THERE was little encouragement for the sprinkling
of die-hard Trinidad and Tobago
football supporters who showed up at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on day one of the
Football Federation's (T&TFF) Pre-Championship invitational tournament yesterday.
Keen to lend their support to the country's Fifa World Under-17 Championship squad,
they were left in a highly sceptical mood by the collective performance of Chief
Edward Johnson struck no fewer than four times
as the United States hammered T&T
And in the opening game of the double-header, England whipped Mexico 4-1, Michael
Chopra scoring twice for the victors.
Johnson's stoppage time tap-in capped off a
dominant display by the Americans. The
tall striker's finishing could not be described as brilliant. Had it been, his tally would
have been even more impressive.
Johnson and his teammates were given time and
space to move forward systematically.
The T&T build-ups, on the other hand, lacked purpose and fluidity. And in the
defensive third of the field, the work was sloppy, clearances often finding the feet of
What seemed to be the wrong choice of footwear
also plagued the home team's efforts
on the sodden Stadium surface.
Justin Mapp opened the scoring in the 17th
minute, finishing off a fluent movement that
was facilitated by a wide opening on the right side of the T&T defence. But less than
one minute later, Kenwyne Jones put the locals back on level terms. The defensive
midfielder's low drive from the top of the 18-metre box beat US custodian and skipper
Jones's animated celebration culminated with
a flip. Unfortunately, T&T then flopped,
failing to create any serious concerns for Riffett for the remainder of the match.
Fifteen minutes after Jones struck, Johnson
knocked home a right-side cross from
Craig Capano to put his team back in front. And when, on the stroke of half-time,
Johnson tried to squeeze in another cross, the attempt should have been cleared off the
line. But Alf Skeete only succeeded in helping the ball into the back of the net, giving
the visitors an extension to a lead they thoroughly deserved.
Four minutes into the second half, 3-1 nearly
became 4-1. But an upright got in the
way of a Joshua Villalobos shot. And then in the 57th, Capano's 35-metre rocket was
brilliantly pushed around the post by T&T keeper Marvin Phillip.
However, in the 86th minute, substitute Heath
Pearce rifled home from 25 metres out.
This time Phillip was beaten. 4-1. Two minutes later, Johnson added his third, and
before referee Jagdeesh Bhimul's final whistle, he did it again.
T&T would have to improve tremendously
in today's 5p.m. game against England, at
the João Havelange Centre of Excellence.
At seven, the Americans face Mexico in the battle for Concacaf bragging rights.