Under 20s edged by Costa Rica

T&T still in with a chance of advancing

Trinidad and Tobago’s Under 20 Men produced a valiant effort but succumbed to a second half goal in Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat to hosts Costa Rica in their second group stage  encounter of the CONCACAF Under 20 Men’s Championship at the National Stadium in San Jose

See Report below

The first 45 minutes of the Concacaf U-20 championship first round contest between Trinidad and Tobago and the host nation Costa Rica could be described as a ‘bruising dog fight’ which resulted in neither competitor having the upper hand but a moment of brilliance in the second half puts a dent in the World Cup aspiration of the Caribbean nation. The mathematical chance of qualification for the next round following this 1-0 loss is there but Head Coach Brian Williams and his team will need help from Caribbean counterparts Bermuda, who must put in a masterful performance to defeat the host even if T&T pulls off a win over the  unbeaten El Salvador in Saturday’s match.

“I am proud of the guys, they stuck to the plan and we could have pulled it off but that was a fantastic free-kick in the second half and we did not recover” Williams said following the match at the National Stadium in San Jose.

The coach also lamented the loss of starting goalkeeper Denzil Smith due to a shoulder injury in the 10th minute.

“Our reserve keeper is quite capable but we lost the advantage of having a third outfield player to insert into the game and put pressure on Costa Rica with fresh legs late in the second half.”

The reason for the coach’s pride is well founded as his team took the game to Costa Rica early, creating the first genuine chance in the 14th minute when defender Kori Cupid climbed above all to produce a telling header towards goal which was well save by Mario Sequeira.

The Costa Rican ‘keeper was called into action again a minute later when midfielder Noah Powder slapped a bullet towards goal after penetrating on the right flank. Things went quite after that as the host consolidated in midfield and waited for an error from T&T which came with some errant passes in their eagerness to go forward but despite that, 0-0 was the score at the end of the first half.

Nine minutes in, the Ticos struck. They were awarded a free-kick following a foul on busy forward Andy Reyes some 22 yards out from Montel Joseph’s goal. The ball always belonged to playmaker Randell Leal because there was no discussion amongst the Costa Ricans as to who would take it and we saw why as he produced a gem with such power, curl and accuracy, the defensive wall seemed insignificant and just like that it was 1-0.

Trinidad and Tobago came back hard in search of parity as they pinned Marcelo Herrera’s team deep in their own half for long periods with the ‘big’ striker Nicholas Dillon tormenting them in the air and on the ground. A flashing drive by the Central F.C player midway through the half caused a hush around the stadium but it went agonizingly inches wide of the far post. That would be the closest we would come to getting on the score sheet before Jamaican referee Kevin Morrison blew the final whistle.

T&T vs Costa Rica on Wednesday night. Photo/Concacaf

T&T Captain Jabari Mitchell was practical in defeat.

“We played well but conceded the free kick which was expertly converted but we are still in with a chance and just have to go out there and do what we have to do and hope for some help from Bermuda” was the comment from the W Connection midfielder when he spoke to TTFA Media.

T&T will look to regroup and pull out all the stops in Saturday’s closing clash with El Salvador. The South Korea dream is still alive.

Group Tiebreakers

Greater number of points in matches between the tied teams.
Greater goal difference in matches between the tied teams (if more than two teams finish equal on points).
Greater number of goals scored in matches among the tied teams (if more than two teams finish equal on points).
Greater goal difference in all group matches.
Greater number of goals scored in all group matches.
Drawing of lots.

Group A Standings

Mexico-x 6 2 0 0 8 0 +8
Honduras-x 6 2 0 0 5 1 +4
Antigua and Barbuda 0 0 2 0 1 7 -6
Canada 0 0 2 0 0 6 -6

Group B Standings

Panama 6 2 0 0 5 0 +5
United States 3 1 1 0 4 2 +2
Haiti 3 1 1 0 6 5 +1
St. Kitts & Nevis 0 0 2 0 1 9 -8

Group C Standings

El Salvador 6 2 0 0 4 1 +3
Costa Rica 3 1 1 0 1 1 0
Trinidad and Tobago 1 0 1 1 1 2 -1
Bermuda 1 0 2 1 2 4 -2