Speedy Tobago striker Kennya “Ya Ya” Cordner netted a hat-trick as a well-supported Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National team scored a comprehensive 5-0 victory on Sunday night over a very young Venezuelan team, containing seven players from their Under-17 women’s national team, which finished fourth at the 2014 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica.
And the senior Soca Princesses will look to sweep the two-match series tonight with another victory over the “Violas”, when the teams meet a second time from 6.30(p.m.) at Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva. The match is the second of a double-header which sees the national women’s Under-15 team meeting Defence Force two hours earlier.
Apart from 21-year-old goalie Maleika Pacheco and 20 year-old defender Soleidys Rengal, the Venezuelans were a young bunch, containing 15 year-old emerging star Deyna Castellano and her strike partner Gabriella Garcia, who both shared the golden boot with six goals apiece at the junior World Cup earlier this year.
The young Venezuelans began their four-match tour with a 7-0 win over a Women League Football WOLF) All-Star X1 on Friday night, but were no match for the senior T&T women, who dominated midfield through veteran playmaker Tasha St Louis. Local coach Jason Spence (St Ann’s Rangers) was temporarily in charge of the “Soca Princesses”, and chose a mixed squad containing experienced senior internationals St Louis, Maylee Attin-Johnson, Reya Belgrave, Afiyah Mathias, Ayanna Russell and Canada-based defender Arin King, as well as seven national Under-20 footballers.
Cordner opened the scoring in the 11th minute of the first half when she cut inside on the left and beat Venezuelan keeper Maleika Alvarez. National Under-20 right- winger Shennel Henry then set up second half goals for striker Joe Marie Lewis and Cordner, while playmaker St Louis converted a penalty after Cordner was axed in the penalty area by 15 year-old defender Nicol Alarcon. Cordner left the best for last, when she cut inside from the flank and sent the ball over substitute goalkeeper Migdiel Gutierrez.
Cordner’s pace proved a nightmare for the Violas. But she was wasteful.
Three times in the first half alone, Cordner went past the defenders without scoring. First, the ball rebounded off her heel after she rounded starting goalie Pacheco. A heavy push to goal also allowed the keeper to block another shot; before finally, fleet-footed Cordner turned St Louis’ “gorgeous” through ball wide on the stroke of halftime.
Twice, early in the second half, Henry played square passes for strikers Jo Marie Lewis and Cordner to net as the score swelled to 3-0. Young star Castellano had a rare shot on goal for Venezuela in the 62nd minute, but T&T Under-20 custodian Tenesha Palmer, a substitute for Kerry Myers, had it well covered with a low dive.
Immediately, Cordner launched upfield, where her speed was too much for 15-year-old defender Alarcon, who cut her down for a penalty, which St Louis converted. Cordner added the final goal, although T&T missed a few more in between.