Trinidad and Tobago claimed their second win of the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship with a 5-1 victory against US Virgin Islands on Wednesday, thereby ensuring their place in the quarter finals on Friday.
T&T now have maximum points from their Group C campaign and will be ensured a top two place in the pool after a Hakeem King hat-trick helped ensure a routine success at Malcolm Park. This win followed an 8-1 win over Antigua/Barbuda on Monday and puts T&T two wins away in the knockout phase from qualifying for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2017. T&T face United Stated on Thursday in a tussle for the Group C top spot.
In a slow burner of an opening period, King’s bobbled effort beat Carlos Quezada to open the scoring but skipper Michael Vollmer got enough of a touch to glance the ball past Victor Thomas and level matters for the US Virgin Islands.
Mayan Hislop sent a fierce drive just wide midway through the second frame but the Virgin Islands proved stubborn to break down, until King bagged a second with the help of a fortuitous bounce in the sand.
Goalkeeper Zake Coker pulled off a tight save to deny Vincent Schultz with T&T only 2-1 ahead. And later on T&T’s other ‘keeper Victor Thomas also did well to deny Emiliano Aranes.
King had his hat-trick from another set-piece before the break to put T&T 3-1 ahead with Chad Appoo joining him on the scoresheet with an overhead kick with just less than five minutes remaining.
David McDougall who bagged a beavertrick in the win over Antigua/Barbuda, had a penalty saved by the USVI goalkeeper in the 4th minute of the third and final period and soon after saw his acrobatic overhead attempt bounce off the post.
There was time for Kevon Woodkey to score with an overhead kick time and wrap up a relatively straightforward victory T&T.
After the win, head coach Astorga said he was pleased to see his team advance to the quarter finals.
“We’re happy to have completed the first mission which was to get to the quarter finals. We know coming here that our chances were good but we had to take care of business. Today we were a bit slow at the start maybe because of some nerves but we finished strongly which will be important in the knockout phase,” Astorga told TTFA Media.
“We have the US tomorrow (Thursday) and we want to top the group for sure with a win over them.”
King, the hattrick scorer, added “It felt great to open my tally with a performance like this. We were a bit slow out the blocks but I knew we would get chances and we took them well. Our boys are growing in each game and I think we are all focused now to go all the way and get to the final.”
T&T captain Ryan Augustine said T&T were gaining momentum in each game.
“It’s important for us not to let up now. Even though we are through to the quarter finals, we want to top the group with a good performance and a win against the US on Thursday. But as for now, we will enjoy the moment of this second victory and recover and regroup for the rest of the tournament. Getting to the final is our next objective which would see us qualifying of the World Cup also,” Augustine said.
US head coach Edwin Soto said after his team’s 7-2 win over Antigua/Barbuda on Wednesday: “We are happy to be through to the quarters but we still have another game tomorrow against a very good Trinidad and Tobago Team. We want to win this to top the group.”
Andrew Feld, who scored in the win today, stated : “We feel we are good enough to beat them (T&T). We have seen them play and we going to head into the match confident of finishing on top the group.”
Goals: 0-1: King, min. 7 (1); 1-1: Vollmer, min. 2 (1); 1-2: King, min. 5 (2); 1-3: King, min. 2 (2); 1-4: Appoo, min. 4 (3); 1-5: Woodley, min. 2 (3)