Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior Men will be aiming to start their 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign on a winning note when they face off with Panama in the first Group D match of a double header at Allianz Field in Minnesota on Tuesday.T&T will raise the curtains from 6:30pm (7:30pm TT time) with the United States taking on Guyana from 9:00pm.
Allianz is the home venue of Kevin Molino’s Minnesota United and the T&T squad got their first feel of the venue as head coach Dennis Lawrence conducted the official training session on Monday evening. A capacity crowd of 19,000 is expected for the double header.
T&T’s last Gold Cup outing was a quarter final encounter with the Panamanians in the quarter finals of the 2015 competition. T&T went out 6-5 on penalties after nine rounds of kicks following a 1-1 scoreline after extra time. T&T then won a home 2018 World Cup qualifier 1-0 on a Kevin Molino winner before losing 3-0 in Panama City.
“At this point in time I don’t think history will play a part,” Hyland told TTFA Media. “This is a new competition. There are new faces on board, new ambitions, new atmosphere, in a different country and none of us are home. It’s all up for the grabs so we have to take front before front takes us and hopefully we can get the three points,” he added.
“The mood is great and everyone is gelling and doing their tasks that they have been asked to do by the head coach and the staff. In every major tournament your first game is one of the most important and in these tournaments you have to take it game by game. This game game we know is going to be a difficult one. We know the strengths of Panama and we know they are a hardworking team but we have to match them throughout the game,” Hyland continued.
The Saudi Arabia based midfielder, formerly of Belgium side Racing Genk had a brief message for the T&T faithful, saying “I just want the fans to keep faith in us. This is your team. We believe in ourselves and you have to believe in us and it will only happen if we come together as one country, one nation and that’s the only way things will get better… by supporting each other.”
Meantime, defender Aubrey David has joined theTrinidad and Tobago Men’s team for the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Following a lengthy delay, David was granted his US Visa on Friday and linked up with teammates in the United States. He comes into the 23-man squad for Charleston Battery defender Leland Archer who will leave the camp on Wednesday following the opening group match versus Panama on Tuesday. David who plays for Deportivo Saprissa in Costa Rica, is eligible for Tuesday’s match.
Fans can view the matches on Fox Soccer Soccer Plus, Fox Sports 2, Univision or Concacafgo.com
Lawrence and Leston Paul at #GoldCup2019 PreMatch Press Conference