For the entire first half, Trinidad and Tobago senior women footballers showed only the briefest signs of active preparation, as Venezuela’s young-looking team knitted a series of short passes around the park.
Still, the Carolina Morace era as head of the Trinidad and Tobago women’s football programme began without defeat, as the Women Warriors drew goalless with their South American counterparts yesterday evening in the first of two international friendlies to be played at Ato Boldon Stadium, in Couva.
The restart of T&T women’s football, stalled for three years since narrowly losing a 2015 Women’s World Cup playoff spot to Ecuador 1-0, got off to a lethargic start. The hosts looked very much a work in progress and in much need of match practice, which they will get when the teams meet again from 7p.m. on Wednesday at the same venue.
There was little fluency of play, ball movement, or actual teamwork to T&T’s play, but there was the attempt to play structured football. Defensively, T&T looked solid enough, with the experienced back four of Arin King, later-injured Lauren Hutchinson, Anastasia Prescott and Patrice Superville, restricting the South Americans to mainly shots from distance.
Even a double change at the start of the second half, bringing on Chevonne John in defence and Nia Walcott in midfield, brought little impact to the home team’s performance, despite a very good turnout of fans.
Venezuela keeper Micheel Rengifo was never once tested, although young T&T substitute striker Laurelle Theodore broke away and had a chance to give the home team a winning goal with 10 minutes left. She neither threatened the Venezuelan keeper or goal with an off-target shot.
Most times, Venezuela looked more assured of what they wanted to do. Like when 22-year-old captain Paolo Villamizar bisected T&T markers Dernelle Mascall and Hutchinson, before failing to put a shot on target.
A very dangerous player, the skillful number 10, Villamizar was often the focal point of Venezuela’s attacks. She shot quickly and powerfully, from every angle, but many times having shots blocked or just off-target.
Venezuela, though, were unlucky not to be ahead when Petra Cabrera put Villamizar’s cross onto the crossbar, with T&T goalie Kamika Forbes beaten, 12 minutes into the second half.
Trinidad and Tobago (4-3-3): 1.Kimika Forbes (GK); 8.Patrice Superville, 3.Anastasia Prescott, 5.Arin King, 20.Lauryn Hutchinson (15.Chevonne John 46); 12.Ranae Ward (19.Laurelle Theodore 79), 7.Dernelle Mascall (6.Nia Walcott 46), 14.Karyn Forbes; 13.Shenelle Henry, 10.Tasha St Louis (captain), 9.Mariah Shade.
Unused substitutes: 21.Shalette Alexander (GK), 2.Ayana Russell, 4.Crystal Mollineaux, 11.Liana Hinds, 16.Ke’die Johnson, 17.Annalis Cummings, 18.Kelsey Henry.
Coach: Carolina Morace.
Venezuela (4-4-2): 12.Micheel Rengifo (GK); 17.Yeiny Rosal (20.Paola Camacho 60), 6.Rafanny Mendoza, 2.Petra Cabrera, 4.Barbara Serrano; 10.Paola Villamizar (captain), 8.Tahicelis Marcano, 16.Maikerlin Astudillo, 7.Milagros Mendoza; 11.Joemar Guarecuco (5.Nayle Quintero 90), 19.Vimarest Diaz (18.Hilaris Villasana 52).
Unused substitutes: 1.Oriana Palacios (GK), 13.Andrea De Oliveria, 21.Diosely Mendoza.
Coach: Josefina Infante.
Referee: Crystal Sobers.