T&T BEACH Soccer players Dominic McDougall and Jabari Gray both know that the national team will have to produce their strongest performance of the 2021 Concacaf Beach Soccer Championships to upset El Salvador in the quarterfinals, on Friday.
T&T will play El Salvador at 4.30 pm (T&T time) at the Sports Complex Fedefutbol-Plycem in Alajuela, Costa Rica.
T&T qualified for the quarterfinals after finishing third in Group C behind Costa Rica and USA.
In the opening round T&T lost 5-3 to Costa Rica on Monday, before falling 5-2 to USA on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, needing a win to qualify for the knock-out phase, T&T got past Turks and Caicos Islands 7-5. T&T just held on for the victory after comfortably leading 4-0. El Salvador ended the group phase with three wins in Group B with victories over Dominican Republic (15-1), Guatemala (7-1) and Bahamas (7-2).
Speaking to T&T Football Association media, McDougall said T&T must deliver the goods to come away with a win.
“If we could get our best effort thus far and maybe come out victorious. If we could get it right and be in the right frame of mind and be positive in what we doing in the plays and all these nice little things we could possibly beat El Salvador. I am hoping and I am looking forward to victory,” McDougall said.
Giving his thoughts on the victory over Turks and Caicos, McDougall said T&T could have been more convincing.
“It was both negative and positive. I think we started really well, but we were not able to manage the game in the manner in which I expected but still thankful for the victory.”
McDougall scored a brace against Turks and Caicos, but said the team’s performance is more important.
“It is always good to be on the headlines and score goals, but it is more a team effort and if T&T could go on the end of my goals I will be more happy than (seeing) McDougall.”
Goalkeeper Gray, who also netted twice versus Turks and Caicos, also felt T&T could have been more clinical in the final group match.
Gray said, “It was good. We did not manage (the game) for the entire 36 minutes but we learned valuable lessons and it was good to have the victory.”
On his performance, “That was a plus. I just went out there with a game plan which the coach (Ramiro Amarelle) implemented and just following it brought those two (goalscoring) opportunities and I was glad that I was able to take them and get confidence in myself going into the quarter-final.”
Gray said the training camp in Paraguay may prove beneficial heading into the match against El Salvador. The T&T players spent two weeks in Paraguay where they played the hosts in six practice matches.
“We have been through the motions in Paraguay playing against a quality team and this is no different. We have not shown what we can do as yet, but on Friday is a great opportunity to finally do it and finally do great things and make the country proud back at home.”
SOURCE: T&T Newsday