The Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Under-20 Team ended their pre-tournament warm-up series on a high note today as they downed Dominican Republic semi-professional women’s team, Abril LDF, 3-1 in San Cristobal.
The teams were forced to play a reduced 70-minute affair due to a scheduling conflict at the ground and the Women Soca Warriors got all three goals after the interval.
United States-born forward Cayla McFarlane put Trinidad and Tobago ahead in the 37th minute. And, after their hosts pulled themselves level, substitutes Maria-Frances Serrant and Afiyah Cornwall finished the job with goals in the 53rd and 69th minutes respectively.
“I was very pleased with the efforts of the girls today because this was the best opponent we have met so far,” Trinidad and Tobago coach Richard Hood told Wired868. “They had six senior players [from the Dominican Republic National Team] in their lineup and they put us under pressure sometimes and the girls handled it well.”
Hood made four changes to his starting team as defender Arnelle Douglas, midfielders Megan Rampersad and attackers Sydni Greaves and Alexcia Ali got a chance to stake their claims. And the national youth team coach was pleased with the response.
“They had decent games without being outstanding,” said Hood. “They executed their roles pretty well. It was pleasing to see. They have presented me with a headache to find the final 11 [to face St Kitts and Nevis on 23 February]—and that is good for the coach.”
Hood identified a few areas that his team will to continue work on as they prepare for the Concacaf Under-20 Women’s Tournament, which kicks off on Saturday. The feeling in the camp is that they are getting better every day.
Trinidad and Tobago lost 4-1 to the Dominican Republic in their opening friendly—Hood has just 16 players available for that fixture. However, they then went on to defeat Puerto Rico 3-0 and then Abril LDF 3-1 today.
“The tour started off really badly but we were not prepared for that first game,” he said. “I would have liked to have gotten a couple more sessions before that first game but we had some changes in our schedule… I was a bit frustrated because we have had issues with getting access to training fields but the camp was tremendous.
“For what we have done, the girls have absorbed it well and are really trying to do what we are asking them to do.”
Hood also credited team manager and iconic former Women Warriors captain Maylee Attin-Johnson for being a source of inspiration to the teenagers.
“[Attin-Johnson] has been instrumental in talking to the girls about that passion and fight we need to see from them when they are wearing red, white and black,” said Hood. “[…] She is a good influence on the players because she was a fighter. She told them that ‘if we can’t beat them tactically or technically, we have to [outfight them]’—and that is what we are asking them to do.”
(Team x Abril LDF)
Trinidad and Tobago Women’s U-20: K’lil Keshwar (GK); Chrissy Mitchell, Latifha Pascall, Tsai-Anne Fernandez, Arnelle Douglas; Megan Rampersad, Sarah De Gannes; Sydni Greaves, Alexcia Ali, Tori Paul; Cayla McFarlane.
Substitutes: Chelsea Ramnauth (GK), Nathifa Hackshaw, Shalisha King, Aaliyah Prince, Aaliyah Pascall, Sydney Boisselle, Maria-Frances Serrant, Afiyah Cornwall, Roshun Williams.
Coach: Richard Hood