Trinidad and Tobago Men’s Senior team were downed 3-0 by Ecuador in Thursday’s international friendly at the Estadio Reales Tamarindos in Portoviejo.
Goals on either side of the half gave the hosts the win in front of their home fans as T&T head coach Dennis Lawrence used the exercise to fine tune his troops for Sunday’s all important CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup qualifier against Honduras in San Pedro Sula.
As it stands, following Martinique’s 1-1 draw with Honduras in Fort-de-France on Thursday, T&T must now carve out a victory to finish in second place in the group and in the process seal a place in the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Already facing the setbacks of missing injured players for the Ecuador encounter, T&T traveled to San Pedro Sula on Friday morning with a depleted squad as up to eight players will miss the encounter with a further two doubtful. With Levi Garcia, Mekeil Williams, Leston Paul and Alvin Jones out through suspension, T&T also lost forward Rundell Winchester with a calf injury, Neveal Hackshaw with a torn meniscus and skipper Khaleen Hyland and Aikim Andrews are both doubtful with hamstring injuries while US-based duo Kevin Molino and Joevin Jones chose to make themselves unavailable for both matches after being called up, according to Lawrence.
“That’s football. Football is when you got all these moments and then you got to dig deep and use all your resources. That’s why tonight we tried as best as possible to use the players wisely because I didn’t want to take the risk in some of them getting on the pitch,” Lawrence told TTFA Media after the match.
“Very, very disappointed with the Khaleem one because he was only meant to play 45 minutes and we didn’t even get to 45 minutes. Ataulla had to play longer than I wanted him to play So it’s a bit of a concern…Rundell Winchester coming here and then having the abscess. From an injury front it’s a difficult one but what we just need to do now is roll our sleeves. We need to find a way. Now we need to dig deep. We need to come together and face what is front of us. We have to go out there and give it our best,” Lawrence stressed.
On the field, T&T conceded goals cheaply with 21-year-old debutant Alan Franco slotting past goalkeeper Nicklas Frenderup for the opener in the 29th minute. The Danish-born goalkeeper had a solid showing between the sticks and deserved credit for a couple of impressive stops. Michael Estrada tried to lob him in the 26th but he was up to the task, stretching full length to prevent the ball from entering the net. Ten minutes later he used his legs well to deny Estrada. Seven minutes before Ecuador broke the deadlock, T&T lost Hyland who pulled up with a hamstring strain and was replaced by Ataulla Guerra. Along with Frenderup’s showing, there were promising displays from midfielder Aaron Lester while Alvin Jones and Williams kept things organised at the back alongside Carlyle Mitchell and Daneil Cyrus. Matthew Woo Ling also came off the bench and looked capable in the middle of the park.
Mekeil Williams had an effort for T&T in the second half but Ecuador would keep a clean sheet and added a penalty goal in the 69th from Enner Valencia and he would add his second in the 84th.
“I thought we came up against a very good team. They moved the ball well, technically they are a very, very good team, I was pleased with the way we managed the game technically. I wasn’t pleased with the way we conceded the three goals. I thought they were three very cheap goals, in particular the third one so we need to improve on that.
“It was difficult for our boys. we struggled badly physically tonight, But all in all I think we got something out of the game which was a workout for some of the boys that needed to get some minutes under their belt. And now we just try to recover to get over into Honduras,” Lawrence said.
The squad left for Guayaquil by bus on Thursday night from the match venue to catch a connecting flight to El Salvador en route to Honduras ahead of Sunday’s encounter.
Trinidad and Tobago: 22. Nicklas Frenderup (GK); 5. Daneil Cyrus (vice-captain), 4. Sheldon Bateau 46′), 16. Alvin Jones, 17. Mekeil Williams; 8. Khaleem Hyland (captain) (9. Ataulla Guerra 22), 23. Aaron Lester, 12. Carlyle Mitchell, 7. Nathan Lewis (11. Ryan Telfer 62′), 3. Ross Russell Jr; 14. Daniel Carr (9.Jomoul Francois 60′), 15. Andre Fortune (19. Matthew Woo Ling 79′),
Subs not used: 1. Marvin Phillip (GK), 21. Glenroy Samuel (GK), 2. Aubrey David, 6. Keston Julien, 2. Kevon Goddard,18. Duane Muckette, 18. Aikim Andrews, 20. Jomal Williams, 10.Marcus Joseph, Rundell Winchester.
Head Coach: Dennis Lawrence
Ecuador:1.Johan Padilla (GK); 23. Bryan Carabali, 2. Félix Torres, 14. Xavier Arreaga (6. Moises Corozo 73), 3. Diego Palacios; 8. Jhegson Mendez, 21. Alan Franco (24. Jordan Sierra 57′); 5. Renato Ibarra (9. Joao Rojas 66′), 17. Romario Ibarra (11. Marcos Caicedo 43′); 19. Michael Estrada (13. Enner Valencia 57), 10. Angel Mena (27. Cabeza 75′),
Subs Not used: 12. Jorge Pinos, 17. Andrés Lopez, 4. Gustavo Cortez, 20. Gonzalo Plata, 15. José Cifuentes, 22. Brian Heras, 26. Leonel Quiñonez,
Head Coach: Jorge Célico