Trinidad and Tobago’s Under 20 Men’s players will face what is expected to be their toughest assignment of the group stage in the CONCACAF Under 20 Men’s Championship when they face defending champions United States at the IMG Academy in Bradenton from 7:45pm on Monday.
Both teams are undefeated with maximum six points from their two matches so far with T&T coming away 5-1 winners over Puerto Rico while the US thumped US Virgin Islands 13-0 on Saturday. Only the top team from the six-team group will advance to the next phase and this game could have a huge significance on the outcome of the group.
“We knew the time from the fixtures came out that was going to be one of the most difficult games. They are the defending champions, they are a powerhouse in the region and they are the favourites in this game. We have nothing to lose,” Latapy told TTFA Media as he looked ahead to the encounter.
“Trust me, we are going to go out there and make a game of it. I have already spoken to some of the players about what our expectations are and what our tactics would be and I can tell you we are going to do out best to go out there and make it a game and look for three points,” Latapy added.
The former Falkirk FC coach spoke about the changes made to his line up for the 5-1 win over Puerto Rico, explaining, “In this format of tournaments when you have five games in ten days it’s always difficult. It’s young men and I know they are fit but I may just trying to change things up and keep it fresh as much as I can. Today it showed with a couple of really good performances from players who came into the team and I will see if I can keep it that way for the rest of the tournament.”
“Getting five goals was good because it’s not a lot of times you get that from a team. One of the other pleasing things for me is that we played until the end. We did in the last game when we scored a goal in added on time and we did it again today,” Latapy said.
Toronto FC’s Luke Singh enjoyed a solid performance at the back for T&T and he is also anticipating a keenly contested outing with the US.
“It’s been good for us to come out with two wins from two games so far.It’s just been about us developing that chemistry in training and bringing it to the games. We’ve been taking the instructions on board from coach Latapy and trying to put it into action in the matches,” Singh said. “For me it’s a great experience coming into the team after two years since the Under 17 tournament. I’ve played with some of the boys before and now to be back in the set up is exciting. We have a lot to try and achieve still and we’ll be looking to keep it up and give a strong showing against the US on Monday,”Singh added.
Club Sando midfielder Jabarry Francis of Tobago made his starting debut with a goal and a solid performance on Saturday after joining the squad last week while Isaiah Lee struck a double in his first start in the tournament.
US head coach Tab Ramos made nine changes to his starting line up from the earlier 7-1 win over Puerto Rico for Saturday’s win over US Virgin Islands and the Americans are unbeaten in their last seven CONCACAF U-20 qualifying matches dating back to the previous campaign.
The game can be seen live in Trinidad and Tobago on Flow Sports 1.