This country’s senior national team will be aiming to put themselves in some position of comfort with a positive result ahead of the next set of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying matches in March when they face off with Honduras in what is expected to be a typically hostile atmosphere at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano in San Pedro Sula on Tuesday.
The game is set to kick off at 6:05pm (4:05 Honduras time) and with a sold out venue for their last match against Panama of 37,500 for what turned out to be a 1-0 defeat, the hosts are not expecting another sell out situation, but are expecting something close to 25,000 which would be close to double what T&T played in front of at the Hasely Crawford Stadium last Friday.
The T&T team trained twice since arriving here on Sunday afternoon after overnighting in Panama City with the second session being at the game venue on Monday from 5pm. The conditions here, with the game kicking off in daylight, is not as hot or humid as in T&T with the sun usually setting by 5:30pm.
Whether the sun goes down early or not, Stephen Hart is insisting that his troops are up and ready for what is likely to be another brutal challenge.
“We know very well that we need to improve in the attacking third, how we combine our movement off the ball needs to be a lot more dynamic and we will have to close down Honduras effectively. Not just close them down but try to win the ball in crucial areas of the pitch and try to get on top of them because that is what they are going to try to do to us in the opening minutes,” Hart told TTFA Media
“They (Honduras) are very dynamic, lots of hard running, hard tackling. They just put you under pressure all the time and we have to try and counter that by playing quicker, playing deeper and doing the same to them. It’s just a matter of the mindset and the attitude towards doing what needs to be done.”
The likes of former national stalwarts Russell Latapy and Stern John have echoed their support to this present T&T team, saying they believe the team can pull off the win. And Hart believes this level of inspiration is good for the team.
“I think it’s good because the names you are calling are people who have been through it. And Hutson Charles and Michael Maurice have been talking to them about the same type of thing but you have to believe in every game that you go to play that you play in such a way to get the result and if that means you have to suffer… then you have to suffer,” Hart said.
Both Hutson Charles, the lone goalscorer and Maurice played in the 1-1 draw between both teams in the World Cup qualifier here in Honduras during the 1990 World Cup campaign.
The game will be aired live in T&T on Flow Sports and on I95.5FM.
Things to know
Kenwyne Jones scored a second half penalty to put T&T 1-0 ahead in the last meeting between the two teams. T&T won that encounter 2-0 at the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup
Jan Michael Williams, Khaleem Hyland, Radanfah Abu Bakr, Joevin Jones, Daneil Cyrus, Carlyle Mitchell, Aubrey David and Andre Boucaud all played in that win for T&T.
Carlos Pavon scored the opening goal on 20 minutes when both teams met in 2009 at the same match venue for Tuesday’s game. Radanfah Abu Bakr and Kenwyne Jones were the only two players from today’s squad who played in that defeat.
The Honduras national team used to play the majority of its matches at the Estadio Tiburcio Carías Andino in Tegucigalpa.
Honduras qualified for the 1982, 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups.