Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior Men conceded goals on either side of the half as they went down 3-1 to hosts Ecuador in Wednesday’s International Friendly at the Estadio Banco del Pacifico in Guayaquil.
With both teams using their encounter as preparation for their upcoming World Cup qualifying assignments, T&T looked the part in a first half which saw the teams taking a 1-1 scoreline to the dressing rooms at the half. T&T had two debutants in their starting team with Santa Rosa FC forward Keron Clarke cutting his teeth in T&T colours and defender Kevon Villaroel coming in for the first time.
Juan Luis Anangonó punished T&T for a defensive lapse with the go ahead goal in the 21st minute and Carlyle Mitchell, captaining the national team for the first time, rose to head home the equaliser for the visitors in the 40th minute from a Hughtun Hector right side free kick. But Ecuador turned on the pressure after the break, backed by their boisterous home fans, going on to add goals in the 73rd minute through a penalty by Fernando Gaibor before substitute Jacob Murillo sealed the win with a goal in stoppage time.
T&T had their fair share of moments in front of goal with Mexican-based winger Jomal Williams lashing one over bar from the left of the goal in the 27th minute and Clarke’s right footed effort which goalkeeper Esteban Dreer blocked with his legs after Hector slipped one through for the Santa Rosa man.
T&T gave up a penalty after soaking up pressure from the hosts as they searched for the go ahead item. Alvin Jones was adjudged to have fouled Ayrton Preciado and the resulting penalty was properly dispatched for a 2-1 lead.
Before Ecuador go their third item, substitute Willis Plaza had an effort blocked from close range.
Head Coach Dennis Lawrence spoke after the match, saying that both teams were evenly matched in the first 45 but the momentum swung in the home team’s favour after the break.
“I thought the first half was well contested by both teams and a little more even, especially in terms of how we got on the ball and how we played. There were some good moments for us but Ecuador produced a much better performance in the second half and they put us under some pressure. They took control of the game. We kept ourselves in the game but they got the penalty and of course a late goal. For us, the idea is to have the local players together and give them the opportunity to come to a place like Ecuador which has a very good team and make sure we get the experience.
“We used this game as preparation for our upcoming World Cup qualifier and we’ll leave here with that in mind and obviously continue to do our work in relation to what is ahead of us,” Lawrence said.
The T&T squad will return home on Thursday and Lawrence will resume preparations in August ahead of the September 1st World Cup qualifier against Honduras at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
Trinidad and Tobago : 1.Marvin Phillip (GK); 15.Alvin Jones, 5.Carlyle Mitchell (capt) (8.Nathaniel Garcia 46), 3.Triston Hodge, 2.Kevin Villaroel; 6.Curtis Gonzales; 7.Nathan Lewis (20.Tyrone Charles 84’), 23.Leston Paul (17.Jared London 83’), 13.Hughtun Hector (14.Hashim Arcia 83’), 9.Keron Clarke, (19.Willis Plaza 71’).10.Jomal Williams (11.Sean De Silva 64’)
Unused substitutes: 22.Andre Marchan (GK), 18.Maurice Ford, 12.Neil Benjamin Jr.
Coach: Dennis Lawrence
Ecuador : 12.Esteban Dreer (GK), (22.Hamilton Piedra [GK] 81); 6.Pedro Velasco, 14.Darío Aimar, 5.Fernando León, 4.Christian Cruz; 15.Pedro Quiñónez (captain) (16.Francisco Cevallos 63’); 8.Fernando Gaibor (20.Jordan Sierra 80), 10.Gabriel Cortéz (11.Matías Oyola 46’), 7.Ayrton Preciado (9.Jacob Murillo 80’); 19.Erick Castillo, 13.Juan Luis Anangonó.
Unused substitutes: 1.Máximo Banguera (GK), 2.Luis Cangá, 3.Luis Segovia, 8.Luis Ayala, 17.Romario Caicedo.
Coach: Gustavo Quinteros