Game Report: Trinidad and Tobago vs Guatemala
Unimpressive T&T secure 3-1 win
By MARK POUCHET
DENNIS LAWRENCE was not included in the line-up nor was Anthony Rougier,
who was scheduled to arrive on the night of the match. And Shaka Hislop
took in the action from the bench.
The scene was the newly-refurbished Hasely Crawford Stadium on Saturday
night. And the occasion was the Trinidad and Tobago senior national football
team’s final preparation game before their second-round Football Confederation
World Cup final round qualifying match against Costa Rica Wednesday.
And playing an unfamiliar outfit and system, coach Ian Porterfield’s
team outscored Guatemala 3-1.
The result was, T&T supporters will be hoping, the “confidence booster”
for which coach Porterfield sought, after T&T’s 1-0 loss to Jamaica
in their opening final World Cup qualifying game last month in Kingston.
But if the purpose of Saturday night’s encounter was to settle the T&T
starting side ahead of the Costa Rica clash, then things are still too
Surprisingly, Joe Public defender Cyd Gray made his international debut
for T&T in the right back position while his clubmate Stokely Mason
was pushed into the left back position to make way for SV 07 Eversberg’s
Evans Wise in left midfield.
Wise was part of a five-man midfield that included W Connection’s Reynold
Carrington, Bristol Rover’s Ronnie Maugé, Joe Public’s Angus Eve
and Hibernian’s Russell Latapy. And Manchester United star striker Dwight
played solo up front.
But the local players had not been allowed time to get accustomed to
their new structure when the Guatemalans stunned them.
Only four minutes had elapsed since the initial blast of Richard Piper’s
whistle when a build-up down the left flank saw the tiny Freddy García
squeeze the ball through three T&T defenders to find Uwaldo Perez unmarked
at the top of the box. His one-time left-footed shot went screaming past
Clayton Ince between the uprights for T&T and came to rest in the top
Silenced by the Perez coup, the 10,000 strong crowd watched as the “Soca
Warriors” struggled to come to terms with their new system.
Yorke, accustomed to the constant and accurate service of David Beckham
and company at Old Trafford, was certainly lacking in quality crosses from
Eve and Wise on either side of the pitch.
Most of Wise’s dribbling forays managed only to concede possession to
the Guatemalan opponents.
But luckily, T&T did not have to depend solely on the Germany-based
player for distribution.
Forced to bring the ball out of the defence for most of the first period,
the creative Latapy fashioned a cross from the right Marvin Andrews headed
against Josue Ortiz’s far post three minutes from the interval.
In an interview following the game, Yorke said “harsh words” were exchanged
in the dressing room at the break.
Whatever happened at that juncture, T&T came out to net three times
in the final half.
Maugé was set up by an Eve right-sided ball that the Guatemalans
failed to clear three minutes after the resumption.
And Nigel Pierre, the in-form attacker in the T&T’s tours to Brazil
and England, got a double.
But although five changes saw a not-too-pleased Latapy leave the field
and afforded the spectators the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the hard-tackling
and hard-working Brent Rahim in the middle, most of the fans were left
unconvinced by their team’s effort.
Even Yorke commented that he was not “pleased” with the team’s general
performance and that there was still a lot to be “worked on” before their
next game against Costa Rica on Wednesday.
Unfortunately for Yorke and his team, there is little time to smooth out the rough edges. Perhaps too little, seemed to think the fans streaming out of the Stadium on Saturday night.