Fri, Feb

UNDER PRESSURE: Trinidad asnd Tobago right back Christian Bailey, left, is under pressure from Costa Rica striker Shawn Johnson as Costa Rica won the CONCACAF Men’s Under-20 Championship round of 16 match 4-1, yesterday, in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. —Photo courtesy CONCACAF

DEFENSIVE INADEQUACIES were exposed with clinical efficiency yesterday when Costa Rica defeated Trinidad and Tobago’s Junior Soca Warriors 4-1 in the opening round of knockout matches at the 2022 CONCACAF Men’s Under-20 Championship in Honduras.

The Caribbean team now heads home following moderate success, while Costa Rica head to a quarter-final meeting, likely against the United States tomorrow. So gracious in hosting the young Warriors to a pre-tournament camp days before the tournament, it was the Ticos who also sent them home with yesterday’s comprehensive victory at the Estadio Yankel Rosenthal in San Pedro Sula.

Only Josimar Alcócer’s 17th-minute penalty separated the teams at the end of the first half. However, Costa Rica built a four-goal lead through further goals from second half substitutes Shawn Johnson (63rd minute) and Dorian Rodríguez (68th & 78th), before captain Molik Khan (87th) got T&T a consolation when turning in a cut-back pass from striker Nathaniel “Natty” Joseph.

It was definitely not a case of Costa Rica being responsible for T&T’s defensive inadequacy. But having played the Caribbean team twice in a week before the tournament, the Ticos knew exactly where the weaknesses were.

Prior to yesterday, T&T had already conceded nine goals in their opening two preliminary matches, and also gave a shaky defensive effort when winning 3-0 against Suriname, who themselves had previously conceded 13 goals.

Yesterday, Costa Rica had most of the good first-half attacking moments and might have gone into the half further ahead, except for three solid saves from outstanding goalkeeper Tristan Edwards.

Instead, it was a fortuitous penalty which saw them ahead by a single goal at half-time. T&T defender Jaheim Joseph seemed to make no deliberate move to handle the ball when a square pass was drilled onto his arm, but referee Jose Torres pointed to the penalty spot, where Alcócer successfully converted.

The Junior Soca Warriors had a ten-minute dominant spell early in the second half, but with a triple-change of players, Costa Rica regained control. Two of them were responsible for the goal T&T conceded in the second half.

Johnson simply had to sweep a low shot in at the far post for 2-0 in the 63rd minute, while some of the T&T defenders forgot their primary role. Another substitute, Rodríguez, made full use of weakening T&T legs and spirit, by scoring twice within ten minutes.

Goalkeeper Edwards put in a brilliant push to keep out a low shot which was headed to the corner of his net, but Rodríguez was sharper to the ball than T&T’s defenders and swooped in the rebound. T&T’s collective inability to defend well, was clearly evident when Rodriguez put a free, looping header onto goal with two central defenders caught watching the action.

The ball sailed over goalkeeper Edwards and came off the underside of the crossbar in the 71st minute.

But when Rodriguez ran in between two T&T defenders onto a short pass, Costa Rica had a fourth goal and the match was over, barring Khan’s getting a late send-off, as the Junior Warriors were ushered out of the tournament.


Trinidad and Tobago (5-4-1): 18.Tristan Edwards (GK); 2.Christian Bailey (17.Andrew De Gannes 75), 5.Jaron Pascall, 4.Jaheim Joseph (11.Nathaniel James 46), 14.Josiah Cooper, 13.Noah Roka; 15.Micah Cain (9.Real Gill 46), 16.Tyrik Trotman, 6.Kassidy Davidson (8.Luke Phillip 75), 3.Marvin Waldrop (7.Kaihim Thomas 29); 10.Molik Jesse Khan (captain).

Unused substitutes: 1.Jahiem Wickham (GK), 12.Josiah Wilson, 19.Isaiah Thompson, 20.Tarik Lee.

Coach: Angus Eve

Costa Rica (4-2-3-1): 18.Bayron Mora (GK); 13.Keral Ríos (21.Kendrick Enríquez 76), 4.Brandon Calderón, 5.Santiago Van Der Putten (captain), 3.Douglas Sequeira, 14.Timothy Arias, 8.Creichel Pérez, 11.Josimar Alcócer (15.Jostin Telleria 76), 16.Andrey Salmerón (10.Brandon Aguilera 56), 7.Andrey Soto (12.Shawn Johnson 56), 20.Enyel Escoe (9.Dorian Rodriguez 56)

Unused substitutes: 1.Abraham Madriz (GK), 19.Johel Alemán, 22.Denilson Vargas.

Coach: Vladimir Quesada

Referee: Jose Torres (Puerto Rico)

Coach: Vladimir Quesada

Referee: Jose Torres (Puerto Rico)

SOURCE: T&T Express