No Frias, no problem.
With the club's leading goal-scorer Jonathan Frias missing through injury, Andre Toussaint put in a man of the match performance to lead his team to an historic 2-1 win over New York Red Bulls.
Andre Toussaint scored two first half goals as W Connection rallied from an early deficit to defeat the New York Red Bulls 2-1 in the second leg of a CONCACAF Champions League Preliminary Round series Wednesday.
Though, the New York Red Bulls (NYRB) had a "slightly" better first half "procession wise" over the Savonetta Boys; overall, W Connection were definitely the better team, especially in the second period. The Caribbean Kings could have easily disposed of the NYRB by a larger margin if they had only finished off most of their chances. And this time around it was the NYRB that played like the away team on their home turf as coach Stuart Charles Fevrier made the necessary changes that ensured his team didn't walk the same path as in the previous encounter.
Igor Santos was relegate to the bench. William Oliveira was quickly removed and captain Elijah Joseph was making some excellent passes from the back.
John Wolyniec, a former teammate of Cornell Glen, started in place of the injured Juan Pablo Angel and put New York in front in the 19th minute. The veteran forward took a pass from midfield general Jorge Rojas and slipped a left-footed shot under W Connection goalkeeper Marvin Phillip.
The goal must have spurred W Connection coach Stuart Charles Fevrier who made a tactical substitution in taking off Brazilian right wing-back William De Silva Oliveira late in the first-half for a more attacking option.
The moved paid dividends as his replacement Matthew Bartholemew made an instant impact and could have buried one with his first touch of the ball. Bartholemew was a livewire throughout the entire match and his introduction was definitely a positive one as the former Hungarian based T&T striker combined well with Andre Toussaint on-top and created all sorts of havoc for NYRB defence with his none-stop work-rate.
One another note, it was a nice sight seeing Strike Squad member Brian Williams on the technical staff bench for W Connection. Maybe he should have whispered something in Stuart Charles Fevrier ear that Clyde Leon was actually playing for the NYRB as the midfielder was having a very poor game. T&T head coach Latapy might possibly throw him a bone and name him in his team for El Salvador as he's probably more fit than inspirational captain and free-agent Dwight Yorke. Then again, hopefully not !!
Anyway, back to reality. After the substitution of Bartholemew, W Connection came to life and one could tell it was only a matter of time that they will score. So said, so done, as Toussaint came down the left, ran at NYRB defender Seth Stammler before putting a low shot inside between the midfielder's legs and inside the far post to level the game 1-1.
Then in the opening minute of first-half stoppage time, Toussaint was gifted a goal, stealing Kevin Goldthwaite's attempted pass to Jeremy Hall at the top of the Red Bulls' 18-yard box. Toussaint took a touch and clinically beat Red Bulls goalkeeper Danny Cepero inside the near post to give the Savonetta Boys a 2-1 lead heading into the half.
New York Red Bulls came out in the second half with the intentions of throwing everything at W Connection, but the T&T based team had all the answers for whatever attack NYRB threw at them. Maybe, New York was short of Red Bulls in their locker-room and had to settle for seltzer water instead.
Talented midfielder Hughtun Hector almost made it 3-1 early in the second half when he took a touch off his chest and sent a rising powerful shot at goal from the edge of the 18-yard box that Cepero parried away for a corner kick.
The hosts pushed numbers forward in an attempt to find the equalizer but all attacks were neutralized by the W Conection defence who held firm throughout the match.
Despite allowing one goal in which he could have saved, Marvin Phillip was excellent between the uprights and made brilliant stops from former Barcelona and Real Madrid midfielder Albert Celades, Matthew Mbuta, John Wolyniec and Jorge Rojas to help insure his team sealed the well deserved victory.
The same could not be said for the NYRB goalkeeper Danny Cepero, who, was shaky all night and made some poor clearances that almost cost his team dearly. Maybe former Soca Warrior Kelvin Jack should seek employment in the U.S as he experience and expert shot stopping can prove valuable to a team like the Red Bulls.
And as reported on the NYRB website. "When Canadian referee Paul Ward blew the final whistle, the W Connection players and technical staff poured off the bench, celebrating and dancing wildly on the field. That celebration continued in the visitors' locker room well after the end of the match."
The win will definitely raise eyebrows in the U.S. as this has been the second consecutive time a team from Trinidad and Tobago have eliminated an MLS side from the Concacaf Champions League. Joe Public FC did it last time when they eliminated the New England Revolution 6-1 on aggregate.
But W Connection journey has now started and the road ahead will be a very bumpy one as they face an uphill battle with much better opponents this time around. The Caribbean champions won the aggregate series 4-3 and join Pumas UNAM (Mexico), CSD Comunicaciones (Guatemala) and the winner of the series between Liberia Mia (Costa Rica) and Real CD Espana (Honduras) in Group D.
Another T&T based team will try today to emulate W Connection's success thus far and will be none other than rivals San Juan Jabloteh. The T&T side trailing 2-0 on aggregate will be hosting San Francisco FC from Panama tonight at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium from 8:00pm.
W Connection meantime, will not have time to rest as both W Connection and San Juan Jabloteh (omit who) have been in Concacaf Champions League preliminary round qualify matches over the last week and will face off in a re-scheduled league match at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Maraballa on Sunday from 5 pm.
Two days later, Jabloteh, the two-time defending league champions and W Connection will be in action again in a double-header at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.
WC: — 21-Marvin Phillip, 4-Renato Pereira (15-Eder Arias 82nd), 5-Elijah Joseph (capt), 8-Clyde Leon, 33-Christian Viveros, 41-Gerard Williams, 3-Kern Cupid, 23-Keryn Navarro (19-Andrei Pacheco 77th), 17-Hughtun Hector, 2-William De Silva Oliveira (30-Matthew Bartholemew 37th), 11-Andre Toussaint (Yellow 21).
Coach — Stuart Charles Fevrier.
NYRB: — 1-Daniel Cepero, 2-Kevin Goldthwaite (Yellow 66) (14-Matthew Mbuta 80th), 5-Albert Celades, 21-Ernst Oebster, 13-Jorge Rojas (8-Sinisa Ubiraparipovic 55th), 6-Seth Stammler, 12-Mike Petke, 16-Alfredo Pacheco (11-Danleigh Borman 46th), 17-Jeremy Hall, 19-Dane Richards, 9-John Wolyniec.
Coach — Juan Carlos Osorio.
Venue: - Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Referee: - Paul Ward (Canada).
Attendance: - 6,500
Group Stage Fixtures.
20:08:09, 22:00, Real CD España (HON) v W Connection FC (TRI)
27:08:09, 20:00, W Connection (TRI) v CSD Comunicaciones (GUA)
16:09:09, 20:00, W Connection (TRI) v Pumas UNAM (MEX)
23:09:09, 22:00, CSD Comunicaciones (GUA) v W Connection (TRI)
30:09:09, 20:00, Pumas UNAM (MEX) v W Connection (TRI)
21:10:09, 20:00, W Connection FC v Real CD España (HON)
* - All times are in EDT.
GP W D L F A D PTS
1 CSD Comunicaciones 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0 0
2 Pumas UNAM 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0 0
3 W Connection FC 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0 0
4 Real CD España 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0 0
Quotes: WCFC 2, NY 1
Red Bull New York Media Relations
NEW YORK RED BULLS HEAD COACH JUAN CARLOS OSORIO
On the match:
"Unfortunately, today's game sums up our season. Thirty-nine minutes into the game, we controlled the game we were 1-nil up. We started taking some liberties and we allowed a very soft goal on the first one, we then made another big mistake and we were punished for that. Second half, we changed it and we just put everything going forward and just put them on the back foot, but it wasn't meant to be today. We couldn't really get a clear chance, one too many half chances. As I told the players, a sign of a good team is that team that knows when to kill a game. It happened again today, we did have enough chances to completely kill the game and we didn't do it, then after that we were punished for our mistakes."
On giving up goals late on the half:
Personally, as I stated before it just sums up our season. We were clearly the better team until we scored the goal, we then missed a couple of chances that John (Wolyniec) was talking about. We allowed a very soft goal and then after that I think it's too much to bear on the players' minds; they probably think here we are again on the back foot and probably panicking and that is how we conceived the second goal.
On when he found out about Juan Pablo Angel being out and how it affected his game plan:
"Well, two hours before the game. Frustrating, however that was a medical decision. It is my understanding the club's policy it is to have a player symptom free after a concussion and I'm just following the rules."
On the rest of the season:
"I was having a word with the players after the game, and I was talking about our responsibility to our professionalism. I can understand the frustration on all the fans, because this is based on results. I look at myself and I think; today we put everything we could in order to win the game. I'm not going to criticize any of my players, they know; I'm going to question some of their character and this sense of urgency in our play. Because if we would have played the first half the way... the last seven minutes of the first half, the way we played the second half, we shouldn't be in this predicament. However I will always find my personal motivation on that, on my responsibility to the players first of all and the club and the fans and to my own self, and I was trying to say the same thing to my players and demand the same."
NEW YORK RED BULLS DEFENDER KEVIN GOLDTHWAITE
On what the team has to play for:
"I think it's a little bit early. The game's pretty fresh on my mind right now. Right now, I think we have to regroup. We don't play again until next Saturday ... and right now off the top of my head we have to play for pride right now for the rest of the season, and really play for the guys that are along side you day in and day out. Obviously tonight is pretty disappointing for us but I guess we have to regroup, and hopefully come out and compete and work with each other."
On his giveaway that led to the winning goal:
"I tried to play it by (Toussaint) just before he was able to stick his foot out, unfortunately, he stuck his foot out. In hindsight, two minutes or a minute to go in the half, I just should have cleared it. I didn't make the best judgment call on that one, he made a better play than I did and unfortunately, let in a goal because of it."
On whether he thought he cost the team the game:
"We came out in the second half and played well, so I didn't necessarily think I cost us the game. But it definitely cost us a fantastic opportunity going into the second half at 1-1 and realizing that we just need to hold it and not let in another goal. It definitely swayed the game in a huge, huge way."
NEW YORK RED BULLS GOALKEEPER DANNY CEPERO
On the last five minutes of the first half:
"I feel like we've been saying the same thing. It's tough to explain what happens with the breakdowns, lack of concentration. It's completely mental, just shutting your brain off for those few minutes. I think we tend to play tentatively because of what's happened in those last five minutes over the past season. When you're playing not to make a mistake is when you're evidently going to make those mistakes and I think that's what's been plaguing us throughout the season."
On how tough it is to lead and still lose:
"It's awful, it's frustrating. All those adjectives you want to use, that's what it is. I haven't had a worse feeling as a professional athlete here in New York. I think it just feels like we're in quicksand, the harder we try to get out, the deeper were sinking in. It makes you feel helpless and your efforts are futile. So it's going to be a test of our resilience, mental and physical, whatever happens from here on out. "
On head coach Juan Carlos Osorio's job status:
"It hasn't even crossed my mind. I'm just trying to get over the feeling now of losing to a team I think we were capable of beating, especially at home. Whether that impacts players or coaches, that's not my place to say. I know we wanted to win regardless of what was on the line for us. It wasn't about the tournament or the rest of the season. I think it was just this one game and playing for these guys in the locker room and playing."
NEW YORK RED BULLS FORWARD JOHN WOLYNIEC
On the game:
"It's disappointing. Obviously, we came out, played pretty well in the beginning. We wanted to get the first goal and we did. You know, I'm sure as a team -- I know that I did -- that we felt pretty good after we scored. I really thought that we had a good hold on the game and then we got a couple of chances, I had a couple that maybe I should have finished and sometimes when you get chances after a goal you score, the other team gains confidence from your misses. After we scored, I really felt that they were a little disorganized. As the game went on, to their credit, they picked up their play and they came at us and they threw a lot of numbers forward and got behind us. They got two goals at the end of the first half and sometimes, the end of half is very important, the last five or six minutes, and we didn't do a good enough job."
W CONNECTION HEAD COACH STUART CHARLES FEVRIER
On the team advancing to the group stage:
"It's not just a victory for us, but a victory for the entire region really. But for us in particular, this year is our 10th year as a club and this to me is the biggest in terms of significance. This is our biggest victory to date because it's a victory that takes us to another level as a club. As you can see, we are extremely happy. We are a club with very limited resources. We were able to dig deep in this situation and all I can say is that it's a credit to the players. They deserve all of the credit. And also to everybody in Trinidad and Tobago, we are very happy and very proud to represent Trinidad and Tobago in this game today. I hope that this victory will obviously propel us and give us more support from the business community in Trinidad and Tobago.
On adjusting after falling behind, 1-0:
"I felt that for this particular game, we adjusted our structure a bit and I felt before that goal was scored, we played rigid as a team and we don't usually play rigid. I felt from the time we went one goal down, we needed to re-adjust and free up our players a little more -- free them up in the natural way that they play. That was the reason for the tactical change and I wanted to go back to our originality as a team and the flexible way we like to play. The player that came on was a player who is very quick and very intense in terms of his game. The flexibly and the pace is what changed the game."
On playing the Red Bulls without Juan Pablo Angel:
"Our top goal scorer (Frias) didn't play today either for us. This year, he's leading our team in goal scoring. He wasn't able to play today so we had to adjust -- it's professional football. I don't tend to dwell on who doesn't play. You have a squad of players and at any point in time anyone can be playing. People need to do their jobs when called upon to do so because they are professionals. If Angel played, I would deal with the fact that he is playing and we adjust to him. If he's not playing we adjust to who is playing. I never dwell on who is not playing. I dwell on who plays. Angel was never a factor for me really."
W CONNECTION DEFENDER ELIJAH JOSEPH
On advancing to the group stage:
"It's been our first time we qualified for this stage so being excited, we couldn't hold it back. Coming here was difficult; playing against Red Bulls at their home and going one down. We never put down our heads. We stuck together as a team. It means a lot to us. Now we play more international games and it will build up our confidence as a team."
Highlights: WCFC 2, NY 1
Osario Red Bull CONCACAF Preview
Red Bulls and CONCACAF Leg 1