It may not be the result expected by the national team coaching staff, but the thought of failing to defeat teams with a lower FIFA ranking and also following two impressive victories, may have worried Dennis Lawrence and his staff.
Having not seen the first game, I made it compulsive to attend the second against Guyana, who had defeated us not too long ago. After reading the reports given to the media by the coaches of both teams, it led readers to believe that both teams were more than ready for a serious encounter.
The Guyanese coach indicated that his team was more than prepared for this game, as he knew a number of the Warriors players and some of his players played with and against them in our Local Pro league.
On a slippery surface, but ideally suited to good football, Pregame comments were important. After some careful caution by both teams, what was seen was an initial plan of the warriors playing the possession game in their own half of the field, but being unable to move forward into the opponents’ portion.
My first observation was that the practice of possession was really a case of passing around the responsibility of their defence players, and gradually searching for inroads to the midfielders.
Their opponents almost robotically awaited the attacking thrust from the home team, and were able to win the ball easily when it was played forward.
Some were because of inaccurate passes while others were because of an absolute lack of creativity among the midfield four.
Maybe inexperience, but it appeared more as thought they were short of the tactics which invites passing lanes and cohesive rotation in order to force the Guyanese to reshuffle or lose their defensive direction.
The percentage of inaccurate passes became the initial problem, either through good interception by the opposing midfield, or/and by pathetic ball distribution from the back.
Having checked the consistency of possession through consecutive passing, the strings of accurate passes did not go above eight, and when it did, most times it was in their own half of the field, hence the reason for the scarcity of shots taken.
The visitors decided to pay respect to the World Cup contenders who mastered both USA and Panama, which made sense, but also had the problem of using the ball effectively when they won it.
What was even more disconcerting was the desire of the key warriors’ players to utilize their individual skills instead of team building aggressive sequences towards goal, another reason for a terrible shortage of shots at goal.
In defence while the players appeared to have the physical capability to perform, they were far short of communication when the opposition was coming into their portion of the field.
Guyana got one 30% opportunity when a ball was played towards their striker Holder who, at the time was marked by both warrior central defenders. Lack of communication caused both defenders to allow the young man to collect the ball on his chest with one metre from both. He recognised the crowd and decided to make a pass from the penalty area to his wing midfielder on the left side and it was neatly headed into the far corner of the goal.
Up to that time, goal chances from either team was A SCARCITY. However, the home team increased the velocity of movement and appeared to be more effective at times. But the inaccuracy of key passes were easily lost to a defense line whose claim to fame was listening to the instructions of their coach.
The tension rose higher, but so did the anxiety and disorder of organised by both teams. A counter-attack coming to the end for Guyana very nearly gave them a match winner, except for a superb piece of goalkeeping. Eventually, Levi Garcia moves smartly into the middle from an accurate left side ground cross with five metres of the Guyanese goal. The promising youngster allowed the ball to roll across him and his right footed attempt missed an open goal and possible victory for the warriors.
Despite all the investments of young players, the signals appear to be some distance away from what our national team standard should produce.
More training is needed and in some cases, the fundamental principles of good team play.