Game Report: Costa Rica vs Trinidad and Tobago
By IRVING WARD
Assistant Sports Editor
TRINIDAD and Tobago skipper Russell Latapy and his teammates now face
a Herculean task if they are to make it to next year's World Cup Finals.
The road to Japan and Korea became rougher on Wednesday night after
the team was swept aside 3-0 by Costa Rica at the Alejandro Morera Soto
Stadium in Alajuela, San Jose.
The defeat left T&T at the bottom of the CONCACAF Zone table with
no points from two matches, having also been beaten 1-0 by Jamaica in the
opening round in Kingston.
The United States jumped to the top of the table with a maximum six
points after beating Honduras 2-1, while Costa Rica moved to second with
four. Mexico and Jamaica are next with three points while Honduras is fifth
with a single point.
So now, with eight games left, no room for error and a big third round
match-up against Mexico here on April 25, T&T's World Cup future is
very much uncertain.
However, T&T has only itself to blame after failing to make the
necessary adjustments against a Costa Rican outfit which proved superior
on the night.
T&T coach Ian Porterfield never made any adjustment after the Costa
Ricans took advantage of debutant T&T defender Cyd Gray's jittery start
at this level from the first blow of referee Joo Kim Young's whistle.
And after a first half in which they managed to keep the home team off
the scoresheet, more due to England-based 'keeper Shaka Hislop's brilliant
work between the uprights and the Costa Rican's poor finishing, Porterfield
paid the price for gambling with Gray for the second half as well.
T&T was made to pay immediately after the resumption when Steven
Bryce opened the scoring after 20 seconds.
Bryce snuck in behind the T&T defence and jumped high to head a left-side Carlos Castro cross past a helpless Hislop.
The opportunity was created after another attack down the left flank
from the Costa Ricans, who utilised the relatively free flank all match
because of Gray's inability to contain veteran striker Hernan Medford.
With Gray at sea and Angus Eve also failing to provide some sort of
cover for his Joe Public teammate, the Costa Ricans were left with loads
of time to set up a barrage of attacks and shots at Hislop's goal.
T&T meanwhile, with Latapy out of sorts on the night and Dwight
Yorke left begging for crosses, barely managed to respond offensively,
especially after going behind.
Second half substitute Paulo Wanchope, back in the side after knee surgery,
then put the game away for Costa Rica with a double in the 80th and 87th
His first goal came after teammate Wilmer Lopez again dribbled down
the left flank and crossed over the T&T defence where Wanchope slid
in before Ian Cox and toe poked past Hislop.
The Manchester City star then put the icing on the cake when substitute
William Sunsing dribbled through the heart of the T&T defence, which
failed to put in a tackle, and shot powerfully to goal.
Hislop did well to make a brilliant reflex save, diving low to his left.
But Wanchope was first to the loose ball and easily slotted it into an
empty net to the delight of some 18,000 fans.
Earlier, T&T had managed to weather a tremendous storm in the first
half and actually had three good opportunities, two falling to Nigel Pierre.
In the 32nd minute he silenced the crowd when he collected a pass from
Dwight Yorke inside the six-metre box and queued up a shot.
However, Costa Rican keeper Erick Lonnis rushed off his line and managed
to partially block the effort then looked on as Pierre then put the rebound
Minutes before this, Pierre had met an Eve corner kick inside the box
but put his header high over the cross bar.
On the stroke of half time, Pierre finally had the ball in the back of the net. But the effort was soon nullified as he had used his hand to knock in the cross, Diego Maradona style.
He promptly received a yellow card for the infringement and, on the
resumption, T&T was pegged backed immediately by Bryce's goal and never
Latapy: We are still in it
TRINIDAD and Tobago skipper Russell Latapy believes his team can still
achieve its dream of reaching a first ever World Cup Finals.
"T&T was dealt a severe blow on the road to Japan and Korea after
being shut out by Costa Rica 3-0 in a second round CONCACAF Zone qualifier
on Wednesday night.
"The loss, the team's second in as many matches, left T&T at the
bottom of the CONCACAF Zone table-now being led by the United States (six
points)-with no points.
"More importantly, it now means T&T must shoot for full points in
its remaining eight matches starting here on April 25 against Mexico.
However, despite realising that there is now little room for error,
Latapy still feels his team is in with a chance.
'"We are still in it and we just have to look at the positive side of things from here on," Latapy said after the match.
'"It was really a disappointing result for us. Not that we played badly
or anything but they surely aren't three goals better than us. We did everything
according to plan in the first half and we were able to contain them.
"Just that one chance early in the second half gave them the advantage
they wanted. There's no one to fault. Everyone played their hearts out."
Latapy's teammate, England-based Dwight Yorke, was also disappointed but
was hopeful the team could bounce back.
"The lads are very disappointed with the kind of result we got. Now
we've just got to take it home and do well against Mexico," Yorke said.
"There's eight games remaining so there are a lot of points to play
for still. The one thing in this group is everyone is capable of beating
"So I don't think being beaten last night is (a disaster), I mean yes
it was disappointing but hopefully we'll be able to bounce back."
The 29-year-old striker felt his teammates dropped their heads after
the opening goal and simply could not rebound after this.
"I don't think that Costa Rica is by any chance better than us by three goals," he said. "But on the night you've got to give credit to Costa Rica, they did their homework and they took their home advantage well and at the end of the day they got three goals against us. But that's just how it is at times and hopefully we can come back."
C. RICA: Erick Lonnis, Harold Wallace, Jervis Drumond, Reynaldo Parks,
Gilberto Martinez, Carlos Castro, Steven Bryce (Mauricio Solis 76th), Rodrigo
Cordero, Wilmer Lopez, Rolando Fonseca (William Sunsing 71st), Hernan Medford
(Paulo Cesar Wanchope 60th).
T&T: Shaka Hislop, Cyd Gray, Marvin Andrews, Ian Cox, Anthony Rougier, Reynald Carrington (Brent Rahim 64th), Ronnie Mauge, Angus Eve, Russell Latapy (Evans Wise 79th), Nigel Pierre (Stern John 64th), Dwight Yorke.