean we are going to the Olympics, Brent. I mean the team still has potential to be a force. And that has to be groomed.

  7. Big things Lasana Liburd? Yuh serious? How many teams going to the Olympics, not 2?

  8. The potential to do big things is still there…

  9. Seems as though the only good news we’re getting lately is from Sports. Well done Girls.

  10. When Maylee, Yaya and Mollon all play well together it’s one of the best sights in CONCACAF women’s football no doubt

  11. This result equals the Women’s largest CONCACAF win. They beat Haiti 6-2 in Olympic Qualification in 2004.

  12. Lasana you saying the winner of Fridays game will go to Rio in the article, but isn’t this a semi final and only the winner of Sundays game will go?

  13. In all the bacchanal i missed watching that last night… good for the girls… on to the next chore….

  14. Go T&T We Are So Proud Of You⚽✔❤?????????!!!

  15. Didn’t expect that scoreline. … good performance