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Lawrence and Molino: T&T matched Costa Rica stride for stride and should have had a penalty!

The Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team players and staff were disappointed but not deflated this morning as they came to grips with a hard- fought 2-1 Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying loss away to Costa Rica in San José.

The Soca Warriors lost team captain Kenwyne Jones to an injury in the pre-match warm-up and then went behind to a set piece goal by Francisco Calvo after just 45 seconds. However, the two-island republic clawed themselves back on level terms through a Kevin Molino strike and provoked some world-class saves from Costa Rica and Real Madrid custodian Keylor Navas before eventually conceding to a classy strike from former England Premier League playmaker Bryan Ruiz.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago playmaker Kevin Molino (right) drives home an equalising goal during 2018 World Cup qualifying action against Costa Rica at the National Stadium in San José on 13 June 2017.
Costa Rica won 2-1.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA Images/Wired868)

Head coach Dennis Lawrence, who took over the post in February, saw the cup as half-full.

“Costa Rica has always been one of the Concacaf giants,” Lawrence told the TTFA Media. “I think we all understand they are a very good team and they have players of a top level. What I am most pleased about is that we were able to come out and match Costa Rica stride for stride.

“Unfortunately we did not get the result we wanted but I give yeoman credit to my team for the effort that they put in.”

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The Warriors started the contest believing that anything but a draw would make qualification virtually impossible. However, a draw between Panama and Honduras in Panama City means Trinidad and Tobago can still keep their Russia 2018 World Cup dreams alive with wins over the two aforementioned teams in September.

Still, Trinidad and Tobago might have gotten something out of the game if, six minutes into the second half, referee Yardel Martinez had spotted a clear foul by Costa Rican defender Michael Umaña on Warriors striker Jamille Boatswain.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Jamille Boatswain (left) is hauled back by Costa Rica defender Michael Umaña during 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the National Stadium in San José on 13 June 2017.
Costa Rica won 2-1.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA Images/Wired868)

“We are going to fight until the end, until it becomes mathematically impossible for us to qualify,” said Lawrence. “I thought we had more of the game in the second half than Costa Rica. I think the entire stadium knew it was a penalty. The only people who did not recognise it was the people who were most important—the officials.”

Molino’s firm left-footed effort in the 34th minute made him Trinidad and Tobago’s first scorer in Costa Rica since Jerren Nixon who scored in a 2-1 loss at Cartago on 21 December 1996. The last time the two-island republic scored in San José was in 1985 when Nevick Denoon’s item secured a 1-1 tie.

But Molino told the TTFA Media that he took little consolation in the personal milestone.

“I am disappointed,” said Molino. “There is no way to hide this because I felt we did well enough to get a result tonight, at least a point. I feel pleased to have scored here in Costa Rica but I am hurting with the result. I would have much preferred to leave here with something…

“[In the] first half we were in it, even after the early goal. And when I banged it in, I felt we had them on the back foot and the game was there for the taking. But we had a couple close misses and [that] very close penalty call.

“We know in these countries, we are not going to get those calls.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Dennis Lawrence (centre) exchanges words with the match officials after his team’s 2-1 World Cup qualifying loss against Costa Rica at the National Stadium in San José on 13 June 2017.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA Images/Wired868)

It is the third successive outing that the Warriors have felt hard-done by by the match officials after a wrongfully disallowed Joevin Jones item in a 1-0 loss to Mexico on 28 March in Port-of-Spain and a debatable offside call against Nathan Lewis who thought he had equalised away to the United States on 8 June.

“Congratulations to Costa Rica [but], in terms of our boys, I think we gave a tremendous effort tonight and I don’t think the result reflected the actual [performance],” said Lawrence. “I’ve got to question the penalty because I think the only people on the football pitch that did not believe it was a penalty were the officials. From that point of view, I thought we should have come out with something from the game and I really feel sorry for the boys.”

The mood in the Trinidad and Tobago dressing-room after the loss was described as upbeat, though. And Molino, who has excelled in all four outings under Lawrence so far, suggested that, despite the loss, the Warriors are heading in the right direction.

“We put out a strong effort tonight but unfortunately we didn’t get the result,” said Molino. “It is unfortunate for us at this time… But I feel very strongly about how we are coming along as a team.

“We fought really well and matched this Costa Rican team and hopefully we can pull it even close together for the next set of games in September and get the results we need.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago playmaker Kevin Molino (left) celebrates his goal against Costa Rica with teammate Joevin Jones during 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the National Stadium in San José on 13 June 2017.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA Images/Wired868)

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  1. An thats what we should of done at home to mexico go all out at them .looking for all 3 points .

  2. Costra Rica got the 3 points and thats what is important

  3. Sierra Leone,,Do we want to risk that? Look what happened to West indies vs Afghanistan recently..

  4. Navas real save Costa Rica we could have won

  5. 100% Agree! I still believe in our team!
    Ah goin Russia an see we boys beat people!

  6. We lost 4 out of 5 games and the team is coming along? Why do we like to mamaguy ourselves so much… It’s about getting points and nothing else. For over 2 decades now we keep saying we’re improving… We made it to Germany and yes we did well then but don’t discount the “Jack Warner” factor for one second… I remember we beat Mexico’s third string team then after they already qualified and if I’m not mistaken the same with USA… We as Trinis can’t keep saying we’re improving while we avoid reality… That is why as a nation all systems have broken down… We always settle for mediocrity… Enough is enough… We need better teams to practice against, Grenada and Barbados aren’t doing anything for our game… We need to focus heavily on basic ball control and quicker responses on the field… We need to get another striker, Kenwyn cannot play under pressure… We just don’t seem to focus on some of the essentials…

  7. You may be right.
    I just happened across the story on my twitter feed and after reading decided to find out more.
    Cause Sierra Leone got bounced out of World Cup qualifying in on of the earlier rounds.
    So i was wondering how much of a challenge they would actually pose.

  8. Wrt the offside when we played against USA, the replay showed his upper body slightly ahead. It won’t be the first time that such a call was made. Always thought that once part of the attacking player’s body is between the last defender and the keeper before the ball is played that that is offside.

  9. Plz plz plz see now that we don’t need Kenwyn Jones as a striker. .our style is pace with strength. .must have 2 qualities. .Kenwyn only has 1. Apart from defensive awareness we need as well to drop Carlos Edwards. He is not latapy or Yorke . Lawrence take notes! Where is Bostock? A quality midfield would have created more chances. We lacked the crucial accurate pass.

  10. It is clear that the officials are not in our favor. With that said i believe we have to be more positive going forward and play more attacking football. The defenders have to show up and concentrate for the 90+ min of the game. Dennis Lawrence have really improve the overall play from before, but now the players have to believe in themselves and work together as a strong unite going forward.
    All is not lost yet and we just have to build on the success of our play and I’m seeing better things for this team.

  11. I’m really tired of the poor officiating thus far in the Hex. So far it cost us points against the Mexicans, USA and now Costa Rica.

  12. Well it goes onto mention DJW by name and state that they agreed via what’s app.
    Which sounds like how he would do business

  13. Sierra Leone are ranked 113th in the world and they haven’t played a single international for the year Sebastian. So I don’t think they are worth the trouble. Hope that story is a hoax.

  14. I will try to get that confirmed Sebastian. Now we play in Trinidad on Monday September 4. It is feasible that we can play that game against Sierra Leone on August 28 or 29.
    If you cut out the two days lost travelling to and from the UK, I’m not sure if it is so wise though. Because then you fly back to Trinidad and then to Central America.
    I’d think it better to have less disruption and probably get a friendly closer to home or even in Trinidad.

  15. And the problem with our local players it seems that they does get frighten when playing infront of the crowds and that is because hardly anyone at the games watching them play in our professional league eh, hence the reason why the football needs to return to our communities. Them really good yes hahaha

  16. I agree keep him on board for another few more World Cups eh so that he can finally get our local players and Coaches on the same page as him with respect to his philosophy in order for our footballers and our sweet country to really rise to the top once more but the bootleg professional league really needs to also get their acts together eh. Them really good yes.

  17. Three games these referees making bad call against us and nothing coming from the TTFA or CONCACAF about the poor quality of refereeing in this region.

  18. I hope Lawrence stays after the World Cup cycle ends though. I’d like to see what he can do once he has adequate time and prep.

  19. Doesn’t matter if you match them stride for stride when you can’t finish.

  20. Mr Lasana Liburd, please make sure Tallest doesn’t get fired. Yes, it’s all on you. 😀