It was a case of adding injury to insult for the Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Team yesterday, as they were not only whipped 3-0 by underdogs, Panama, but also face the prospect of losing key players, Kennya “Yaya” Cordner and Jenelle Cunningham, to injury.
Cunningham, a solid central defender, was substituted late in yesterday’s outing with what turned out to be a torn ACL. She is now ruled out for the remainder of the competition.
And Cordner, a multiple Women’s Player of the Year who now plays professionally in Norway, was taken to the hospital last night after suffering a concussion during the match. Head coach Shawn Cooper said she is a “doubtful starter” for Sunday’s fixture against Mexico.
Mexico were routed 6-0 by the United States last night and need a result on the weekend. For Trinidad and Tobago, it is do or die as they close their group schedule next Wednesday against the host nation.
Cooper conceded that it was not the start to the competition he hoped for.
“It was a difficult start to the tournament for us,” Cooper told the TTFA Media. “We took some time to settle. There were some challenges with players coming in a bit late and then the early goal was a further setback for us in the match.
“We got more into the game in the second half and started to believe more in ourselves but we didn’t capitalise on a couple chances at critical points in the game for us. We’ll focus on recovery now and go at it again in the next match against Mexico.”
Trinidad and Tobago’s despair was offset by Panamanian pride, as the Central American nation tries to establish themselves in the women’s game. The 2018 Concacaf competition is Panama’s third all-time appearance at this level and coach Victor Suárez’s oldest player yesterday was 25 while three of his starting players were teenagers.
The Women Soca Warriors are the only nation to appear in all 10 editions of the competition—United States and Canada both missed Concacaf tournaments as World Cup hosts while Mexico did not participate in the 1993 event.
Trinidad and Tobago (4-3-3): 1.Kimika Forbes (GK), 8.Patrice Superville, 5.Arin King, 13.Jenelle Cunningham (4.Rhea Belgrave 70), 7.Jonelle Cato; 11.Janine Francois, 14.Karyn Forbes (2.Ayana Russell 84), 10.Tasha St Louis (captain); 9.Liana Hinds (12.Kayla Taylor 50), 3.Mariah Shade, 19.Kennya Cordner.
Unused substitutes: 20.Saundra Baron (GK), 6.Natasha St Louis, 15.Shenelle Henry, 17.Lauryn Hutchinson.
Unavailable: Shadi Stoute, Naomie Guerra.
Coach: Shawn Cooper
Panama (4-2-2-2): 1.Yenith Bailey (GK); 4.Katherine Lineth Castillo, 2.Hilary Jaen, 5.Yomira Pinzón, 3.Maria Murillo; 6.Aldrith Quintero, 8.Laurie Batista; 7.Kenia Rangel (18.Erika Hernandez 87), 11.Natalia Mills (captain) (13.Onelys Alvarado 82); 10.Marta Cox (19.Lineth Cedeño 80), 9.Karla Riley.
Unused substitutes: 12.Farissa Córdoba (GK), 14.Maryorie Pérez, 15.Rebeca Espinosa, 16.Sheyla Díaz, 17.Anuvis Angulo, 20.María Montenegro.
Coach: Victor Suárez
Concacaf Women’s Championship
(Thursday 4 October)
Panama 3 (Marta Cox 12, Kenia Rangel 68, Erika Hernández 88), Trinidad and Tobago 0 at Cary, North Carolina
United States 6 (Megan Rapinoe 3, 71, Julie Ertz 47, Alex Morgan 57, 80, Tobin Heath 61), Mexico 0 at Cary, North Carolina.
(Sunday 7 October)
Panama vs USA, 5pm, Cary, North Carolina;
Mexico vs Trinidad and Tobago, 7:30pm, Cary, North Carolina.