A hat-trick by prolific goal-scorer Kevon 'Showtime' Woodley and double strikes each from Jesse Bailey and Hakeem King guided T&T's beach soccer men to the quarterfinal round of the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with a comprehensive 7-2 triumph over the USVI on Tuesday.
The Beach Warriors need only to beat Panama in their next game tomorrow to top Group B of the play-off and determine whom they will face in the knock-out phase. T&T encountered early USVI resistance but broke free when Woodley, a scorer of two goals in the team's opening match against the Turks and Caicos Islands the day before, guided Shane Hospedales' left-side corner past goalkeeper Michael Vollmer in the 2nd minute.
However, Rakeem Joseph equalized a minute later from a defensive blunder by goalkeeper Zane Cooker. The T&T custodian, under pressure from Joseph, fumbled in the 3rd minute for the latter to fire the ball into an empty net. The Warriors, who hammered the Turks and Caicos 6-0 on Monday, went ahead for a second time in the game when Bailey found himself at the end of an acrobatic attempt from Woodley in the centre of the park. And with the goal at his mercy, Bailey placed his shot wide of a diving Vollmer in the 9th minute for a 2-1 advantage.
But after being hammered 8-0 by defending champions Panama in the first match two days ago, the USVI men did not give up, and Joseph Leto, drove his shot powerfully past Coker a few seconds later to level the scores at two-apiece.
The Warriors though would not be denied the lead for the third time. This time Woodley, on another telling run at the opposition's defence was brought down in the area with 2:48 seconds on the clock, forcing the referee to point to the penalty spot. King stepped up and placed the ball into the top left-hand corner for a 3-2 lead at the end of the first period.
At the resumption King got his second item of the game, benefitting from a neat lay-off from Woodley in the 17th minute to extend his team's advantage.
A minute later, T&T inspirational goalscorer Woodley found room in the centre of the park and fired a rasping shot that Vollmer could only parry into his own nets for a 5-2 lead. Woodley then completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot, placing his shot wide of the outstretched arms of the USVI goalkeeper.
In the third period, USVI was reduced to four when Troy Andrews was given marching orders for a foul on King. And from the free-kick Bailey fired a powerful grounder past Vollmer to complete the rout in the 30th minute.
Also yesterday Guadeloupe edged Belize 7-6, and in late matches on Monday, USA hammered Bonaire 14-1 and Mexico clobbered Guatemala 4-0.
The quarter-finals will take place on Friday, followed by the semi-finals on Saturday and the final, and third-place match, on Sunday.
The finalists will be the Concacaf representatives at the 2019 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Paraguay.