Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team head coach Dennis Lawrence looks like holding faith in his regular core players for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup tournament, as he ignored a host of potential wildcard selections for his trip to Japan this weekend.
The Soca Warriors leave Trinidad tomorrow in anticipation of their friendly against Japan in Aichi on 5 June. The match falls within the FIFA international match window and Lawrence could have selected his best potential team. However, even with ace midfielder Kevin Molino excused due to a slight hamstring strain, winger Joevin Jones and full back Aubrey David unavailable due to visa issues and left back Triston Hodge ruled out through injury, there were no new faces in the squad.
Marvin Phillip and Adrian Foncette are the travelling goalkeepers—although neither have played competitively since last December as a result of the dormant Pro League—while Gregory Ranjitsingh, Nicholas Frenderup and Jan-Michael Williams were overlooked.
And Lawrence kept faith in the local-based outfield players too with Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Carlyle Mitchell (Terminix La Horquetta Rangers), Akeem Humphrey (Club Sando), Jomal Williams, Shahdon Winchester (both W Connection) and the unattached Judah Garcia all getting the nod.
Saudi-Arabia based central defender Daneil Cyrus, a veteran of 78 senior international caps, believes the Japan test should help ready the Warriors for next month’s Gold Cup.
“We know it is going to be a very difficult match for us but also a good test that we need right now ahead of the Gold Cup,” Cyrus told TTFA Media. “We are missing a couple players but like coach continues to say, this is just an opportunity for other players to step up and prove they deserve to be in the squad and try to seal their place with a strong contribution.
“[…] Japan has a good squad with a lot of experience but we also have players who have played at a good level with a lot of experience. I think once we stay focused and adapt to the environment quickly then we can put in a good performance and just basically continue focusing on the Gold Cup, which is the most important thing for us right now.”
Trinidad and Tobago play their second and final warm-up match against Canada in Los Angeles on 10 June before kicking off their Gold Cup campaign against Panama on 18 June in Minnesota.
(Trinidad and Tobago squad to face Japan)
Goalkeepers: Marvin Phillip (Central FC), Adrian Foncette (Police FC);
Defenders: Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Carlyle Mitchell (Terminix La Horquetta Rangers), Mekeil Williams (OKC Energy FC—USA), Alvin Jones (OKC Energy FC—USA), Daneil Cyrus (Al Orobah FC—Saudi Arabia);
Midfielders: Khaleem Hyland (Al-Faisaly FC—Saudi Arabia), Judah Garcia (Unattached), Kevan George (Charlotte Independence), Akeem Humphrey (Club Sando), Leston Paul (Memphis 901 FC), Duane Muckette (Memphis 901 FC—USA), Neveal Hackshaw (Indy Eleven FC—USA);
Attacking midfielders: Nathan Lewis (Lansing Ignite—USA), Jomal Wiliams (W Connection FC), Lester Peltier (Al-Orobah FC—Saudi Arabia), Levi Garcia (Ironi Kiryat Shmona—Israel);
Forwards: Shahdon Winchester (W Connection).
(Remaining available players on Gold Cup shortlist)
Goalkeepers: Nicklas Frenderup (HB Koge—Denmark), Gregory Ranjitsingh (Orlando City—USA), Jan-Michael Williams (FC Halifax Town—Canada);
Defenders: Leland Archer (Charleston Battery—USA), Aubrey David (Deportivo Saprissa—Costa Rica), Justin Garcia (Unattached), Ross Russell Jr (La Horquetta Rangers), Keston Julien (AS Trencin—Slovakia), Kareem Moses (FC Edmonton—Canada);
Attacking midfielders: Cordell Cato (Oklahoma City Energy FC—USA), Kevin Molino (Minnesota United—USA), Reon Moore, Dylon King (both Defence Force), Kathon St Hillaire (SKF Iclinic Sered—Slovakia), Joevin Jones (Seattle Sounders—USA);
Forwards: Willis Plaza (Churchill Brothers—India), Marcus Joseph (W Connection), Akeem Roach (Mosta FC—Malta).