Trinidad and Tobago’s Under 17 men’s team completed their four-match tour of Costa Rica with a 4-3 victory over Saprissa’s Under 20 team at the Durman Ground on Tuesday.
The team, under head coach Shawn Cooper, returned home on Wednesday and will continue preparations for the CONCACAF Final Round of Qualification in Panama City in April towards the FIFA Under 17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in September.
Forward Akeem Garcia, who also played for the T&T Under 20 team last year, struck a double in the 64th and 77th minutes after W Connection’s Matthew Woo Ling put T&T 1-0 ahead in the 40th minute. Saprissa tied the scores at one apiece a minute later before Weah Adams of Roxborough Lakers put T&T 2-1 ahead in the 43rd minute.
Saprissa came back twice to eventually level the scores at 3-3 in the 72nd minute before Garcia converted the winner thirteen minutes from time.
Cooper was satisfied with the win to close off the tour which saw T&T lose 3-0 to the Costa Rican Under 17 team, also losing 3-2 to Alajuelense’s Under 20 team. T&T opened the series with a 0-0 draw with the same Alajuelense Under 20 team, the U-20 League champions of Costa Rica. The tour itself was arranged by TTFF technical director Anton Corneal and supported by the Ministry of Sports.
“Generally the tour was a good one and valuable to us at this stage of our preparations for the final round of qualification in Panama in April,” Cooper told TTFF Media.
“Considering the fact that we are not yet into the final phase of our preparation, I think the players adapted well the conditions and competed well in every game against teams that have latin flavor which we expect to be up against in the competition.
“We used the trip not only to get the necessary match practice but also to focus on strength and conditioning. We conceded some soft goals and I thought that resulted because of the quick transition from defense into attack by the opponents who were a bit more experienced and cohesive as a team. But we are getting there and I expect to have the final squad ready by the middle of March,” Cooper added.
Cooper noted that he will be introducing a new goalkeeper into the squad in Johan Welch of Houston Dynamo’s Academy team and US-born striker Nathan Gill who is a member of the United States U-16/U-18 Development Academy soccer program.
Gill was invited to join the T&T team for the Caribbean opening round last year but declined the offer because of prior commitment made to the TUFTS University School of Medicine TAHSS summer internship. He has however contacted Cooper and will join the team in training in Trinidad later this month.
Saprissa U-20 vs T&T U-17 Time: 3:00pm Venue: Durman Ground
Starting Line-up T&T U17: - 1.D’eandre Villaroel, 3.Maurice Ford, 4.Josiah Trimmingham, 17.Mateon Watson, 11.Anderson Toussaint, 18.Levi Garcia, 13.Mikey Basdeo (6.Brendon Creed 46th), 9.Brent Sam, 14.Matthew Woo Ling (8.Jabari Mitchell 56th), 19.Kishun Seecharan 7.Aikim Andrews 61st), 12.Weah Adams (10.Akeem Garcia 46th).
T&T Line up vs Costa Rica: - 1.D’eandre Villaroel, 17.Mateon Watson, 17.Leland Archer, 3.Maurice Ford, 2.Shannon Gomez, 6.Brendon Creed (16.Mani Walcott 75th), 15.Jarred Dass (8.Jabari Mitchell 68th), 14.Matthew Woo Ling (13.Mikey Basdeo 68th), 10.Akeem Garcia, 19.Kishun Seecharan, 9.Brent Sam (18.Levi Garcia 61st).