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Trinidad and Tobago attacker Nikita Jackson started at centre forward against Puerto Rico during Concacaf U-20 Championship qualifying action at the Rignaal Jean Francisca Stadium, in Willemstad on 19 April 2023. (Copyright Miguel Gutierrez/ Straffon Images)

THE Trinidad and Tobago Under-20 women’s footballers will not advance to the 2023 Concacaf Women’s Championships after losing 5-0 to Puerto Rico in the qualification tournament at the Rignaal Jean Francis Stadium in Curacao on Wednesday.

T&T needed to defeat Puerto Rico to finish first in Group D and advance to the 2023 Concacaf Under-20 Women’s Championships in the Dominican Republic, which kicks off on May 24.

The championships serve as a qualifier for the 2024 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup. T&T’s defeat to Puerto Rico now means this country’s World Cup dreams are over.

T&T kept the match goalless for 26 minutes, but two goals in three minutes put Puerto Rico in control. Kenedy Garcia opened the scoring in the 27th minute and Enasia Colon doubled the lead for Puerto Rico in the 30th minute, a lead they held onto until half-time.

Ashley McMahon gave Puerto Rico a commanding 3-0 advantage in the 51st minute as T&T’s chances of progressing to the Concacaf Championships looked grim. Colon got on to the score sheet again in the 76th and Garcia also netted her brace with an 82nd-minute strike.

A draw on Wednesday would have been enough for Puerto Rico to qualify as the group winners as they had a superior goal difference after the first two rounds.

Puerto Rico were the favourites heading into their clash against T&T as they were ruthless in their first two matches. Puerto Rico defeated Guadeloupe 5-0 and eased past the Cayman Islands 6-1. T&T were not as convincing getting past Cayman Islands 3-0 and holding on for a 3-2 win against Guadeloupe courtesy of a hat-trick from J’eleisha Alexander.

Most of the T&T Under-20 players will be eligible to play for the next few years as it is a young squad.


Trinidad and Tobago (4-3-3): 21.Sophia Keel (GK); 19.Jada Graham (7.Talia Martin 46), 17.Anastasia O’Brien, 3.Cicely-Anne Spencer-Wickham, 5.Kaitlyn Darwent (18.Shakira Charles 86); 6.Marley Walker (captain), 14.Cherina Steele, 16.Carissa Cowan (10.Orielle Martin 29); 2.Jeniecia Benjamin (4.Kanika Rodriguez 80), 12.Nikita Jackson (9.J’Eleisha Alexander 46), 15.Rasheda Archer.

Substitutes: 1.Mikaela Yearwood (GK), 20.Sadiel Antoine (GK), 8.Jessica Harragin, 11.Mariah Williams, 13.Athena Jackson,

Coach: Dernelle Mascall

Puerto Rico: 12.Isabel Ackerman (GK), 7.Jessica Torres (captain), 14.Gabriela Berrios, 19.Abigail Seawright, 2.Grace Burns, 15.Ashley McMahon, 16.Payton Quinones, 18.Susana Roberts, 9.Madison Krakower, 10.Kenedy Garcia, 17.Enasia Colon.

Substitutes: 1.Alondra Iriarte (GK), 3.Eva Anderson, 4.Erin Smith, 6.Sofia Colon-Gonzales, 8.Estefania Gonzales, 11.Fabiola Martinez, 13.Lisette Gregoris, 20.Jocelyn Chinea.

Coach: Wendy Espejel

Referee: Merlin Vanessa Soto (Honduras)

Concacaf U-20 Championship qualifiers - Group D

(Wednesday 19 April)

Trinidad and Tobago 0, Puerto Rico 5 (Kenedy Garcia [2], Enasia Colon [2], Ashley McMahon)

Guadeloupe 3, Cayman Islands 0

(Monday 17 April)

Trinidad and Tobago 3 (J’Eleisha Alexander 8 pen, 51 pen, 60), Guadeloupe 2 (Laetitia Echard 42, Sergyna Loubli 84 pen)

Puerto Rico 6 (Kenedy Garcia 9, 45+1, Madison Krakower 24, Payton Quinones 63, Susana Roberts 75, Lisette Gregoris 90+3), Cayman Islands 1 (Molly Kehoe 45+2)

(Sat 15 April)

Trinidad and Tobago 3 (Talia Martin 22, 68, Nikita Jackson 66), Cayman Islands 0

Puerto Rico 5 (Kenedy Garcia 12, Enasia Colon 40, Estefania Gonzales 52, Jocelyn Chinea 73, Fabiola Martinez 88), Guadeloupe 0