Orlando City midfielder Kevin Molino is set to make his first appearance of Trinidad and Tobago’s 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign after he was pencilled into the “Soca Warriors” squad today to face St Vincent and the Grenadines on March 25 and 29 respectively.
Molino missed much of 2015 through injury but has already represented Orlando in three Major League Soccer (MLS) games this season.
Hart said he has monitored the former Mucurapo Secondary schoolboy closely, in recent weeks, and believes he can help lift the Warriors.
“I think it’s exciting for the country that Molino is back,” Hart told the TTFA Media. “He played 90 minutes for his club on Friday and that’s fantastic.”
As expected, Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart also made room for skilful 18 year old AZ Alkmaar winger, Levi Garcia, who played for 80 minutes today and created one goal in his team’s 2-2 draw against FC Twente in the Netherlands Eredivisie.
“Levi has been doing well,” said Hart. “He gives us a bit of penetration and I want to give him the experience of coming into the camp and fighting for a position. Because he knows what it is now to fight his way onto a team and try to get selected.”
The big surprise, though, was a maiden call-up for 24 year old Belgium-based midfielder John Bostock, who once captained England at Under-17 level and is Crystal Palace’s youngest ever first team player, after he made his debut at 15 years and 287 days old.
Bostock joined Tottenham Hotspur a year later but never got on the field for them and has been a journeyman player ever since with seven different clubs in the following seven years.
Bostock qualifies to represent the Warriors through a Trinidadian grandmother and, although he was born in south London, he already holds a Trinidad and Tobago passport. He has been wooed by Trinidad and Tobago for at least the last three years and was even officially named on the Warriors’ shortlist for the CONCACAF 2013 Gold Cup.
Hart thinks he will be asset to the national team with his shooting from distance and dead balls.
“Bostock is a player that I think a lot of people will like,” said the Warriors coach. “He gives an outside threat with his shooting and the dead ball situation.”
Hart is without first choice goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams, defender Radanfah Abu Bakr and midfielders Keron Cummings and Cordell Cato through injury.
And he also overlooked attacking midfielder Ataulla Guerra, who recently joined Charleston Battery in the US second tier, and Marcus Joseph, who scored his first international goal against Grenada yesterday.
Winger Lester Peltier and defensive midfielder Kevan George, who are both unattached at the moment, were also omitted.
Oddly, there was no room for Republic of Korea-based defender Carlyle Mitchell, although his absence meant that Hart has just two specialist central defenders, Sheldon Bateau and Yohance Marshall.
Daneil Cyrus and Mekeil Williams can both fill in as stoppers but have been used predominantly as full backs at international level.
There was no call either for Iceland-based striker Jonathan Glenn, who led the line in Trinidad and Tobago’s 2016 Copa America Centenario loss to Haiti on January 8.
Hart hinted that he put a premium on versatility in the selection of his 22-man squad.
“I tried to find the most balanced squad possible to go into the games,” said Hart. “We have some key players injured so I had to juggle the line up and add one or two players that can fill in certain roles.
“So hopefully we have the right balance and mind frame going into the (game).”
Captain Kenwyne Jones is back, after missing the 2016 Copa America Centenario play off loss to Haiti on January 8, and will be making his first international appearance since his mid-season move to Abu Dhabi-based club, Al Jazira.
Versatile Central FC midfielder Sean De Silva, who has been wooed by Guyana and Antigua and Barbuda over the past year, has finally forced his way into the squad for a competitive fixture, on the back of his consistent performances this season.
And El Salvador-based striker Willis Plaza is back too, after missing out on a pick for the play off defeat to Haiti.
The Warriors will have double sessions at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Monday and Tuesday before departing for Kingstown on Wednesday.
(Trinidad and Tobago team)
Goalkeepers: Marvin Phillip (Morvant Caledonia United), Adrian Foncette (Police FC);
Defenders: Sheldon Bateau (FC Krylia Sovetov—Russia), Yohance Marshall (Murcielagos FC—Mexico), Daneil Cyrus (W Connection), Mekeil Williams (Colorado Rapids—USA), Aubrey David (Deportivo Saprissa—Costa Rica), Justin Hoyte (Dagenham & Redbridge—England);
Midfielders: Andre Boucaud (Dagenham & Redbridge—England), John Bostock (OH Leuven—Belgium), Khaleem Hyland (KVC Westerlo—Belgium), Neveal Hackshaw (Charleston Battery—USA);
Attacking midfielders: Jomal Williams (W Connection), Kevin Molino (Orlando City—USA), Levi Garcia (AZ Alkmaar—Netherlands), Hughtun Hector (W Connection), Sean De Silva (Central FC), Joevin Jones( Seattle Sounders—USA),
Forwards: Kenwyne Jones (Al Jazira—UAE), Willis Plaza (Alianza—El Salvador), Shahdon Winchester (W Connection), Trevin Caesar (Orange County Blues—USA).