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04
Mon, Jul

One last chance still for Soca Princesses.
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The Soca Princesses have just one last chance to book their spot in next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup after they were beaten 4-2 by Mexico in yesterday’s third/fourth match of the Concacaf Women’s Championship at the PPL Park, Chester, Pennsylvania.

Mexico, who rested their five best players for their semifinal vs USA, had a huge scare after Trinidad and Tobago rallied from a goal down in the 24th minute to snatch the lead in the second half.

A diving Kennya Cordner headed in the equaliser in the 57th minute from a right-sided cross by Ahkeela Mollon and 21 minutes later, the speedy Cordner turned provider.

The forward chased a pass down the left hand channel in what seemed like a lost cause but hooked it back into the danger area where a bustling Mariah Shade stabbed in the ball to stun the Central Americans.

Just one minute later, though, it was the Trinbagonians turn to be stunned, the Mexicans answering back immediately with Monica Ocampo heading her team level after a good run and cross from Sandra Mayor.

With no changes to the score after the end of the 90 minutes, Mexico were always going to be the favourites in extra time and their fresher legs definitely showed. A double from the dangerous Veronica Corral in the space of three minutes (104th and 106th) took the sting out of a spirited TT who finished the tournament in fourth spot.

The Soca Princesses will now have to qualify for the World Cup as their male counterparts did in 2005 with a home and away play-off against Ecuador. The first leg is in South American on November 8 with the return leg scheduled for December 2.

In 2005, the Soca Warriors created history by beating Bahrain 2-1 on aggregate to advance to the 2006 Germany World Cup for the very first time.

The TT women must now follow a similar path with the hope of repeating that feat.

Speaking with Newsday yesterday, Brent Sancho, a member of the Soca Warriors team that played in the World Cup, showered the national women with adulation and believes they can still achieve their ultimate dream.

“Seems like it is destiny,” Sancho said, when told that the team must qualify like they did through a play-off.

“I’m extremely proud in the girls’ performance for the entire tournament. They’ve shown a lot of resolve and a certain appetite and attitude to win and to be successful. You have to give them credit, they’ve been tremendous through the entire tournament despite all the adversity we have faced before and even during the tournament with injuries and suspensions etcetera. To go down twice in extra time against two of the strongest teams in women’s football in Concacaf, I’m really proud of their performance. It’s without doubt something they can hold their heads high.”

Asked whether the Mexican coach’s decision to basically concede their semifinal vs USA in anticipation of the third place match gave TT’s opponents the slight edge in extra time, Sancho agreed.

“It always would...Trinidad could not afford that luxury. Playing against Costa Rica we were three penalty kicks from qualifying for the World Cup so we have to start with our strongest team right through. It has been a gruelling tournament for these girls every single game. They’ve played with a lot of heart throughout,” he said.

National coach Randy Waldrum, on the eve of yesterday’s encounter, had warned his team against starting slowly vs Mexico and they certainly heeded his advice.

In the 4th minute, Cordner showed good anticipation to rob a Mexican defender of the ball on the edge of the Central Americans’ penalty area but was quickly closed down as she surged forward.

Cordner was looking active and intercepted another poor pass from Mexico but her switch to Mollon was deflected and the play broke down.

Mexico weathered the early TT storm and began to find their rhythm with their quick short-passing game.

They took the lead in the 24th when a cross off a throw-in was fizzed low into the box where Sandra Mayor took one touch before curling the ball into the back of the net. Corral was proving a handful and defender Brianna Ryce, drafted in for the suspended Rhea Belgrave, was yellow carded after taking a hand full of Corral’s jersey to stop a counterattack as the half ended 1-0.

The Soca Princesses, desperate for a way back into the match, began pushing bodies forward in search of an equaliser and defender Arin King almost got on the end of a loose ball in the area from a free-kick in the 51st.

Six minutes later though, a diagonal pass from the left by King dropped to Mollon on the right who wasted no time in crossing to the last post where a diving Cordner butted the ball into the back of the net.

The goal jolted Mexico into action and Veronica Perez (58th) and Ocampo (60th) had shots on goal repelled by the TT goalkeeper and defence respectively. The resulting corner kick though caused an almighty melee in the TT box after an error by goalkeeper Kimika Forbes with the crossbar, King and Lauren Hutchinson combining to somehow stop Mexico from scoring.

The TT defence was under tremendous pressure and it was a relief when a pass down the left was chased down by Cordner who hooked the ball into the Mexico penalty area where Shade was on-hand to knock it into the back of the net.

Perhaps still celebrating, the TT defenders were caught napping as Mayor dribbled past King down the right and sent a delightful ball to the back post which found the head of Ocampo who left Forbes no chance with a powerful strike.

Pushing for the winner, Mexico found an inspired Forbes who kept them at bay at the end of the second half.

With 30 minutes still to go, however, the TT women had little to offer as Corral finally broke free. A misjudgement by Ryce saw her miss her headed clearance from a right-sided cross and Corall chested the ball down in the box before poking it past an onrushing Forbes in the 104th.

Two minutes later, Corral sealed the victory after she was played through on goal, angling her right-footer past Forbes and to the far post.

Princesses slip in extra time.
T&T Guardian Reports.


T&T’s senior footballers lost their second of three opportunities to book their first ever spot at the Fifa Women’s World Cup, yesterday, after conceding two goals in extra time in a 4-2 loss to Mexico in the Concacaf Women’s Championship third place playoff, in Pennsylvania.

The disappointing loss, after another gruelling 120 minutes of football, followed only two days after Costa Rica defeated the Soca Princesses on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw at full time at the semifinal stage.

The loss, again, was not the last chance for the team as it now remains with a third and final chance of qualifying for the World Cup via an intercontinental two-match playoff against Ecuador.

The South Americans will host the first leg on November 8, three weeks before T&T hosts the second on December 2.

Yesterday’s loss was perhaps more disappointing as the T&T players conceded a sloppy goal immediately after taking the lead late in the second half.

And, even though T&T started with much more purpose than it did against Costa Rica on Friday, efforts on goal were hard to come by. In fact, Mexico registered 19 shots, while T&T made only three attempts, two of which resulted in goals.

The Las Tri enjoyed a 1-0 lead at half-time after Sandra Mayor scored in the 24th minute, which clearly spurred T&T onto a much more positive second half performance.

But it took another 10 minutes to get the ball rolling for T&T in a desperate attempt to overturn the deficit. But coach Randy Waldrum’s team did just that in the 57th minute when Kennya Cordner scored her third goal of the tournament to level the scores.

Cordner met a beautiful cross from Ahkeela Mollon on the head and threw her frame forward to make it 1-1, a move very similar to Cordner’s two previous goals.

Buoyed and confident, T&T continued to enjoy more forward movement despite the hindrances of fatigue and capitalised once again to take a shock lead from Shade. Cordner with a strong run on the left side of the penalty box crossed in for Brianna Ryce who chested down in the path of an onrushing Mariah Shade to finish.

A celebratory frenzy ensued, but T&T switched off. Immediately after scoring, T&T conceded from the thorn in its side, Monica Ocampo, 30 seconds later, and returned on the back foot.

While not as damaging, the subsequent extra time periods bore similarities to the 7-3 loss T&T’s Under-20 women’s team suffered against Costa Rica in the Concacaf Championship in January after that third-place playoff ended 3-3 after regulation time.

This time, Mexico scored another two goals to ensure its second straight spot at the Women’s World Cup. Waldrum and his charges are expected to head back into camp almost immediately upon their return in order to regroup ahead of the playoffs, starting in under two weeks’ time.

Results

Mexico  4  v  T&T  2
Mayor 24    Cordner 57
Ocampo 79  Shade 78
Corral 104
Corral 106

United States  6  v  Costa Rica  0
Wambach 4
Lloyd 18
Wambach 35
Wambach 41
Leroux 73
Wambach 71

Teams

Trinidad & Tobago: - 1.Kimika Forbes (Yellow 88), 15.Liana Hinds (Yellow 71), 16.Brianna Ryce (Yellow 36), 5.Arin King, 20.Lauryn Hutchinson (8.Patrice Superville 93rd), 14.Karyn Forbes, 9.Maylee Attin-Johnson (capt), 6.Khadidra Debessette (10.Tasha St Louis 106th), 12.Ahkeela Mollon, 19.Kennya Cordner, 3.Mariah Shade.

Unused Substitutes: - 21.Tenesha Palmer (GK), 2.Ayanna Russell, 7.Dernelle Mascall, 11.Janine Francois, 13.Anique Walker, 18.Khadisha Debessette.

Coach: - Randy Waldrum.

Mexico: - 12.Pamela Tojonor, 13.Kenti Robles, 4.Alina Garciamendez, 15.Christina Murillo, 3.Bianca Sierra; 10.Sandra Mayor, 17.Verónica Pérez (Yellow 89) (18.Dinora Garza 114th), 8.Teresa Noyola (7.Lydia Rangel 48th), 16.Karla Nieto, 11.Monica Ocampo (19.Tanya Samarzich 106th), 9.Veronica Corral (capt) (Yellow 38).

Unused Substitutes: - 1.Cecilia Santiago (GK), 2.Ariana Romero, 5.Paulina Solis, 6.Liliana Mercado, 14.Monica Alvarado, 20.Luz Duarte.

Coach: - Leonardo Cuellar.

Referee: - Chenard.

Final Standings

USA - Champions
Costa Rica - Runners-up
Mexico - Third Place
Trinidad & Tobago - Forth Place

VIDEOS:

Trinidad and Tobago vs México Highlights

CWC Flash Zone: Trinidad & Tobago vs. Mexico

Upcoming Games (Play-Off Spot)

Nov 8

Ecuador v Trinidad & Tobago, Nov 8, Ecuador

Dec 2

Trinidad and Tobago v Ecuador, Trinidad.