Eve: We’re here for three points; Levi: … whatever it takes! Soca Warriors set for ‘Vincy Heat’

Gems at Lajoya

Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team head coach Angus Eve vowed to target three points in Arnos Vale tomorrow, as the Soca Warriors aim to keep pace with group leaders Nicaragua in Concacaf Nations League action.

At present, the Warriors trail Nicaragua by a single point in Group C of League B, and only the group winners will be promoted to the Concacaf’s top tier, League A.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team captain Marvin Phillip (far right) leads his troops out for CNL battle against The Bahamas at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on 9 June 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Trinidad and Tobago are away to St Vincent and the Grenadines from 3pm while Nicaragua host The Bahamas from 8pm (local time).

On Friday 2 June, captain Marvin Phillip and stand-in head coach Reynold Carrington suggested they were content with a point in Nicaragua—although Eve contradicted his assistant—only for the Warriors to return home empty handed. Eve made his intentions clear this time.

“The last time that we played them, we lost 1-0 and we are looking to turn around that kind of result,” Eve told the TTFA Media. “[…] We are very up for it. I know they will be up for it, [as] they’re home… We would like to come away with the three points.”

It is left to be seen whether Eve’s starting line-up matches his rhetoric, after his team started with six defenders and two holding midfielders away to Nicaragua. Trinidad and Tobago were far more offensive against the Bahamas in Port of Spain, but got a solitary goal off a set piece.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Neveal Hackshaw (centre) celebrates his maiden senior international goal against the Bahamas in CNL action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 6 June 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Tomorrow, Eve must balance their search for goals with a cautious eye on an opponent that does possess an attacker worth keeping tabs on: 26-year-old North Carolina FC forward Oalex ‘Bounty’ Anderson.

Trinidad and Tobago’s 1-0 loss to St Vincent in 2019, which Eve referenced, occurred when then Warriors coach Dennis Lawrence travelled with an experimental team composed totally of Pro League players. 

The two island republic have won all their trips to Arnos Vale once at full strength. However, it is not since Eve was in Trinidad and Tobago’s forward line in 2004 that the boys in red, black and white won by more than a solitary goal in St Vincent.

At present, the ‘Vincy Heat’ are ranked 175th in the world while Trinidad and Tobago are 103rd. But Eve suggested that fans should not take too much notice of the rankings.

Photo: Oalex Anderson (bottom) tangles with Philadelphia Union player Keegan Rosenberry on 16 April 2016 during the former’s spell with MLS team, Seattle Sounders.
(Copyright Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)

“Looking at the tapes they are a very plucky outfit—they seem to be very organised,” said Eve. “Ranking in football doesn’t mean very much today as you saw with Italy [against] North Macedonia. Italy are European champions and not going to the World Cup because of one of the lesser teams…”

Eve did not touch on utility player Joevin Jones’ criticism of his team selection and instead stressed that his current 23-man players are ‘all in good spirit’. He said they had adapted well to the Arnos Vale playing surface, which has a cricket pitch in centre field.

“We have about 35 odd players that we are working with but only 23 can make the squad at any one time—and we are happy with the group we have here,” said Eve. “[…] The guys are really committed to put Trinidad and Tobago back up on the map… It is a breath of fresh air working with these guys.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago players celebrate Neveal Hackshaw’s first senior international goal during CNL action in Port of Spain on 6 June 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Star attacker Levi Garcia was just 18-years-old on his last trip to Arnos Vale, where he announced his presence on the international arena with a double off the bench to help seal a 3-2 win under then head coach Stephen Hart.

“This pitch feels like a bit of a home pitch for me,” said the now 24-year-old Garcia. “[…] It was a great experience for me.”

It is only business tomorrow for the AEK Athens flanker, though, as he reiterated the keys for a good result in the pending assignment.

“Stay compact as a team and work hard and just get the win—no matter what it takes,” said Garcia.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Levi Garcia (right) celebrates with Soca Warriors fans after his double set up a 3-2 World Cup qualifying win over St Vincent and the Grenadines at Arnos Vale on 25 March 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

Trinidad and Tobago team (Tabulated as club; age; caps/goals scored)

Goalkeepers: Marvin Phillip (Deportivo PF; 37; 86/0); Denzil Smith (W Connection; 22; 0/0), Jabari St Hillaire (Terminix La Horquetta Rangers; 22; 0/0);

Defenders: Aubrey David (Deportivo Saprissa—Costa Rica; 31; 66/1), Shannon Gomez (San Antonio FC—USA; 25; 5/0), Alvin Jones (Forward Madison—USA; 27; 33/1), Kareem Moses (Vaasan Palloseura—Finland; 32; 12/0), Sheldon Bateau (Samsunspor—Turkey; 31; 47/4), Andre Ettienne (Deportivo PF; 31; 3/0), Jameel Neptune (Las Vegas Legends—USA; 28; 2/0), Keston Julien (FC Sheriff Tiraspol—Moldova; 23; 7/0);

Midfielders: Kevon Goddard (Defence Force; 26; 6/0), Leston Paul (Memphis 901—USA; 32; 29/0), Neveal Hackshaw (Indy Eleven—USA; 26; 27/1), Noah Powder (Indy Eleven—USA; 23; 10/0), Molik Khan (Minnesota United II—USA; 18; 3/0), Daniel Phillips (Watford FC—England; 21; 4/0);

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago playmaker Duane Muckette (red shirt) looks to do damage between the opposing midfield and defensive lines during Concacaf Nations League action against the Bahamas in Port of Spain on 6 June 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Attacking midfielders: Judah Garcia (AEK Athens FC II—Greece; 21; 12/1), Duane Muckette (Unattached; 26; 15/1), Reon Moore (Defence Force; 25; 12/4), John-Paul Rochford (Sure Sports FC—USA; 22; 6/1);

Forwards: Levi Garcia (AEK Athens FC—Greece; 24; 34/7), Marcus Joseph (Mohammedan SC—India; 31; 25/7).

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