Arin King and Ahkeela Mollon provided the high points in an otherwise flat performance as Trinidad and Tobago’s Soca Princesses defeated Barbados 5-0 in a Group F CONCACAF Gold Cup Caribbean Zone qualifier on Wednesday night at Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya.
Canada-born King, a central defender in T&T’s opening 6-1 defeat of St Lucia on Monday, looked a natural when shifted to the forward line against Barbados and rewarded coach Jamaal Shabazz by netting a hat-trick (5th, 11th and 48th minutes).
And, once again, wide right midfielder Mollon was the centre of Trinidad and Tobago’s play, her pace and skill too much for opponents as she set up goals for both King and left-sided midfielder Kennya ’Ya Ya’ Cordner (90th).
Barbados contributed generously to the outcome by scoring a 71st minute own goal, while they also missed a 65th minute penalty through Ailsa Walcott.
Victory put the Soca Princesses on six points, equal to Guyana, the other unbeaten Group F team.
Made up mainly of Canada and USA-born players of Guyanese heritage, Guyana have been the tournament’s surprise, beating St Lucia 8-0 on Wednesday, to add to their opening night 3-0 defeat of Barbados.
Tonight, Guyana clash with Trinidad and Tobago from 7 p.m. to decide the group winners, who will automatically qualify for the 2010 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup, to be held in Mexico in late October.
With a plus-11 goal difference, Guyana need only a draw to win Group F, while T&T (plus-ten) need to win outright. Already, some Guyanese have been boasting they will beat the Soca Princesses.
T&T coach Jamaal Shabazz, a former Guyana men’s national coach, is respectful of his opponents, but expects the senior Soca Princesses will improve with each game, having not played together as a team since the 2006 Women’s Gold Cup in Miami.
’The Guyana team is made up of 98 per cent North American-based players and they played a typical North American style, which was organised and aggressive football, and I was quite impressed with their performance. I see them as a formidable opponent for us on Friday,’ said Shabazz.
While the Guyanese may have reached their peak, the Soca Princesses definitely under achieved against Barbados. However, King took her opportunity with both hands.
King was a member of the largely foreign-born contingent which represented Trinidad and Tobago three years ago and is the only one to have stayed with the national programme to senior level.
King took just five minutes to grab her first goal at that level when capitalising on a defensive error and burying a low shot from just inside the penalty box.
Having quickly become the crowd’s darling, King got another in the 19th minute, drilling home a square pass from provider Mollon to make it 2-0, and also turned wide another Mollon pass soon after. She would get her hat-trick in the second half.
But before then, the bottom seemed to have fallen out of Trinidad and Tobago’s play, which became laboured at times, and the Soca Princesses failed to command midfield, even against inferior opponents.
Mollon stopped playing, Cordner never found her stride and, in two matches, injury-prone traditional play-maker Maylee Attin-Johnson has looked a shadow of her former self.
Case in point, when put clear by Mollon, Attin-Johnson failed to clear a path past Barbados keeper Kamillah Burke. Shabazz unsuccessfully used Attin-Johnson up front, until taking her off injured at the half.
Early in the second half, King got her third goal. No one seemed to want the ball after King’s neat chip into the penalty area, so she chased down the rebound herself and scored in the 48th.
Cordner later hit the far upright and soon after kicked a low shot straight at the Barbados keeper when sent clear.
It took under-used T&T keeper Kamika Forbes to finally give Barbados the chance of a goal when she unwisely took down 35-year-old Alisa Walcott, but Tiana Hackett hit the spot kick over the crossbar.
The Bajans then further injured themselves, scoring an own-goal under pressure, before Cordner found the roof of the net in the 90th, after chesting down Mollon’s swinging cross into the box.
Impressive as the final score looked, the Soca Princesses will have to do better tonight against Guyana, their toughest opponents yet.
Caribbean Zone CONCACAF women’s Gold Cup qualifying standings
P W D L F A Pts
GUYANA 2 2 0 0 11 0 6
T&T 2 2 0 0 11 1 6
BARBADOS 2 0 0 2 0 8 8
ST LUCIA 2 0 0 2 1 14 0
TT and Guyana women win big in Cup qualifiers.
By Joel Bailey (T&T Newsday).
Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana each registered comfortable victories on Wednesday night, at the Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya, in a Group “F” double-header as the CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup Caribbean Qualifying Second Round phase continued.
Trinidad and Tobago got a hat-trick from make-shift striker Arin King as they spanked Barbados 5-0 while Guyana recorded the tournament’s largest margin of victory, an 8-0 hammering of St Lucia, in the earlier game on Wednesday.
King, who played in her regular position as centre-back in Monday’s 6-1 victory against St Lucia, was one of the few changes to the Trinidad and Tobago formation, partnering captain Maylee Attin-Johnson in attack as striker Candace Edwards, left-back Danielle Blair and goalkeeper Keri Myers were dropped.
And the Canadian-born King opened the scoring in the fifth minute, capitalising on sloppy defending to drill her left-footer against the left-post and over the goal-line. She doubled her tally in the 11th, banging home her right-footed shot after the Barbados defence meekly cleared a ball from the right by Ahkeela Mollon.
Attin-Johnson was clearly troubled by a bothersome right knee while midfielder Janine Francois had to be taken off before the half due to illness, but her replacement Avanell Isaac (battling a toe injury) added greater impetus to the attack.
In fact, after the match went to a lull, Isaac did well to send a goal-bound pass to Attin-Johnson, but the striker’s first touch was bad and goalkeeper Kamillah Burke averted any danger.
Two minutes later (42nd), Attin-Johnson’s misfortune was compounded when she injured her left knee, following a collision with Burke, and she was replaced at the half by Mariah Shade.
Three minutes into the second half, Shade, the national youth team captain, made a mess of Kennya Cordner’s wonderful lay-off from Mollon’s diagonal ball, but King was on hand to hit her shot past Burke to complete her hat-trick.
Isaac did well to spot an unmarked Cordner on the left, but the winger saw her left-footed shot crash off the post, while King failed to pounce on the rebound.
Referee Cardella Samuels gave Barbados a lifeline in the 66th minute, with a debatable penalty, after goalie Kimika Forbes challenged Ailsa Walcott for a ball at the edge of the box.
But forward Tianna Hackett hammered her spot-kick overbar, and that ended any faint hope Barbados had of reducing the deficit.
In the 71st, Cordner got a neat pass from King but her shot was cleared off the line by Tonia Jordan. Seconds later, King swung a corner from the left which deflected off Soraya Toppin-Herbert and trickled into the back of the net.
And Cordner, who was later taken to hospital for a back ailment, finished off the scoring in stoppage time, with a right-footed blast to the roof of the net after a good move involving Rhea Belgrave, Shade and Mollon.
In the Guyana-St Lucia encounter, Alison Heydorn notched a hat-trick (15th, 59th and 64th), while captain Ashley Rodrigues added a pair (11th and 54th). Mariam El-Masri (10th), Daria Owen (47th) and Justine Rodriques (63rd) chipped in with one apiece for Guyana, who moved atop the group by virtue of a better goal-difference to Trinidad and Tobago.
Action in Group “F” ends today, at Macoya, with Barbados meeting St Lucia at 4 pm and, two hours, the top-of-the-table duel between Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana.
ST LUCIA: Cantel John; Vincentia Reid, Ellaisa Morquis, Jamilla Henry, Shirmain Hyacinth (capt), Fayella Joseph (Megesh Savery 60th); Jovette Wilson, Diane Jean (Elizabeth Joseph 30th), Verdan Frederick; Kwanzaa Prescod (Zanique Celestin 70th), Joanne Alphonse.
GUYANA: Tenyka Francique; Briana De Souza, Daria Owen, Collette Hope, Nikkita Persaud; Jordanna Phillips, Justine Rodriques (Donna Carvalhal 67th), Alison Heydorn, Ashley Rodrigues (capt), Ashlee Savona (Catherine Kobelka 59th); Mariam El-Masri (Olivia Gonsalves 25th).
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: Kimika Forbes; Ayana Russell, Anastacia Prescott (Candace Edwards 71st), Afiyah Matthias, Rhea Belgrave; Nadia James, Kennya Cordner, Ahkeela Mollon, Janine Francois (Avanell Isaac 37th); Arin King, Maylee Attin-Johnson (capt) (Mariah Shade 46th).
BARBADOS: Kamillah Burke (capt); Tonia Jordan, Shonna Evelyn, Shannon Gibson, Kerry Bascombe (Melissa Rocheford 63rd); Soraya Toppin-Herbert, Shanice Stevenson, Kerry Trotman (Alisa Walcot 55th), Shawntelle Clarke (Gabriella Lopez 42nd); Cosette Brathwaite, Tianna Hackett.
Princesses chase top CFU spot minus captain.
By: Shari John (T&T Guardian).
Guyana will be playing for pride against T&T in the final match in group ‘F’ of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) women’s second round qualifying tournament at the Marvin Lee Stadium (MLS), Macoya, tonight from 7 pm. “It will be national pride at stake,” explained Guyanese coach, Mark Rodriques. “Having the teams going in undefeated is exciting and we’re looking forward to a good match.”
T&T and Guyana have won their previous two matches in the tournament, making tonight’s match a decider for the top spot. The teams have already earned places in the next round of qualification for the Women’s Gold Cup later this year. T&T’s coach Jamaal Shabazz is just as excited about the encounter.
“It is going to be an interesting challenge because our team has not been really tested in this tournament so far,” said Shabazz. The Soca Princesses will be without skipper, Maylee Attin-Johnson who suffered a knee injury against Barbados on Wednesday when foreign based player, Arin King, scored a hat-trick as T&T routed Barbados 5-0.
King delivered as early as the 5th minute and was on target again six minutes later. She completed her hat-trick in the 47th minute and went on to inspire T&T’s fourth goal in the 77th minute, as she curled a corner kick inside the box, which ricocheted off Bajan player, Soraya Toppin-Herbert and into the net.
T&T’s final goal came in the last minute of regulation time through Kennya Cordner. In the first match of the double header, Guyana mauled St Lucia 8-0.
Guyana 8 (Mariam El Masri 10th, Ashless Rodrigues 11th, 54th, Olivia Gonzalves 15th, 59th, 64th, Justine Rodriques 63rd, Dari Owen 63rd) vs St Lucia 0
T&T 5 (Arin King 5th, 11th, 47th, Soraya Toppin-Herbert 77th (own goal), Kennya Cordner 90th) vs Barbados 0