Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior Women footballers secured their berth in the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic qualifiers as they clattered Guyana 5-1 in their closing group clash at the BBVA Compass Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Forward Kennya Cordner with a double and a goal each by Ahkeela Mollon and Mariah Shade plus an own goal powered T&T to their second win of the tournament, leaving them in second place with six points behind group winners Canada.
T&T achieved their biggest margin of victory in CONCACAF competition, also scoring four goals in the first half for the first time in qualifying history. And the reward? A date with reigning world champions the United States at the BBVA from 9:30pm TT time on Friday.
The odds will be against the Women Warriors from overcoming the hosts for a place at the Rio Olympics but skipper Maylee Attin-Johnson and her teammates will surely be thinking that the game could be there’s for the taking, particularly after their gutsy display in the 1-0 loss to the Americans in 2015 Cup qualifying.
On Tuesday night, T&T knew they had to start well and take to the game to the Guyanese who were coming off a 2-1 win over Guatemala and fancying their chances of an upset. T&T’s let them know from early that their semi-final hopes were about to be dashed. Guyana head coach Mark Rodriguez, who is contesting the post of CONCACAF President, was left with much to think about inside the opening 20 minutes of the match.
T&T could have gone ahead as early as the 40th second. Lively winger Ahkeela Mollon darted down the right flank and played one through for Kennya Cordner but her effort was blocked and Attin-John fired over bar on the second attempt.
Cordner would make up for the miss to put T&T 1-0 ahead in the 7th minute as she and Mollon once again combined and the forward would meet a through pass and round goalkeeper Chante Sandiford before slotting home.
Mariah Shade doubled T&T’s lead two minutes later when she sent a left footer into the top left corner of the net from just inside the penalty area following a ball from Mollon.
Guyana were in further trouble in the 15th minute when Alyson Heydorn turned a left side ball from Cunningham into her own net.
And it wasn’t too long before Mollon put the game out of Guyana’s reach with a simple finish in the 21st minute.
But T&T let their foot off the gas and Guyana pulled a goal back in the 43rd minute when goalkeeper Kimika Forbes’ poor clearance was picked up by Bria Williams and she nailed it home from way out. T&T had further chances to increase their first half tally but Cordner and Shade muffed their tries on goal.
Cordner would get her second item in the 61st when she cleaned up on an initial attempt by Mollon which Sandiford couldn’t hold onto.
T&T head coach Richard Hood was pleased with the win but felt T&T finished the game too lightly on their opponents.
“We have achieved the goal we set out to coming into this tournament which was getting into the semi finals. I think it is a tremendous achievement for us and it means a lot for us. And we hope the success of the team getting to the semi finals will cause some of kind of impetus towards the development of the women’s game in Trinidad and Tobago.
“We went into the match looking to start quickly and put them on the backfoot from early and we did just that. I was happy to see us four goals up so early in the game and I am happy for the victory,” Hood told TTFA Media.
“But we let them come back into the game and we had a lot of opportunities to increase our lead.”
On meeting the US on Friday, Hood added: “It will be an extremely difficult task. It will always be an honour to take the field against such a team. We will do the best that we can I think that is all that we can do at this time.”
Team captain Attin-Johnson echoed similar sentiments but hoped to see the team build on it’s flying start.
“We came out flying in the first twenty minutes and we did what we wanted to which was pressure them from the get go and we scored our goals. But I think the game became easy and we became in-disciplined and this is what separates us from the top teams in Concacaf. We need to improve on that. We have the Americans to play on Friday and we need to work on being disciplined as a team throughout the 90 minutes.
“Not scoring has been our achilles heel so it was good to get the goals early today. We are always a dynamic team with Kennya Cordner and Ahkeela Mollon going down those wings and it’s a good lift for us going into the America game,” Attin-Johnson added.
Hood’s team enjoyed 63 percent of the ball possession and outshot their opponents 11 to 5.
T&T will focus on recovery on Wednesday and will resume their preparations on Thursday ahead of the semi-final clash. Canada will take on Costa Rica in Friday’s other semi final. The Canadians trounced Guatemala 10-0 in Tuesday’s second outing.
Trinidad & Tobago 5 v Guyana 1
Cordner 7 Williams 44
Heydorn 17 (OG)
Canada 10 v Guatemala 0
Trinidad and Tobago: 1.Kimika Forbes; 5.Arin King, 6.Khadidra Debesette, 14.Karyn Forbes, 2.Jenelle Cunningham; 9.Maylee Attin-Johnson (capt), 11.Janine Francois (15.Liana Hinds 65th); 12.Ahkeela Mollon, 10.Tasha St Louis (8.Victoria Swift, 72nd), 19.Kennya Cordner; 3.Mariah Shade (16.Jo-Marie Lewis 64th)
Unused substitutes: 18.Shalette Alexander (GK), 20.Saundra Baron (GK), 4.Danielle Blair, 7.Kayla Taylor, 13.Naomi Guerra, 17.Anastasia Prescott.
Head Coach: Richard Hood.
Guyana: 1.Chante Sandiford; 2.Alison Heydorn, 6.Leah Ramalho, 20.Bria Williams, 13.Kailey Leila (10.Calaigh Copland 71st), 7.Justine Rodrigues, 9.Ashley Rodrigues (capt), 3.Briana De Souza, 8.Ashlee Savona (15.Mariam El-Masri 27th), 14.Dana Bally (4.Kayla De Souza 77th), 12.Otesha Charles.
Coach: Mark Rodrigues.
Referee: Gillian Martindale (Barbados).
P W D L F A Pts
* Canada 3 3 0 0 21 0 9
* Trinidad and Tobago 3 2 0 1 7 8 6
Guyana 3 1 0 2 3 11 3
Guatemala 3 0 0 3 2 14 0
Shots on Goal – T&T (11) Guyana (5)
Shots off target – T&T(5) Guyana (2)
Corners – T&T (8) Guyana (0)
Offsides – T&T (2) Guyana (5)
Completed passes – T&T (278) Guyana (106)
Incomplete passes – T&T (63) Guyana (55)
Passing Accuracy – T&T (82 %) Guyana (66%)
Saves – T&T (7) Guyana (4)
Possession – T&T (63%) Guyana (37%)