HEAD coach of the Soca Warriors Angus Eve knows that any team the US put on the field will a formidable one, despite missing marquee players for the upcoming Concacaf Nations League quarter-final matches. T&T and US will meet on Thursday and November 20.
Eve spoke to the media about the matches before a Soca Warriors training session at Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar, Arima on Friday. The final T&T squad will be named on Sunday.
The first leg between US and T&T will be played in Austin, Texas on Thursday followed by the second leg on November 20 at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo. The winner over the two legs will advance to the Nations League semi-finals and seal a spot at the 2024 Copa America.
Many of the familiar faces were seen training with the Soca Warriors on Friday with the likes of Duane Muckette, Michel Poon-Angeron, Alvin Jones, Brent Sam, John-Paul Rochford, Real Gill, Malcolm Shaw and goalkeeper Denzil Smith going through their paces.
American midfielders Christian Pulisic and Tim Weah have hamstring injuries and will be unavailable.
Pulisic and Weah are among the most talented US players, but Eve said the Americans have depth and it will be a challenge to overcome them.
Asked if Pulisic and Weah will hamper the US performance in the matches, Eve said, "Nope, because they have adequate cover all around the team. They picked 23 players and only one of them playing in the MLS (Major League Soccer). That tells you the type of depth that they have right now and they have a lot of players who are playing in top European clubs if you look throughout the squad that they pick, so no, I don't think that will hurt them in any way."
Eve said his players are raring to play.
"We are always up for a challenge. Every game that we played so far has been a tremendous challenge for the group," Eve said.
Eve and his technical staff are trying to keep the Soca Warriors match fit as most of the T&T players have not been playing often in the last few months as the TT Premier League is in the off season.
"It is well documented that the majority of our players are not in season right now...it makes the task a little harder, but we are going out there to fight and represent our country in the best way that we can."
The US have been a powerhouse in Concacaf over the past 20 years, along with Mexico and Costa Rica.
Eve still has confidence in his players, saying, "Sport is on the day. We believe in ourselves, you hear (the enthusiasm in) the boys back there. We have been on a good run, so we want to continue that run. It is going to take a lot of hard work and it is going to take tactical awareness and tactical fitness to get through the game because most of our players are not match fit as their players are. We have to be very smart in the way we play the game and give ourselves a fighting chance when we come back home and hopefully the crowd will be behind us."
Asked about the players Soca Warriors fans can expect in the squad, Eve said, "We have to try to pick most of the players who would have just finished playing, so they will have a semblance of match fitness and some of the players who are actually still playing. The team will probably be comprised of those type of players."
SOURCE: T&T Newsday