The Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team were on the wrong side of another lopsided score summary tonight, as they fell 4-0 to Costa Rica in Concacaf W Championship action at the Estadio Universitario in San Nicolás, Mexico.
The Women Soca Warriors conceded 10 goals in their two Group B matches so far, after suffering a 6-0 defeat to Canada on Tuesday. However, coach Kenwyne Jones’ players are not done yet.
While the top two teams from each group qualify automatically to the Australia/ New Zealand 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup, the third place outfit can still advance via a Fifa Playoff. It means only two from eight nations at the W Championship will be eliminated.
From 7pm on Monday 11 July, Trinidad and Tobago will tackle Panama in San Nicolás. A win for the Women Warriors will mean a chance to go “Down Under” via the Playoff back door, while Panama—who lost 1-0 to Canada tonight—only need a draw.
If there is hope in the not so distant future, the present looks pretty grim for the Women Warriors.
In 180 minutes plus stoppage time, Trinidad and Tobago mustered just one shot on target in this tournament so far. And, tonight, captain Karyn Forbes and her teammates were forced to spend long periods chasing highly vaunted opponents once more.
Goalkeeper Kimika Forbes made a fine save from Costa Rica flanker Priscilla Chinchilla in the 13th minute, after a right side cross by Melissa Herrera. A minute later, Herrera created room for herself again down the flank and found playmaker Raquel Rodríguez who hit over the bar.
There were only 18 minutes on the clock when the Central American nation went ahead, as the Trinidad and Tobago defence were caught napping from a corner kick, taken short by Herrera, and Costa Rica midfielder Cristin Granados beat Kimika with a deflected effort.
The Women Warriors had not even left for their pre-tournament camp when Jones identified Costa Rica’s set pieces as a threat, worthy of close attention. But forewarned did not mean forearmed.
Things got worse pretty quickly as flanker Kedie Johnson picked up two yellow cards within 11 minutes—the second as she left her feet in a desperate effort to regain possession, after her heavy touch gifted the ball to opposing full back María Paula Coto.
It was the second time that Johnson was ejected in this World Cup qualifying series, after she also picked up two first half cautions in Trinidad and Tobago’s opening match against Nicaragua in the earlier round on 17 February. The Women Warriors were still good enough to edge Nicaragua 2-1, despite being shorthanded.
However, Costa Rica are a different proposition altogether.
As if one self-inflicted blow was not enough, the Warriors followed up on a red card with an own goal. Again, it came from a set piece. Coto tried to dummy a left side corner kick for a teammate, only for Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Lauryn Hutchinson to intercept and inadvertently knock past her own goalkeeper.
Moments before the interval, Costa Rica got their third item. Herrera, who terrorised Trinidad and Tobago left back Chelsi Jadoo for virtually the entire first half, broke clear down the right flank again and crossed for striker María Paula Salas who, in turn, teed up Granados.
Granados’ first effort hit Karyn, while her second deflected off the back of Victoria Swift before again flying into the back of the net. There was never going to be a way back from that sort of deficit with a player short and their best attacking player, Asha James, marooned on the bench for the entire match.
“La Tricolor” saved their best for last, as captain and midfielder Katherine Alvarado beat Kimika with a stunning drive into the top corner from 30 yards for their fourth item in the 47th minute. Once more, Granados was involved.
Costa Rica had booked their ticket to the World Cup with just two qualifying matches.
It might easily have been worse, as Kimika made a stunning save to tip a Mariana Benavides drive against her bar from a free kick while VAR intervened to reverse a penalty decision against Swift.
But 4-0 was bad enough to put Trinidad and Tobago down and Jones questioned the desire of his players after the contest.
The Women Warriors are not out though. A victory over Panama on Monday can change the entire narrative of the tournament for the players and their rookie coach.
It might be the most important game for a Women’s National Senior Team in eight years.
Trinidad and Tobago (4-2-3-1): 1.Kimika Forbes (GK); 3.Shadi Cecily Stoute, 4.Rhea Belgrave (13.Amaya Ellis 80), 8.Victoria Swift, 2.Chelsi Jadoo; 14.Karyn Forbes (captain), 20.Lauryn Hutchinson (7.Liana Hinds 50); 18.Maria-Frances Serrant (16.Cayla Mc Farlane 75), 9.Brianna Austin (12.Chelcy Ralph 80), 6.Kedie Johnson [Red card 22]; 17.Jolie St Louis (11.Raenah Campbell 50).
Unused substitutes: 21.Tenesha Palmer (GK), 22.K’lil Keshwar (GK), 5.Shaunalee Govia, 10.Asha James, 15.Tori Paul, 19.Maya Matouk, 23.Sarah De Gannes.
Coach: Kenwyne Jones
Costa Rica (4-2-3-1): 23.Daniel Solera (GK), 3.María Paula Coto, 20.Fabiola Villalobos, 4.Mariana Benavides, 8.Daniela Cruz; 16.Katherine Alvarado (captain) (21.Viviana Chinchilla 74), 15.Cristin Granados; 7.Melissa Herrera, 11.Raquel Rodríguez (10.Shirley Cruz 61), 14.Priscilla Chinchilla (2.Gabriela Guillén 73); 19.María Paula Salas (9.Carolina Venegas 61).
Unused substitutes: 1.Noelia Bermúdez (GK), 18.Priscilla Tapia (GK), 5.Valeria Del Campo, 6.Carol Sánchez, 12.Lixy Rodríguez, 13.Emilie Valenciano, 17.Michelle Montero, 22.Cristel Sandi.
Coach: Amelia Valverde
Referee: Francia Gonzales (Mexico)
VAR: Katia Garcia (Mexico)
Concacaf W Championship Group B result
(8 July 2022)
Costa Rica 4 (Cristin Granados 18, 44, Lauryn Hutchinson 33 OG, Katherine Alvarado 47), Trinidad and Tobago 0 at the Estadio Universitario in San Nicolás;
Canada 1 (Julia Grosso 64), Panama 0 at the Estadio Universitario in San Nicolás;
(5 July 2022)
Canada 6 (Christine Sinclair 26, Julia Grosso 66, 78, Jessie Fleming 83, Janine Beckie 85, Jordyn Huitema 90), Trinidad and Tobago 0 at the Estadio BBVA in Guadalupe;
Costa Rica 3 (Raquel Rodriguez 6, María Paula Salas 24, Katherine Alvarado 60 pen), Panama 0 at the Estadio BBVA in Guadalupe.