Sat, Jun

Trimmingham trims Cuba lead as T&T surge into finals unbeaten after 1-1 tie

T&T Under-20 men's national football team scraped through to the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) finals after a hard fought 1-1 tie with Cuba at the Hasley Crawford Stadium, Trinidad.

Needing only a draw to top the group, T&T made sure, but, had to work hard for it after Cuba had taken an early 10 minute lead over a T&T side that rested a few of their starting players.

San Juan Jabloteh defender Josiah Trimmingham scored an 88th minute equaliser that rescued T&T from a possible defeat and secured a point for his team as they finished top of Group A with 7 points.

The Young Warriors will more than likely face the Haitians who currently sits at the top of Group B in this Friday's final. Haiti has one game left and will face table-propers St Kitts and Nevis today at the Hasley Crawford Stadium from 7:30pm, a draw will see the Haitians top their group also.

Head coach Derek King told the Soca Warriors Online (SWO) that: "We made a few changes to the team. We wanted to rest a few starting players for the finals on Friday."

"We were organized as a team but allowed a soft goal. Apart from the goal though, Cuba didn't even had a single shot on goal."

"They played a very deep line and we still managed to get at least six goalscoring opportunities."

"We were dominant and in total control of the game. Mitchell, Dillon, Garcia and Andrews had really good chances of scoring but just couldn't put them away, added King."

The finals will be held at the Hasely Crawford Stadium from 7:30pm.

Under-20 Caribbean Championship Results

Trinidad and Tobago  1  v  Cuba  1
Josiah Trimmingham 88    Frank Lopez 10

Curacao  3  v  Suriname  2
Isai Marselia 23    Orveo Faerber 15
Isai Marselia 52    Giovanni Asoman 26
Jersylee Riley 79


Trinidad and Tobago: 1.Johan Welch; 2.Shannon Gomez (capt), 13.Josiah Trimmingham, 4.Jesus Perez, 5.Maurice Ford; 16.Kion Joseph, 17.Akeem Humphrey; 15.Aikim Andrews (7.Akeem Garcia 60th), 18.Jabari Mitchell (10.Andre Fortune 74th), 11.Levi Garcia, 19.Nicholas Dillon (9.Kadeem Corbin 65th).

Unused substitutes: 21.Javon Sample (GK), 3.Martieon Watson, 8.Neveal Hackshaw, 12.Kishun Seecharan, 14.Matthew Woo Ling.

Coach: Derek King.

Cuba: 1.Elier Pozo, 8.Yendri Torres (2.Roberney Caballero 72nd), 14.Norgerman Rodriguez, 19.David Urgelles, 15.Daniel Alarco, 6.Gilbert Iglesias; 13.Issan Lartiga (18.Orlando Madrigal 68th), 10.Roberto Peraza, 5.Brian Rosales, 11.Frank Lopez (3.Jonathan Moliner 87th); 7.Eddy Luis Saname.

Unused substitutes: 12.Delvis Lumpuy (GK) (capt), 4.Sandro Cutino, 9.Jose Felix Perez, 16.George Guibert, 17.Yoan Godines, 20.Osmany Capote.

Coach: William Bennett.


P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
Trinidad & Tobago  3  2  1  0  7  2  7
Cuba  3  1  1  1  2  2  4
Suriname  3  1  0  2  4  5  3
Curacao  3  1  0  2  3  7  3



Levi confirms star billing as T&T U-20s seize Caribbean Cup final.
By Lasana Liburd (wired868).

Trinidad and Tobago will contest its second regional football final in a month on Friday evening when the young “Soca Warriors” line up in the 2014 Under-20 Caribbean Championship finale from 7.15 pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.

Almost certainly, the Warriors’ final dance partner will be Haiti, who leads Group B at present, and there is a high possibility of an entertaining, swashbuckling close to the under-20 competition.

On a cool, damp Tuesday evening, there was little sparkle at the Hasely Crawford, though, as the Warriors eventually clawed their way back to a 1-1 draw against Cuba in the final Group A fixture.

Trinidad and Tobago had already booked one of four automatic CFU qualifying spots for the 2015 Under-20 CONCACAF Championships before kick off—thanks to a surprise 3-2 win for Curaçao over Suriname—while Cuba only needed a point to join the Warriors in the next phase. The CONCACAF tournament will be held in Montego Bay, Jamaica next January and the four top teams there will play at the New Zealand 2015 Under-20 World Cup.

Yesterday, under-20 coach Derek King took the chance to give a few more players some tournament exposure and, in the end, he and Cuba coach William Bennett might have been satisfied with how things turned out.

“We took a look at a couple of guys and the first half was a bit scrappy,” said King, in the post-game press conference. “… The second half was much better (and) Cuba didn’t get a single shot on goal.”

First half? Not so good. Second half? Better.

It has been a recurring theme in Trinidad and Tobago’s post-game press conferences so far.

Undoubtedly, this is a talented bunch of teenaged players. But, just as certainly, they are playing nowhere near to the peak of their powers.

The Warriors, for all their endeavour and individual ability, often lacked collective play, passing triangles and the composure and know-how to switch points of attack. Not altogether surprising for a team that held its first training session in July and got its first live-in camp a week before the opening CFU match.

Yet, Cuba was clearly petrified at what the Warriors were capable of last night.

At kick off, Bennett employed a five-man defence with a sweeper so deep that he was an arm’s length from his own penalty area, even when Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Johan Welch was in possession.

The reason for Bennett’s paranoia probably wears green boots and is just 16 years old. His name is Levi Garcia and he might be Trinidad and Tobago’s most gifted player since former Joe Public star Arnold Dwarika.

He is predominantly left footed, quick and weaves around defenders the way an impatient motorist dances through traffic on the highway.

Although Garcia is the youngest member of the squad, he has more adult experience than any of his teammates. In early 2013, he made his Pro League debut with T&TEC while he also represented Siparia Spurs in the Super League last year.

Both times, Garcia’s spells in the senior game came during the offseason of his school team Shiva Boys HC. King hopes to convince the young man to leave the school game behind.

“As I told the players, if they can play at Pro League level it will be much better,” said King, who pointed out that their top CONCACAF opponents will all be attached to professional clubs. “I am hoping to get Levi to play with (his present club) Central FC.”

Such is the depth of King’s squad that every player he throws on to the field seems capable of seizing a starting pick. Box-to-box midfielder Akeem Humphrey, tricky winger Aikim Andrews and clinical attacking midfielder Jabari Mitchell will be hard to dislodge for Friday’s final despite starting the tournament as substitutes.

And, yesterday, defender Josiah Trimmingham made his tournament debut and helped deliver Trinidad and Tobago’s late equaliser while 17-year-old striker Nicholas Dillon came closest to a goal from open play in his first international game.

Midfielder Andre Fortune, like Matthew Woo Ling against Curaçao, also made an impression off the bench.

Yet, despite the reasons for enthusiasm, the Warriors struggled to put away an average Cuban team.

Dillon had the first chance of the game in the ninth minute but was blocked by Cuba custodian Elier Pozo while he smacked the rebound off the underside of the bar.

It was a costly miss as, within seconds, Cuba went ahead as attacker Frank Lopez punished a poor headed clearance from Trinidad and Tobago’s United States-born goalkeeper Johan Welch, who is a member of the Houston Dynamos youth set-up.

Cuba did not register another shot on goal for the remainder of the contest. Nor did the Cubans seemed interested in extending their advantage.

Instead, the Spanish-speaking tourists restricted themselves to stifling Trinidad and Tobago attacks, which was made easier by the host team’s habit of launching lateral attacks into clogged sections of the field rather than probing for weaknesses through rapid, ball movement.

It was more of a collective flaw than an individual one. But King again solved it by improving on Plan A rather than finding a Plan B.

On went the fresh legs of striker Kadeem Corbin, one of the revelations of the tournament, and pacey winger Akeem Garcia—no relation to Levi—as space finally began to open up in the Cuban half of the field. And Trinidad and Tobago’s winged dribblers got to work.

Twice, Garcia (L) found Mitchell in a promising position only for the attacker to hit wide while Mitchell drove overbar after a flowing move that involved Humphrey and Corbin.

King replaced Mitchell with Fortune and, three minutes from time, it proved to be a fortunate decision. The substitute lofted a diagonal free kick into the area and, distracted by Trimmingham’s attempted stooping header, Cuban defender Daniel Alarco booted the ball past his own goalkeeper.

Trimmingham claimed the goal. More importantly, the Warriors maintained their unbeaten run. And, tomorrow, they can follow the lead of the senior women’s team by claiming the Caribbean title—albeit in Jamaica’s absence.

“We are the future of Trinidad and Tobago’s football,” said Trimmingham, “so come out and support us.”

Garcia (L) echoed the call to local football fans.

“It really helped us knowing our family was there (last night),” said Garcia (L), “but I would like to see a full stands.”

Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart, who serves as a technical advisor to the under-20 squad, believes that the current national youth team has the potential to do great things.

Hart was reluctant to single out players but he hinted that Garcia (L) was among the four teenagers who he suggested had the potential to be special players.

“Levi can penetrate and he is showing that he can penetrate on the outside and inside of a player,” said Hart, “And I like his ability to pin back defenders. He still has to learn to play in a modern way in terms of what he does off the ball; but, at his age, that is understandable…

“He can be an exciting player for us.”

Football fans can judge for themselves on Friday when the Under-20 Caribbean Cup final kicks off from 7.15 pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.


Trinidad and Tobago (4-2-3-1): 1.Johan Welch (GK); 2.Shannon Gomez (captain), 13.Josiah Trimmingham, 4.Jesus Perez, 5.Maurice Ford; 16.Kion Joseph, 17.Akeem Humphrey; 15.Aikim Andrews (7.Akeem Garcia 60), 18.Jabari Mitchell (10.Andre Fortune 74), 11.Levi Garcia, 19.Nicholas Dillon (9.Kadeem Corbin 65).

Unused substitutes: 21.Javon Sample (GK), 3.Martieon Watson, 8.Neveal Hackshaw, 12.Kishun Seecharan, 14.Matthew Woo Ling.

Coach: Derek King.

Cuba (5-4-1): 1.Elier Pozo (GK), 8.Yendri Torres (2.Roberney Caballero 72), 14.Norgerman Rodriguez, 19.David Urgelles, 15.Daniel Alarco, 6.Gilbert Iglesias; 13.Issan Lartiga (18.Orlando Madrigal 68), 10.Roberto Peraza, 5.Brian Rosales, 11.Frank Lopez (3.Jonathan Moliner 87); 7.Eddy Luis Saname.

Unused substitutes: 12.Delvis Lumpuy (GK) (captain), 4.Sandro Cutino, 9.Jose Felix Perez, 16.George Guibert, 17.Yoan Godines, 20.Osmany Capote.

Coach: William Bennett.

Referee: Leo Clarke.


Young Warriors in Caribbean final
Late goal secures draw with Cuba
By Ian Prescott (Express).

Defender Josiah Trimmingham scored on debut, as Trinidad and Tobago booked a spot in tomorrow’s 2014 Caribbean Men’s Under 20 Championship Final, despite a 1-1 draw with Cuba on Tuesday night at Hasely Crawford, Port of Spain.

Both Group A teams qualified for the CONCACAF leg of qualifying, but Cuba will only play for third in the Caribbean tournament tomorrow, after ending the group in second spot. The Young Warriors ended the group with victories over Suriname (2-1) and Curacao (4-0) and a draw with Cuba. In the final, they are likely to meet Haiti, who needed a point last night to top Group B.

The Young Warriors spent much of Tuesday night chasing a “soft” early goal, conceded in the 10th minute, when goalkeeper Johan Welch was caught off his goal-line by a long shot. Trimmingham’s equaliser only came with two minutes left in normal time, when the big T&T defender got the last touch to put in a free-kick.

The very short Welch, was similarly beaten by Suriname striker Ricardo Fauber at the start of the tournament, and the Cubans appeared to be ready to capitalise on the T&T goalie’s habit of pushing high up—many times outside his penalty area—to negate a lack of height.

Frank Lopez let fly from deep infield, when seeing the Welch almost at the edge of his penalty area, and scored. Cuba never created another good chance.

“We allowed a soft goal,” stated T&T head coach Derek King, who admitted to some worry that his goalkeeper has now been twice similarly beaten. “There is a bit of concern, and I believe he was a bit lackadaisical. But he is a good guy, consistent and likes to work hard.”

King added that going forward to the CONCACAF stage, T&T will be opening the selection process to gather the best team to represent the country. He further added that there are still a couple of goalkeepers to look at.

For the most part, Cuba were disciplined and compact behind the ball, but not adventurous going forward, and never quite created another scoring opportunity. But, they did stop the better Trinidad and Tobago team from dominating the wide positions, as in previous matches. William Bennett, who is in charge of Cuba’s entire coaching programme, admitted the Cubans mainly played for a point, and to win if possible.

Speaking through local interpreter Tristan Benjamin, he said: “Due to the (result of the) first game, we knew that we needed only a draw to move forward. We played a strategic game,” stated Bennett, who even admitted to putting in their tallest goalkeeper Elier Pozo, simply to eliminate T&T’s cross balls.

“We played against one of the toughest teams in the Caribbean. They play almost total football.” Bennett said of the Young Warriors. “Trinidad players are very explosive and they play very good one on one. So the best thing was to play two against one, to avoid them from coming into the area.”

Even so, T&T dominated possession, creating the odd chance along the way. Replacing the rested Kadeem Corbin up front, lanky 16-year-old striker Nicholas Dillon had two early chances, including when he struck the crossbar two minutes before the Cuban goal. And having scored explosively against Suriname and Curacao, midfielder Jabari Mitchell was off the mark with a hat-trick of close misses against Cuba. Not that the Cubans gave him more than a split second to shoot.

“We met a Cuba tonight that really did not create any chances’” King said. “We created four or five chances, which we did not put away.”

“Today against Cuba we made a couple of changes to the starting team to give a couple of guys (a run) to have a look at them,” King added. He commended young Dillon for his first showing for the national team, despite shouts in the crowd for Corbin’s inclusion, when T&T were losing.

“He (Dillon) did well. He held the ball well. He created a couple of scoring opportunities where he did not take the chances. All in all, it wasn’t bad,” King said.