Soca Warriors coach Angus Eve is expected to select a mostly locally-based 23-man roster for his team’s friendly encounter against Guatemala on Sunday (June 11) at Subaru Park, Chester, Pennsylvania, USA from 5 pm.
The match will serve as the lone warm-up encounter for the Soca Warriors ahead of their must-win preliminary round CONCACAF Gold Cup qualifier versus Guadeloupe on June 16 at DRV PNK Stadium, in Fort Lauderdale, USA, from 4.30 pm with the winner to meet the winner of the Guyana and Grenada preliminary clash, for a spot in the 16-nation Gold Cup main draw Group C series which already includes Canada, Guatemala, and Cuba.
Last week, Eve named a 60-man preliminary squad for the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup in the USA, featuring 32 overseas-based players and 28 locally-based.
However, with the core of senior overseas-based players inclusive of former captain Kevin Molino of US Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew and Levi Garcia, who is coming off a very successful season with AEK Athens in which he won both the League and Cup double, both in the squad after they both missed out on the CONCACAF Nations League B qualifiers closing stage through injury.
Molino returned to competitive action for his club last weekend while Garcia has completed his Greek season and they should both find themselves in Eve’s final Gold Cup 25-man squad alongside Sheldon Bateau, Andre Rampersad, Leland Archer, Nicklas Frenderup, Aubrey David, Kareem Moses, Shannon Gomez, Ryan Telfer, Kaile Auvray, Tristan Hodge, Molik Khan, Jomal Williams, Daniel Phillips, Jelani Peters, and Canadian-born striker Malcolm Isaiah Shaw of Canadian Premier League struggler, Atlético Ottawa.
The other overseas players shortlisted by Eve, but who may find it difficult to break into the squad with strong competition for places coming from the locals include Andre Fortune II, Jesse Williams, Samory Powder, Anthony Herbert, Jelani Peters, Andre Raymond, Ajani Fortune, his brother Andre Fortune II, Matthew Woo Ling, Jesse Williams, Michael Kedman and the uncapped quintet of Rio Cardines, Micah Cain, Luke Singh, Kristian Lee-Him and Jaheim Wickham.
Most of the European-based players who have completed their seasons, except the uncapped quintet are expected to be excused by Eve for the Guatemala-encounter along with the North American-based players who will be in club action this weekend, leaving room for the locals to make one last impression against Guatemala, following which the team heads into a live-in camp on Monday (June 12) along with the locally-based contingent headed by the experienced duo of past and present captains, midfielder Joevin Jones of Police FC, and goalkeeper Marvin Phillip of AC Port-of-Spain along with a core of standout performers in the T&T Premier Football League (TTPFL) inclusive of Tiger Tanks Club Sando’s Nathaniel James, the tournament’s top scorer with 13 goals, his clubmate Alvin Jones, and AC Port-of-Spain quartet Michael Poon-Angeron, Duane Muckette, Jameel Neptune and John-Paul Rochford, all expected to be in the final roster.
The national coach is set to address the media at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella before the team departs for Pennsylvania on Friday.
The preliminary round one fixtures between Martinique and St Lucia and Curacao and St Kitts and Nevis will also take place on June 16 at the DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale from 7 pm and 9 pm, respectively.
A day later (June 17), at the same venue, the three remaining first-round preliminary matches will come off with French Guiana against Saint Maarten from 4.30 pm followed by Suriname versus Puerto Rico at 7 pm and two hours later, Guyana up against Grenada.
In the second round of the preliminaries, the winner of the Martinique/St Lucia match and the winner of the Suriname/Puerto Rico clash will square off for a place in Group C alongside the Central American trio of Costa Rica, Panama, and El Salvador while the third and final preliminary round pairings see Curacao and St Kitts and Nevis winner meeting French Guiana and Sint Maarten winner for a place in Group A where the USA, Jamaica, and Nicaragua await. Group B of the main draw will feature Mexico, Haiti, Honduras, Asian Champions, and guest nation, Qatar.
To assist Eve and his locally-based players in their preparations for the upcoming friendly against Guatemala, the scheduled TTPFL round 20 matches carded for today (Wednesday) have been pushed to Saturday (June 10) and Sunday (June 11).
The full Trinidad and Tobago provisional roster for the 2023 Gold Cup is as follows:
Nicklas Frenderup (Ranheim IL—Norway), Marvin Phillip (AC Port of Spain), Raheem Lee (Police FC), Jahiem Wickham (Toronto FC—Canada), Denzil Smith (W Connection);
Rio Cardines (Crystal Palace—England), Alvin Jones (Club Sando), Stephon Marcano (VC Fusion—USA), Isaiah Garcia (Point Fortin Civic), Jesse Williams (Des Moines Menance—USA), Jameel Neptune (AC Port of Spain), Josiah Trimmingham, Kareem Riley, Josiah Cooper (all Club Sando), Andre Raymond (Dumiense CJP—Portugal), Justin Garcia (Defence Force), Jelani Peters (Memphis 901—USA), Anthony Herbert (FC Haka—Finland), Luke Singh (Atletico Ottawa—Canada), Michael Kedman (Aalborg BK—Denmark), Ross Russell Jr (TLH Rangers), Triston Hodge (Hartford Athletic—USA), Shannon Gomez (San Antonio FC—USA), Kareem Moses (FF Jaro—Finland), Leland Archer (Charleston Battery—USA), Sheldon Bateau (SK Beveren—Belgium), Aubrey David (SD Aucas—Ecuador);
Justin Sadoo, Kaihim Thomas, Kevon Goddard (all Defence Force), Noah Powder (unattached), Luke Phillip (Club Sando), Duane Muckette (AC Port of Spain), Matthew Woo Ling (Miami United FC—USA), Kristian Lee-Him (IFK Eskilstuna—Sweden), Nathaniel Garcia (TLH Rangers), Molik Khan (Minnesota United 2—USA), Andre Rampersad (HFX Wanderers—Canada), Neveal Hackshaw (Oakland Roots SC—USA), Joevin Jones (Police FC);
Kaile Auvray (Sporting KC Academy—USA), Levi Garcia (AEK Athens FC—Greece), Jomal Williams (AD Isidro Metapan—El Salvador), John-Paul Rochford, Che Benny (both AC Port of Spain), Reon Moore (Defence Force), Ataulla Guerra, Kadeem Corbin (both TLH Rangers), Andre Fortune II (Nomme JK Kalju—Estonia), Ajani Fortune (Atlanta United—USA), Real Gill, Nicholas Dillon, Nathaniel James (all Club Sando), Micah Cain (TSV Meerbusch—Netherlands), Samory Powder (Hudson Valley Hammers—USA), Kevin Molino (Columbus Crew—USA), Malcolm Shaw (Atletico Ottawa—Canada).