Despite a valiant effort in the second half with ten men, a youthful Trinidad and Tobago Senior Men’s Team suffered a 1-0 defeat to St Vincent and the Grenadines in Sunday’s international friendly at the Chilli Playing field in Georgetown.
The hosts started brightly and took a 1-0 lead in the 4th minute when captain Chavel Cunningham put the ball past goalkeeper Adrian Foncette to the delight of the home fans. St Vincent controlled proceedings for much of the first half and were unfortunate not to extend their lead. T&T, captained by defender Daneil Cyrus, was reduced to ten men when Justin Garcia was red carded for a rash tackle moments before half time.
Forward Isaiah Lee had T&T’s best effort on goal in the 38th minute.
The second half saw St Vincent maintain the pressure on the visitors but also content with the one goal advantage. T&T substitute and debutant Aaron Lester had another close effort in the 68th. Head Coach Dennis Lawrence introduced another debut, 19-year-old midfielder John-Paul Rochford and Nathaniel Garcia midway through the second half as T&T tried desperately to get back into the match. Both players combined well and created some problems for the “Vincy Heat” but goalkeeper Dwayne Sandy would not be beaten on the evening.
Rochford played one in for second half substitute Kathon St Hillaire but his shot was pushed around the post for a corner by Sandy in the 70th. There were further chances for both teams in the closing stages with Cunningham turning two defenders in the area before firing inches over bar while Garcia saw a free kick go over bar and Rochford’s attempt was cleared off the line in the 90th.
The T&T squad returns home tonight and Lawrence will continue the build up towards upcoming CONCACAF Nations League matches away to Martinique on September 6 and at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on September 9th.
T&T Starting XI: 22.Adrian Foncette, 5.Daneil Cyrus (capt), 15.Curtis Gonzales, 4.Justin Garcia, 16.Akeem Humphrey, 19.Isaiah Garcia, 7.Judah Garcia, 18.Isaiah Lee, 9.Reon Moore, 3.Jameel Neptune, 12.Jelani Felix.
Second half Subs – 23.Aaron Lester (45′), 20.John-Paul Rochford (70′), 17.Neil Benjamin Jr. (46′) , 10.Nathaniel Garcia (55′), 11.Kathon St Hillaire (62′), 2.Nicholas Thomas.
Unused Subs – 1.Marvin Phillip, 8.Jabari Mitchell, 6.Malik Mieres.
Head Coach: Dennis Lawrence
St Vincent coach: All T&T teams are losing, maybe the problem is administrative support—not Lawrence.
Last time I checked, all your teams are losing—from male to female. Is it that all your coaches on the selected national teams are no good? [My] advice [is] look for the solution elsewhere…”
The following Letter to the Editor by St Vincent and the Grenadines coach Dale Mercury was posted on the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association’s Facebook page. SVG, ranked 176th in the world, beat the Soca Warriors 1-0 in Kingstown on Sunday 11 August 2019:
I always follow Concacaf football [and] I’ve been following T&T football. I need you guys to ask yourselves an honest question: is it the Senior Men’s coach’s [fault] why T&T is losing?
Last time I checked, all your teams are losing—from male to female. Is it that all your coaches on the selected national teams are no good? [My] advice [is] look for the solution elsewhere.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are not the team we used to be when you knew us. We took over the team six months ago; before that the team was losing [and] damaged. We came under a different administration who were willing to listen to us.
We’ve been training five days per week for the last few months. We met serious problems with the team [and] we’re still far off from our targets but we’re looking for solutions. [Without] support from administration, we can’t get anywhere near these targets.
A coach is as good as the support he has from top to bottom.
Editor’s Note: At present, the Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team are on a nine match winless streak and have not won a football match since a 2-0 triumph against the United Arab Emirates on 6 September 2018.