Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago combined for three goals in a eight-minute span midway through the second half en route to a 2-2 draw at Hasely Crawford Stadium Wednesday night on the final night of CONCACAF qualification for the 2010 World Cup.
Mexico, which saw its five-match winning streak snapped, finished second in the CONCACAF “hexagonal”, one point behind the United States. Honduras defeated El Salvador 1-0 in San Salvador and, coupled with USA’s stunning 2-2 draw against Costa Rica, earned the confederation’s third automatic berth to the World Cup.
Trinidad & Tobago, which received two goals from Kerry Baptiste, finished last in the six-team group with six points from 10 matches.
Playing for nothing but pride, the Soca Warriors pressured El Tri from the opening kick. Dennis Lawrence’s point blank header was pushed away by Guillermo Ochoa, who also was caught off his line moments later before a Trinidad defender cleared the ball off the line.
Baptiste was then played behind the Mexican defense, but he fired well of the target from 16 meters. Baptiste stepped to the spot in the 32nd minute after Gerardo Torrado was adjusted to handle a deep cross.
The Joe Public midfielder fired a low shot that just evaded Ochoa, who guessed correctly and Trinidad & Tobago had a 1-0 halftime lead.
Enrique Esqueda equalized in the 58th minute, ripping the ball over goalkeeper Marvin Phillip’s right shoulder from the right side of the box.
But the Soca Warriors quickly regained the lead when Baptiste latched onto Hector Hughtun’s ball into the box and headed past Ochoa from the edge of the six-yard box in the 61st minute.
Trinidad’s lead lasted all of five minutes, though, as Carlos Salcido got in behind the defense and headed the equalizer into the net.
The Soca Warriors nearly claimed all three points moments later, but Robert Primus’ header caromed off the crossbar.
With the United States losing 2-0 to Costa Rica at halftime in Washington, it seemed Mexico would finish atop the group with a draw, but the Americans rallied late and on Jonathan Bornstein’s goal 4½ minutes into second-half stoppage time to stay one point ahead of El Tri.
FULL TIME, 2-2
T&T 2 (Kerry Baptiste 32-Pen, 60) v Mexico 2 (Enrique Esqueda 55th, Carlos Salcido 67th)
MEX: - 1.Guillermo Ochoa; 15.José Castro, 4.Héctor Moreno, 2.Jose Magallón, 3.Carlos Salcido; 6.Gerardo Torrado (capt), 8.Israel Castro, 18.Andrés Guardado (7.Pablo Barrera 46th), 11.Carlos Vela; 17.Juan Palencia (10.Cuauhtémoc Blanco 54th), 14.Miguel Sabah (9.Enrique Esqueda 54th).
Subs - 12.José Corona (GK); 5.Ricardo Osorio, 13.Óscar Rojas, 16.Efraín Juárez.
T&T: - 1.Marvin Phillip; 5.Robert Primus, 16.Kern Cupid, 6.Dennis Lawrence, 4.Jake Thomson; 8.Trent Noel (16.Densill Theobald 78th), 11.Carlos Edwards (capt), 2.Clyde Leon, 10.Hayden Tinto (9.Hughtun Hector 56th); 14.Kerry Baptiste, 15.Devon Jorsling (17.Kenwyne Jones 76th).
Subs: 18.Jan-Michael Williams (GK), 13.Juma Clarence, 3.Keston Williams, Leston Paul, 12.Shahdon Winchester.
T&T vs Mexico Player Rating and Views.
By: Inshan "Flex" Mohammed.
Marvin Phillip - 8 - Again, Phillip was excellent between the uprights. Less hesitant with the cross balls than he did against Costa Rica. His shot blocking skills are superb which made up for his weakness on cross ball situations.
Robert Primus - 7 - For any current player to replace Primus on this T&T team they will have to come good. Primus made an impressive debut, still raw, but definitely has the right ingredients to be a starter in central defense. Oh yea', he is capable of scoring many goals too and proved this late in the second half when his header was denied by the woodwork. His work-rate is also a plus and his pace is relieving for a change as we have been unfortunately blessed with to many slow defenders in the past with limited technical ability.
Kern Cupid - 6 - Closed down his maker quickly, made some good runs forward. Very high work rate and I love his commitment. Yes, there is work do be done especially in his defensive duties, but Cupid held his own.
Dennis Lawrence - 7 - Thank you Dennis for your service to Trinidad and Tobago football. You were a true servant to T&T football for many years and your goal that got us to Germany was priceless. It will never be forgotten like the performance you gave us against Mexico on your last international match. Solid in defense, marshaled his defense and even contributed in attack at times.
Jake Thomson - 6.5 - Had a "little" better performance against Costa Rica, but the dude just impresses me with his technical eye for passing the ball and finding space for a return. Played with confidence, wasn't afraid to beat his marker and made himself available, gave a gusty performance. Definitely one for the future, I could see another Carlos Edwards in Jake. Though he gets beat for pace at times and he is not that strong defensively, but in his defense- he has probably never played a right wing back role until he came to play for T&T senior team. Lets not forget he is only 20.
Trent Noel - 5 - A usual game, kept things tidy in midfield and a much better display by Trent this time. However, at 33 Trent may need to focus on his club career as I can't see him fitting in much on the T&T team for the future.
Densill Theobald - NR - Boy was I impressed, seems if we can get Densill to play like he did against Mexico on a consistent basis we may well have solved half our midfield problems. Sprayed his passes intelligently.
Carlos Edwards - 9.5 - One of the best games I have seen Carlos play in a long time. If he had found the net I would have given him a flat 10. Made me eat my words when I said in my last analysis he should not have been made captain as we need him to focus on playing his game. He showed me now that he is capable of carrying the torch for T&T and leading us in 2014. Felt sorry for him after beating four Mexicans on the left and then tried to blast a shot only to have hit wind, thankfully the player was not injured in the process. If Edwards had connected that ball he probably would have torn the net. Bullet !
Clyde Leon - 5.5 - Gritty performance by Leon and played much better than he did against Costa Rica. He was really breaking down the Mexican attack and it was frustrating them. Again, consistency is the key.
Hayden Tinto - 5.5 - Still passing the ball when under pressure but not as much as he previously did and had a much more improved game. Not able to play for a full ninety minutes it seems as he fell in and out of the game though and must learn how to us his ability more effectively. His style of play when up to it was a nice sight.
Hughtun Hector - NR - A master move by Russell Latapy. Bringing on Hector for Tinto could not have been more perfect as Hector was an instant hit. Made a few mistakes though and never bothered tracking back when he lost the ball twice- fortunately for him Thomson and Leon were there to clean up on both occasions. However, going forward he made the difference. His cross which led to an assist was top class.
Kerry Baptiste - 9 -Worked his socks off and like the legend "14" Stern John, Baptiste (wearing the #14 as well) missed many great opportunities to kill off the Mexicans by missing the target completely on many occasions. Then in the end he showed up and did what Stern John would have done, scored goals but left the fans wanting more. He represented the number 14 shirt very well. Baptiste's energy was excellent and had the Mexican defense dizzy. They could not have contained him. He also played a very good one two and followed up by making himself available.
Devon Jorsling - 5 - Should have came off at the half, did interchange with Baptiste well a few times and helped tussle the Mexicans upfront because of his physical presence. Josrling just needs to be more potent when given the opportunity because strikers of his style gets overlooked quickly. There is a dime a dozen. He has the power and size to score great goals from great distances, hopefully he'll master it someday.
Kenwyne Jones - NR - I really wanted Kenwyne to score for T&T. He is the future and I wish him all the best. Came on and didn't do to much but he was only on the field for a short time and one cannot judge him on that. Kenwyne needs to be more like Glen to be effective. Good on the beat, not afraid to shoot and make more effective passes.
Coach Russell Latapy - 9 - I was shocked with Latapy's selection when I first saw the T&T line-up. Most notable EPL striker Kenwyne Jones on the bench. I was thinking to myself, its going to be a long day, should I waste my time watching this game.. hhhmmmmm..
Well, fortunately for me, I am thankful I did because if I didn't I would have missed out on a treat. The team played some excellent football and if they had played like this from the beginning of our campaign we "probably" would have qualified for South Africa ? However, one can only hope Mexico gave us their all and we didn't fall into a mental trap thinking we are already starting to transformed into a top team. Bear in mind Mexico has already clinched a place at the 2010 World Cup.
The T&T players closed down their opponents quickly, they unsettled them and hardly give them the chance to play their game. T&T played a simple and effective brand of football, they kept things tight and most importantly the players played with heart. Finally, they kept the ball on the ground, utilized wing play and the defense was not making clueless passes or just kicking the ball out to no in particular.
The players kept mentally focus for the full game which had been lacking. I can only hope this is the beginning of better things to come, as consistency will play a key part in Latapy's success. Remember, what is great today can still be improved tomorrow.
Latapy showed me that he can coach, or, is quickly learning the game. He made the right choices with his selection (98%), got the players to perform to their best ability, played a good formation, brought back some creativity to T&T, showed the local players that they have a right to be on the team and lastly his substitutes were on point.
I did have a problem with his preparations’ but I guess it's probably more to it than the regular supporter can see. My advice to Latapy, we have many players to see and leave no stones unturned, don't wait for last minute to prepare your team, get a settled group and build a solid core with the intentions of "conquering" CONCACAF. Be consistent and honest and don’t back away from challenges because you lack knowledge. You can always acquire knowledge.
Best of luck
Good luck to Latapy you have my vote as T&T head coach. Hopefully you will get the required tools to do your job and not get the wrong end of the stick because of someone lurking to take your job or some political agenda that will interfere with your ideas that could limit you. Finally, don't be afraid to take a good advice and make it better.
Warriors close with a draw.
By: Shaun Fuentes (TTFF).
The die hard fans of the “Soca Warriors” witnessed a gritty showing from their team as Trinidad and Tobago kept pace for 90 minutes to hold Mexico 2-2 in the final 2010 World Cup Qualifying encounter at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Wednesday night.
No more than 4,000 fans showed up at the venue but those who did were treated to a fine exhibition of football as the Russell Latapy team turned up the tempo and then Mexico brought themselves back with an intense second half display.
Mexico came into the match already assured of a South Africa spot but eager to finish top of the group and were only without regular stars Rafael Marquez (suspended) Giovani Dos Santos and Guillermo Franco.
T&T started better and could have found themselves at least 2-0 ahead in the first half had there been better finishing from Joe Public striker Kerry Baptiste who later made up with a penalty strike and second half finish.
On ten minutes Hayden Tinto swung one over from the right but Baptiste had his effort stopped by goalie Guillermo Ochoa.
Soon after Baptiste again collected inside the box and appeared to be well through before scoffing his effort, seeing it saved by Johnny Magallon.
Before 18 minutes, it was Baptiste again left holding his head in dismay when he shot wide.
T&T, starting with Baptiste and Devon Jorsling up front and Sunderland striker Kenwyne Jones on the bench, capitalized on a penalty call against Gerrardo Torrado for handle ball and Baptiste comfortably converted to put T&T ahead 1-0, a lead they would maintain until the break but not before some anxious moments at the bar.
Goalkeeper Marvin Phillip was at his best to deny Carlos Villa and Andres Guardado.
Mexico came back out in search of the equalizer and duly got it when Enrique Esqueda leveled the scores on 56 minutes when he sent a perfectly directed effort over Phillip.
Soon after Mexico pressed again and went close but Esqueda failed to convert.
T&T, realizing that Mexico had now shifted gear, needed to get back ahead and did so in the 61st minute when substitute Hughtun Hector whipped one in from the right for Baptiste to power a header home to the delight of the home fans. Game on.
But the Mexicans, with veteran number 10 Blanco now on the pitch, battled back and leveled up when Carlos Salcido headed home from a Pablo Barrera cross.
T&T went close again when debutant defender Robert Primus saw his header rebound off the post following a Carlos Edwards left side delivery.
Edwards, a T&T work machine and captain on the night , almost snatched a late winner when he hit wide in the final minute.
Overall a deserved scoreline for the affair but definitely one which would have left the fans with something to feel good about and bit of weight off Latapy and his men.
The T&T defence was marshaled by Dennis Lawrence with Kern Cupid, Primus and Jake Thomson turning in decent efforts on the night.
Lawrence, later announced his retirement from international football, thanking his teammates and staff members in the dressing room for a memorable journey wearing in the red, white and black.
Mexico coach Javier Aguirre, speaking afterwards, said he was pleased with finishing the match with a draw but disappointed on missing out on topping the group.
“It was a good result and a good performance by both teams. I want to thank the Mexican people for the support and this success is for them. The game was a difficult one and we came here hoping to win but yes we leave a little disappointed that we didn’t win the group.
But I was happy with how we came back to draw the game and I would say well done to Trinidad. They played a good game against us,” Aguirre said.
T&T’s Latapy paid compliments to his troops.
“The match itself was well played by both teams and I guess it‘s a good enough way to finish the campaign. We played 90 minutes of football which is the most important thing at this level.
I want to say congrats to our players for the efforts tonight and hopefully we can all learn from this campaign and look ahead to the future with a fair amount of hope and optimism.
Nothing on football comes easily and we have learned that in this campaign, the players and those involved in the campaign. I would like to congratulate the teams that have qualified from our region for South Africa and wish them all the best. Our hope and desire must be to be one of those teams in 2014,” Latapy said.
The result pushed T&T to six points as they remained in sixth spot behind El Salvador which lost 1-0 to Honduras on Wednesday night. The Hondurans qualified for South Africa by way of a 64th minute winner by Carlos Pavon who made up for his last minute penalty miss versus USA on Saturday.
They join Mexico and the Americans as the automatic qualifiers with Costa Rica now having to wait on the playoffs.