Trinidad and Tobago’s 2019 Under-17 World Cup dreams ended this afternoon in Florida, as the young Soca Warriors fell 4-1 to Honduras in their Concacaf Championship Round of 16 contest at the IMG Academy.
Presentation College (San Fernando) schoolboy Jaiye Sheppard scored with a clever improvised finish in the box while Trinity College East goalkeeper Kahlil Oliver saved an early penalty. But that was not nearly enough to get the Warriors to the quarterfinal round.
Honduras managed only one win in their three group outings, as their triumph against Guyana was sandwiched between losses to Haiti and El Salvador respectively. In the end, they progressed comfortably today though.
Trinidad and Tobago could have been behind from as early as the sixth minute, as winger Tyrese Pierre fouled José Aguilera in the box. But Honduran captain Steven Bonilla’s penalty was too tame and straight to beat Oliver.
Sheppard brought the best out of Honduran custodian José Banegas with a snapshot in the first half. But by halftime, statistics pointed to the superiority of the Central American nation who had 54 per cent possession and outshot T&T by 11 to 4.
Just 44 seconds after the resumption, Honduras opened their account as unmarked centre forward Jeffrey Miranda beat Oliver with a looping header after his teammate Roney Bernardez’s effort was deflected.
Trinidad and Tobago did not take it lying down and, like against Jamaica, they fought back. A deep Kevan Kahoussi free kick in the 57th minute landed fortuitously on the feet of Sheppard who controlled with his right foot—with his back to goal—and allowed the ball to run across his body before slapping into the far corner with his left.
The young Warriors never got to build on the clever strike, though. Within three minutes, they were behind again as Aguilera drove below Oliver’s body after T&T captain Zachary Welch conceded possession near the halfway line.
Trinidad and Tobago coach Stern John gambled with attacking players from then on as Curtis De Leon, Jerrell Nixon and then Andrew De Gannes were sent on. But it did not have the desired impact, as Honduras ran riot on the break.
Miranda struck again in the 76th minute as he rounded Oliver to finish, off an Aguilera cross. And the talented forward completed his hattrick in the 87th minute from another counter, after Miguel Carrasco robbed De Leon in Trinidad and Tobago’s half of the field.
The final count of 22 Honduran shots to seven from T&T told its own tale.
For the Trinidad and Tobago team, it was not all bad. Just six weeks before the competition, John was offered a team that were decimated at Concacaf Under-15 level in 2017 when they lost all four outings with one goal for and 21 conceded.
In this competition, John’s troops scored seven times and allowed 12 goals from their four fixtures.
The steadier structure allowed the likes of centre forward Justin Araujo-Wilson, Sheppard, midfielder Ajani Fortune and left back Luke Savery to showcase their individual ability.
It was not enough for a quarterfinal place, though.
Trinidad and Tobago U-17 (4-3-3): 20.Kahlil Oliver (GK); 2.Nigel Carraby, 4.Jordon Britto, 5.Cephas St Rose (14.Jerrell Nixon 78), 3.Luke Savery; 17.Kevan Kahoussi (10.Andrew De Gannes 85), 6.Zachary Welch (captain) (12.Curtis De Leon 63), 19.Ajani Fortune; 8.Tyrese Pierre, 9.Justin Araujo-Wilson, 7.Jaiye Sheppard.
Unused substitutes: 1.Isaiah Williams (GK), 11.Jean-Heim Mc Fee, 13.Gary Griffith III, 15.Jeremy Lashley, 16.Keilon Burnett-Acevaro, 18.Isa Sayeed.
Coach: Stern John
Honduras U-17 (4-3-3): 1.José Banegas (GK); 4.André Orellana, 5.Jafeth Chávez, 17.Luis Vega, 3.Steven Bonilla (captain); 16.Miguel Carrasco, 8.Carlos Palacios, 13.José Aguilera (10.Marvin Ávila 86); 2.Roney Bernardez, 20.Jeffrey Miranda (9.Héctor Medrano 89), 14.Michael Rosales.
Unused substitutes: 12.Isaac González (GK), 6.Elix Gómez, 7.Brian Sierra, 19.José García.
Coach: José Valladares
Referee: John Pitti (Panama)