Mon, Jan

Lawrence: We failed to defend set piece.

De­spite three goals in two match­es of the CON­CA­CAF Na­tions League, Den­nis Lawrence's So­ca War­riors are set to head back to the draw­ing board to work on their de­fen­sive tac­tics.

Af­ter a 1-1 tie with Mar­tinique on Fri­day last in Mar­tinique, the So­ca War­riors squan­dered a two-goal ad­van­tage 2-0 in the re­turn leg, to share the points in a hurt­ful 2-2 draw at the Hase­ly Craw­ford Sta­di­um, Mu­cu­rapo on Mon­day night.

Sup­port­ed by an ap­pre­cia­tive crowd that in­clud­ed Min­is­ter of Sports and Youth Af­fairs Sham­fa Cud­joe, and for­mer na­tion­al strik­er and goal­keep­er Dwight Yorke and Sha­ka His­lop, among many oth­ers, the team set­tled ear­ly in the match and were re­ward­ed when Kevin Moli­no found him­self at the end of a way­ward back-kick by goal­keep­er Loic Chau­vet and ri­fled his shot back past him for the ad­van­tage. And soon af­ter the break, Cana­di­an based mid­field­er Ryan Telfer was al­so re­ward­ed for a work­man-like per­for­mance with a goal in the 45th minute.

But for all the chances cre­at­ed, the TT de­fence matched it in blun­ders and it was man­i­fest­ed from a 59th-minute cor­ner from which poor track­ing and mark­ing al­lowed Daniel Her­relle quick­ly pounced on a loose ball. And lat­er Jordy Delem wait­ed un­marked at the back post to tap in a ball that was thread­ed through the TT de­fence twice.

Lawrence in a post-match press con­fer­ence af­ter­wards said "In terms of ef­fort from the boys phys­i­cal­ly, you can't fault them, but we just didn't deal with the re­spon­si­bil­i­ty we had to deal with, which was to de­fend the set pieces. Tonight we scored two goals, but could not keep a clean sheet. We couldn't de­fend the two goals we had, so if you look at it, be­fore we couldn't score, we were con­ced­ing, now we could score but we con­ced­ing. We need to go back to the draw­ing board in terms of us try­ing to en­sure that we can keep clean sheets be­cause if we score two at home and lead­ing 2-0, I don't ex­pect us to con­cede two goals in the man­ner we did."

He added, "We set our­selves tar­gets go­ing in­to these two games and it wasn't to come out with two points in two games. Our tar­get was four or six and we had an op­por­tu­ni­ty tonight and we lost it. How­ev­er, we need to re­fo­cus. We in the past would se­lect squads based on per­for­mances for your club. We have got­ten to a stage now where we se­lect­ing squads based on play­ers just play­ing foot­ball, which is not ide­al."

T&T will next face Hon­duras in the Na­tions League and Lawrence said we need to im­prove, par­tic­u­lar­ly in con­ced­ing goals, say­ing our down­fall tonight was hav­ing the right men­tal­i­ty to de­fend.


T&T throw away 2-0 lead to draw with Martinique.
By Joel Bailey (Newsday).

Set-piece weakness

DENNIS Lawrence, T&T men’s football team coach, has bemoaned the team’s inability to defend set-pieces.

Lawrence was speaking in the post-game media conference at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on Monday night, after T&T allowed Martinique to rally from two goals down to draw 2-2 in their League A Group C second-leg tie, in the Concacaf Nations League.

Kevin Molino and Ryan Telfer gave T&T a 2-0 cushion with goals in the 17th and 46th minutes respectively, but striker Daniel Carr responded with an own goal, in the 59th, and Jordy Delem tied the scores with 11 minutes of regulation time remaining.

Asked what went wrong for T&T in the second half, Lawrence replied, “We (couldn’t) defend set pieces. It’s a problem we identified in the first game. We didn’t have enough people in the box ready to put their head on it and take a cut. It’s that simple.”

T&T and Martinique drew 1-1 in their first leg contest in Fort-de-France, Martinique on Friday.

Martinique coach Mario Bocaly acknowledged that his team relied a lot on set-pieces against T&T.

“We worked on everything on T&T,” Bocaly said. “We saw (their) quality but we saw (their) faults. We (scored on set-pieces) three times during the two games.”

Monday’s result meant that T&T are yet to win an international match since a 2-0 victory over the United Arab Emirates on September 6, 2018, in Girona, Spain. Since then, T&T have drawn five games and lost seven.

Questioned about the win-less run, Lawrence responded, “I can speak about (Monday) night. We scored two goals and we couldn’t keep a clean sheet. We couldn’t defend the two-goal lead that we had.

“If you look at the overall picture, before we couldn’t score and we conceded, now we could score and we’re still conceding. We need to go back to the drawing board in terms of trying to ensure that we can keep clean sheets. We need to get set and look forward to October.”

Honduras, the other team in this three-team Group C, will meet T&T in a home-and-away tie on October 10 and 13. Lawrence was also asked if there will be changes to the T&T squad before the Honduras matches.

He replied, “Before you talk about changes, you need to have options. We need to find the options first, then start thinking about changes. There are a couple (players) that we’re working on, to bring in to represent TT.

“I’m hoping that, between now and October, that their documents would come into play so we can put some more pressure on the boys that are in the squad. I think we need competition.”

Bocaly was pleased with his team’s display on Monday.

According to the Martinique coach, “I’m proud of my players because it was so difficult (in) the beginning of the game because Trinidad were more solid than they were on Friday. They played really well in the first half. To get two goals is very good for Martinique.”

Martinique is not a member of FIFA and ineligible to enter any the FIFA World Cup or FIFA-organised competition, since it is an overseas department of France.

Delem plays in the American MLS (Major League Soccer) with Seattle Sounders and French-born striker Julio Donisa plays for Lyon-Duchere in France.

“We have so much new players in the team, only two professionals. The other ones work in the morning and train in the night,” said Bocaly. “It’s a reality of Martinique football. We work with these players. They’re proud of representing the team.”