T&T Women fall to Panama in opening match

Trinidad and Tobago’s Women’s Senior Team suffered an early setback in its quest to advance to the knockout phase of the CONCACAF Women’s championship when they went down 3-0 to Panama at the at WakeMed Soccer Parkin North Carolina on Thursday evening.

Marta Cox lifted Panama into a 12th-minute lead as she finished a Natalia Mills feed from eight yards. Kenia Rangel doubled the margin in the 68th minute, connecting from five yards. Erika Hernandez then struck from six yards in the 88th minute to see the three points for Panama which had 17-year-old goalkeeper Yenith Bailey recording a clean sheet.

T&T took some time to settle but had a glorious chance to equalise just before the break when a ball from the left by Jonelle Cato was played for the onrushing Kennya Cornder but Bailey was quickly off her line to clear. Corner had earlier had a low effort saved by the Panamanian goalkeeper.

In the second half, Bailey also had to come up with a couple saves to deny T&T. Mariah Shade’s effort was tipped onto the crossbar on 52 minutes while substitute Kayla Taylor saw her free kick deflected out for a corner.

Panama’s players celebrate one of their goals on Thursday. (CONCACAF)

Head Coach Shawn Cooper spoke about the loss saying it was a difficult way to begin the final round campaign.

“It was a difficult start to the tournament for us. We took some time to settle. There were some challenges with players coming in a bit late and then the early goal was a further setback for us in the match,” Cooper told TTFA Media.

“We got more into the game in the second half and started to believe more in ourselves but we didn’t capitalise on a couple chances at critical points in the game for us,” he added. “We’ll focus on recovery now and go at it again in the next match against Mexico.”

T&T will be without Jenelle Cunningham for the remainder of the competition having been ruled out with a torn ACL sustained in Thursday’s encounter. Cordner was also taken to hospital after the match after suffering a concussion during the match and according to Cooper, is a doubtful starter for Sunday’s outing.

The United States thrashed Mexico 6-0 in Thursday’s second match. Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan led the USA attack with two goals apiece. Julie Ertz and Tobin Heath also found the net.

The two Group winners will advance to the semi-finals with the finalists and third place winners automatically qualifying for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. The fourth placed team will enter an intercontinental playoff with Argentina.

Photos from Thurday’s match courtesy CONCACAF.

Trinidad and Tobago 1.Kimika Forbes (GK); 8.Patrice Superville, 5.Arin King, 13.Jenelle Cunningham (4.Rhea Belgrave 70’), 7.Jonelle Cato; 11.Janine Francois, 14.Karyn Forbes (2.Ayana Russell 84’), 10.Tasha St Louis (captain); 9.Liana Hinds (12.Kayla Taylor 50’),, 19.Kennya Cordner. 3.Mariah Shade

Subs not used- 20.Saundra Baron (GK), 6.Natasha St Louis, 15.Shenelle Henry, 17.Lauryn Hutchinson.

Head Coach: Shawn Cooper

Panama 1.Yenith Bailey (GK); 4.Katherine Lineth Castillo, 5.Yomira Pinzón, 2.Hilary Jaen,3.Maria Murillo; 6.Aldrith Quintero, 8.Laurie Batista; 7.Kenia Rangel (18.Erika Hernandez 87’); 10.Marta Cox (19.Lineth Cedeño 80’), 9.Karla Riley. 11.Natalia Mills (captain) (13.Onelys Alvarado 82’),

Subs not used – 12.Farissa Córdoba (GK), 14.Maryorie Pérez, 15.Rebeca Espinosa, 16.Sheyla Díaz, 17.Anuvis Angulo, 20.María Montenegro.