Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 Team striker Nicholas Dillon scores in bunches. Dillon, who plays for Caribbean club champions Central FC, has managed items in two of his five Caribbean Cup matches so far. Yet he has plundered eight goals.
His hattrick against St Lucia yesterday evening—which follows a five goal haul against the Turks and Caicos in June—all but assured the young Warriors of advancing to the 2017 CONCACAF Championship from 17 February to 5 March in Costa Rica. The top four nations there qualify automatically for the South Korea Under-20 World Cup.
Dillon’s treble against St Lucia could be crucial as Trinidad and Tobago are now second in Group B while enjoying a superior goal differential to the Caribbean challengers in Group A. He dedicated his hattrick to his father, Wayne, who celebrated his 58th birthday on 10 October, and the technical staff of head coach Brian Williams and assistant coach Kerry Jamerson.
“It felt great to get three goals especially knowing that we needed to win this match to maintain a good chance of qualifying for the next round,” Dillon told the TTFA Media. “Scoring these three goals was just my pay back to the two national coaches (Brian Williams and Kerry Jamerson) working with me and believing in my potential.
“I knew I had to come good and lead the team to the win, so I was also happy to deliver for my team.”
Dillon, a former Naparima College schoolboy, put the two island republic ahead after just five minutes, as he side footed home from a Kori Cupid cross with the initial through ball played by Kareem “Enzo” Riley.
And he doubled the Warriors’ advantage with a flicked finish in the 28th minute off an Isaiah Hudson corner kick.
“I was pleased with respect to how the boys settled early and took control of the game,” said Under-20 coach Brian Williams. “They went out there knowing that it would be up to them to make the game their own and the early goal from Dillon helped.
“We were up 2-0 at half time but we all know a 2-0 lead is a dangerous one to have. It’s critical that you get that third goal and don’t give the team any hope of coming back into the match.”
The vital third goal came from versatile full back, Noah Powder, in the 65th minute while Dillon got his hattrick in the 71st minute with a header off a Keston Julien cross.
The 4-0 scoreline was an emphatic turnaround from the Under-20 Team’s 1-1 draw with St Lucia in Couva, four months ago.
“The difference today was [we] were fitter than back then,” said Dillon, “and we all had a better understanding of what the coaches wanted us to do.”
Williams credited his team’s display and Dillon’s goal burst.
“This was a pleasing display for us and now we have to focus on putting down a strong, positive performance on Wednesday against the Haitians,” said Williams, “so that we can go through to the next phase. Getting there is very important for us.
“I was happy for [Dillon]. He’s been working hard and he came up strong today. His three goals helped cement the win for us and the players in their supporting roles around him also deserve credit.”
Scouts from United States Major League Soccer (MLS) clubs, Real Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders FC and Philadelphia Union are at the ongoing Caribbean Cup and are expected to invited standouts to the MLS-CFU Combine in Los Angeles from 7-12 January 2017.
Players who catch the eye in Los Angeles will be eligible for the 2017 Adidas MLS SuperDraft.
Trinidad and Tobago: 1.Denzil Smith (GK), 3.Kori Cupid, 2.Andrew Rullow (19.Morgan Bruce 60), 5.Taryk Sampson, 6.Noah Powder, 11.Kareem Riley, 12.Shane Sandy, 7. Isaiah Hudson (15.Kathon St Hillaire 66), 10.Jabari Mitchell (16.Micah Lansiquot 79), 17. Keston Julien, 9. Nicholas Dillon.
Unused substitutes: 20.Jabari Brice (GK), 8.Jarred Dass, 13.Isaiah Garcia, 14.Taofik Lucas-Walker, 18.Josh Toussaint.
Injured: 4.Kierron Mason.
Coach: Brian Williams