Trinidad and Tobago’s Under 22 footballers remained unbeaten at the 2011 Pan American Games but did not progress to the semi-finals after battling to a 1-1 draw with Uruguay in their final group game at the Omnilife Stadium, Guadalajara on Tuesday morning.
Needing a win to advance ahead of eventual second place finishers Uruguay, T&T went into the match in a more attacking approach and that seemed to pay off early when W Connection striker Shahdon Winchester gave T&T an 8th minute lead with a fine headed goal to put T&T 1-0 ahead.
It was just the start head coach Angus Eve was hoping for but it didn’t last or long as on 16 minutes Uruguay struck back with an equalizing goal. Nicolas Abero fired from outside and beat T&T goalkeeper Andre Marchan.
T&T, with Winchester, Kaydion Gabriel,Marcus Joseph and Jeromie Williams in the starting team, continued to push forward in numbers but failed to find a way past a stubborn Uruguay defence.
Trevin Caesar, T&T’s scorer in the 1-1 draw with Ecuador, was injured and had to be replaced by Jayson Joseph five minutes after entering.
Jamal Gay also entered the match as T&T went in desperate search of the winner in the closing half hour.
“Overall we came out of this tournament with a lot of positives. Obviously the guys are disappointed with the result today because we really felt like the opportunity was there for us to go through to the semi-finals,” Eve told TTFF Media after the 1-1 result which saw T&T finish third on the group table with three points ahead of Ecuador with Mexico topping on seven and Uruguay on four.
“We went into this game knowing that a victory had to be on the cards for us to advance. We got a good start with the go ahead goal but we did not hold on to the lead and then the goal to take us ahead just did not come. But I am pleased with the efforts of the guys.
We can take a lot of positives from this tournament. We got valuable match practice against three teams that are all rated above us and it will serve us well going into the next stage of the Olympic qualification in November,” Eve added.
Defender and captain Sheldon Bateau echoed similar sentiments, saying “We played three tough matches and we never gave up.
There were moments in this tournament where we looked really good as a team and it’s a positive sign for us.
We still have some more work to do but we have shown a lot of potential and hopefully now we can take this forward with us.”
Orlando City midfielder Kevin Molino and Jamal Gay were also pleased with the team’s overall display in the three matches.
“We won some admirers here and for me as one of the foreign-based players in the team it was a good feeling to see the boys lift their game and stand up to the opponents. We heard the fans here cheering us on which meant we were doing something good.
“As one of the more experienced players in the team I know I had to try and lift our game and I saw the team play some really good football.
Now we have to work on trying to playing like that for longer periods and be able to finish off the matches better which would allow us to win the matches.
I think we are heading in the right direction and now we are looking forward to the remainder of the Olympic qualifiers,” Molino said.
Gay added: "We played with a lot of heart but maybe we could have played wit more confidence at the start of our matches.
This is a really good experience for us because we realized that once we put our heads down and play the game then we are in with a good chance of beating these teams.
But we have to go all out from the start and once we get our chances then goals will come. We defended well also because we conceded only a goal in each game."
Recap with Flex.
T&T vs Uruguay
Shahdon Winchester 9' ; Nicolas Abero 17'
Trinidad & Tobago: 1.Andre Marchan, 4.Sheldon Bateau (capt) (Yellow 81), 5.Aquil Selby (Yellow 70), 6.Leslie Russell, 3.Mekeil Williams, 17.Kaydion Gabriel (15.Trevin Casear 61st) (7.Jayson Joseph 66th), 10.Kevin Molino (Yellow 6), 8.Jeromie Williams, 12.Joevin Jones, 13.Shahdon Winchester, 14.Marcus Joseph (Yellow 58) (9.Jamal Gay 61st).
Coach: Angus Eve.
Unused Subs: 18.Zane Coker (GK), 2.Kareem Moses, 11.Micah Lewis, 16.Cameron Roget.
Uruguay: 12.Sebastián Rodriguez, 15.Martin Rodriguez (capt), 11.Maximiliano Rodriguez (Yellow 74) (17.Dannielle Rodriguez 77th), 3.Alexis Silva, 4.Javier Gunino, 5.Julian Piriz, 8.Sebastián Papa, 9.Federico Puppo (18.Matias Britos 32nd), 10.Uruguay Viudez (Yellow 20) (7.Javier Pais 90th), 14.Emiliano Albin, 16.Nicolas Abero.
Coach: Manuel Verzeri.
Unused Subs: 1.Mathias Cubero (GK), 2.Gabriel De Los Santos, 6.Mauricio Prieto, 13.Santiago Silva.
Referee: Alfonso Mejia (El Salvador).
Video: Game Highlights.
URUGUAY STATISTICS TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
16 Shots 4
6 Shots On Goal 4
9 Fouls 24
4 Corner Kicks 1
2 Free Kicks 0
0 Penalty Kicks 0
0 Offsides 0
0 Own Goals 0
2 Cautions (Yellow Cards) 4
0 Expulsions (2nd Yellow) 0
0 Expulsions (Red Cards) 0
54% Ball Possession 46%
27 Actual Playing Time 23
P W D L F A pts
Q-Mexico 3 2 1 0 8 4 7
Q-Uruguay 3 1 1 1 4 6 4
X-T&T 3 0 3 0 3 3 3
X-Ecuador 3 0 1 2 2 4 1
Q-Clinch Semifinal Spot
Overall Results (Group A)
Trinidad & Tobago
T&T 1 vs Uruguay 1
T&T 1 vs Ecuador 1
T&T 1 vs Mexico 1
Mexico 1 vs T&T 1
Mexico 5 vs Uruguay 2
Mexico 2 vs Ecuador 1
Uruguay 1 vs T&T 1
Uruguay 2 vs Mexico 5
Uruguay 1 vs Ecuador 0
Ecuador 1 vs T&T 1
Ecuador 0 vs Uruguay 1
Ecuador 1 vs Mexico 2
Uruguay vs Argentina
Mexico vs Costa Rica