Home / Volley / Global Football / T&T U-20 Women fall 3-0 to El Salvador; Spence’s squad outshot 43 to 6 in lopsided contest

T&T U-20 Women fall 3-0 to El Salvador; Spence’s squad outshot 43 to 6 in lopsided contest

The Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Under-20 Team are already fighting to stay alive in the Concacaf Women’s Under-20 Championship, after they opened their World Cup qualifying campaign today with a 3-0 loss to El Salvador at the Estadio Panamericano in San Cristóbal, Dominican Republic.

Coach Jason Spence’s team face St Kitts and Nevis from 4pm at the same venue on Sunday and the equation is simple: win or be eliminated. Canada, who whipped St Kitts and Nevis 7-0 tonight, are Trinidad and Tobago’s last opponents on Tuesday night and, judging from today’s outing, the junior Women Soca Warriors will not trouble them.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Tori Paul (right) tumbles over a challenge from El Salvador midfielder and captain Victoria Sanchez (left) during Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship action in the Dominican Republic on 25 February 2022.
(via Concacaf)

There are four teams in Group G and three of them will advance to the knockout stage. Theoretically, Trinidad and Tobago can still advance, but it would be some accomplishment if Spence can correct the glaring inefficiencies evident in his squad over the next 48 hours.

First, the good news. Warriors central defender Latifha Pascall was immense today. Fast, strong, perceptive and brave, the former Pleasantville Secondary utility player was one of the main reasons that El Salvador did not run up a table tennis score today.

Goalkeeper Akyla Walcott generally demonstrated solid handling and wingers Tori Paul and, in particular, captain Maria-Frances Serrant looked threatening on the ball.

And the bad news? Collectively, Trinidad and Tobago’s showing was so dire as to draw comparisons to the men’s showing in a 7-0 loss to the United States under head coach Terry Fenwick.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National U-20 Team head coach Jason Spence.
(via TTFA Media)

El Salvador, according to ESPN game stats, outshot Trinidad and Tobago 43 to 6 with  18 shots on target compared to 2 from the team in red, white and black. At the final whistle, the score summary flattered Spence’s team. They were awful.

Incidentally, seven members of the Trinidad and Tobago starting team today were members of the under-20 squad that advanced to the Concacaf quarterfinals in 2020 under Richard Hood. It suggests Spence was not devoid of talent.

Hood, like Spence, was appointed roughly two months before the start of the competition. There are two significant differences though—notwithstanding the possible contrast between the tactical acumen of the two coaches.

Hood, hired by a penniless football association led by William Wallace with a functioning technical committee headed by Keith Look Loy, had a 10-day camp with his full squad, during which time he played two friendly internationals and a third game against a Dominican Republic club team.

Photo: Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad looks on as Trinidad and Tobago and Nicaragua clash in a 2022 Concacaf W Championship qualifying fixture at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on 17 February 2022.
Hadad’s normalisation committee has refused to implement a technical committee to help guide national teams.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Spence only got his full squad together two days before this tournament kicked off and did not get a single rehearsal match, although he was hired by a Fifa-appointed normalisation committee that should have received over US$4 million in funding over the past two years.

And Hood’s players had the benefit of a Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) season just weeks before they began training.

In contrast, the current local-based women’s players have no domestic football in the past two years while the Robert Hadad-led normalisation committee failed to keep the national youth teams active—so as to offset the possibility of stunted development.

In short, Trinidad and Tobago football fans are likely to see the fruits of the normalisation committee’s stewardship in 2022 as Concacaf resumes its youth competitions. And today was not a good sign.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Marley Walker (right) tries to take the ball past El Salvador midfielder Mia Arevalo during Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship action in the Dominican Republic on 25 February 2022.
(via Concacaf)

Spence’s troops did themselves no favours though, with a remarkable flaw at international level. They did not know what to do with the ball from goal kicks.

It was evident what Trinidad and Tobago wanted to do. Two central defenders took up positions at either side of Walcott, so as to pass their way out of the back.

So, predictably, El Salvador poured players forward to win the ball high up the field, as they laid siege to the Trinidad and Tobago penalty area.

The Warriors tried to respond by booting the ball out, only they could not clear 30 yards and often tried to go straight through the centre.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Akyla Walcott collects the ball during Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship action against El Salvador in the Dominican Republic on 25 February 2022.
(via Concacaf)

Trinidad and Tobago left back Moenesa Mejias deflected one El Salvador effort off her own crossbar in the 14th minute, before Walcott produced a fine double save in the 16th minute.

But the opening goal was a matter of when not if, and it duly came in the 23rd minute after an individual error by Chrissy Mitchell allowed opposing forward Lesly Calderon time and space to score from close range.

Mitchell, a buccaneering right back under Hood, was used in central defence today and struggled.

Calderon rapped the T&T post again with a cross-cum-shot in the 30th minute while, three minutes later Pascall made a crucial interception from El Salvador forward Josseline Uribe.

However, in the 39th minute, the Warriors nearly conjured up an unlikely equaliser.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Tori Paul (left) tries to hold off El Salvador midfielder Isabella Recinos during Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship action in the Dominican Republic on 25 February 2022.
(via Concacaf)

As it turned out, El Salvador goalkeeper Andrea Dada was feeble at goal kicks as well and, as Trinidad and Tobago tried to capitalise during a rare passage of play in the opposing half, forward Celine Loraine won a corner kick in the 39th minute.

From the resulting set piece, the Central American nation failed to clear and Pascall’s snapshot deflected off an opponent and was tipped by Dada off the underside of her own bar.

It was as close as Trinidad and Tobago would come to a goal. In the 43rd minute, Pascall failed to cut out a probing cross and Uribe glided past her to double El Salvador’s lead.

And the pattern of the match continued after the interval with El Salvador midfielder Isabella Recinos slamming one shot off the bar and another against the post before defender Linda Guillen made it 3-0 with a free kick from 20 yards.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Marley Walker (right) tries to get past El Salvador attacker Lesly Calderon during Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship action in the Dominican Republic on 25 February 2022.
(via Concacaf)

The result almost certainly guarantees El Salvador’s place in the Concacaf Round of 16 alongside Canada. On Sunday, Trinidad and Tobago and St Kitts and Nevis will fight for the right to join them. 

Two years ago, the Women Soca Warriors routed St Kitts and Nevis 6-0 at this stage of the Concacaf Under-20 Championship. However, it is already crystal clear that is not a Trinidad and Tobago football set-up of two years ago.

(Teams)

Trinidad and Tobago (4-2-1-3): 1.Akyla Walcott (GK); 2.Ashante Wilson-Campbell (30.Charlize Hood 86), 4.Latifha Pascall, 6.Chrissy Mitchell, 3.Moenesa Mejias (5.Derisha Bristol 60); 7.Sarah De Gannes, 8.Marley Walker; 10.Maria-Frances Serrant (captain); 17.Jhelysse Anthony (15.Ternia St Clair 46), 12.Celine Loraine (19.Shurelia Mendez 60), 9.Tori Paul.

Unused substitutes: 16.Chelsea Ramnauth (GK), 18.Aaliyah Alexander (GK), 13.Darrianne Henry, 14.Lellian Selvon, 31.Aaliyah Trim.

Coach: Jason Spence

El Salvador (4-2-2-2): 1.Andrea Dada (GK); 2.Andrea Amaya, 3.Linda Guillen, 4.Monica Mancia, 16.Emely Reyes; 6.Isabella Recinos, 8.Victoria Sanchez (captain); 12.Andrea Maestre (20.Mallely Gomez 65), 7.Carolina Ayala (10.Mia Arevalo 46); 9.Lesly Calderon (5.Andrea Recinos 83), 11.Josseline Uribe (13.Beatriz Quezada 90+2).

Unused substitutes: 18.Alexandra Jimenez (GK), 14.Amy Angel, 15.Evelyn Gamero, 17.Gloria Escobar, 19.Daniela Duran.

Coach: Eric Acuña

Referee: Diana Perez (Mexico)

Photo: Canada attacker Florianne Jourde (left) tries to get past St Kitts and Nevis defender Eve Richards during Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship action in the Dominican Republic on 25 February 2022.
(via Concacaf)

Concacaf Women’s Under-20 Championship results

(25 February 2022)

Trinidad and Tobago 0, El Salvador 3 (Lesly Calderon 23, Josseline Uribe 43, Linda Guillen 86) at Estadio Pan Americano, San Cristóbal;

Canada 7 (Nikayla Small 9, 33, Olivia Smith 17, 30, Holly Ward 21, 44, Keera Melenhorst 89), St Kitts and Nevis 0 at Estadio Pan Americano, San Cristóbal.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National U-20 Team head coach Jason Spence (left) and defender Moenesa Mejias (right) during training in Couva.
(via TTFA Media)

Upcoming Fixtures

(27 February)

Trinidad and Tobago vs St Kitts and Nevis, 4pm, Estadio Pan Americano, San Cristóbal;

El Salvador v Canada, 7pm, Estadio Pan Americano, San Cristóbal.

(1 March)

El Salvador v St Kitts and Nevis, 4pm, Estadio Pan Americano, San Cristóbal;

Trinidad and Tobago vs Canada, 7pm, 1 March, Estadio Pan Americano, San Cristóbal.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the managing director and chief editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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