To comment on this encounter between the USA and the Soca Warriors of Trinidad and Tobago will always have a bitter taste in my mouth. My respect for both countries allows me to carefully understand the value of the result and it is not a stereotype by way of the match result alone. Primarily, the result of a 7-0 victory by the USA against the Soca Warriors sends a level of disappointment that reaches further than just some criticism by the local and foreign supporters.
In the first place, the US used the services of an age group 20-21 years old which should have opened a door of success for the Warriors. In describing the Soca Warriors squad and their preparation for this game, one may need to enquire whether the quality of the team had the talented ingredients to face the Yanks (Concacaf champions times Over).
Two international teams facing each other mean so much of the pride and satisfaction of the nations. As the thousands of citizens who migrated from Trinidad to the USA, but still had an inbuilt love for their country, just imagine the pain and disappointment which they had to undergo.
Pre-match entertainment was filled with music played by Trinis with their steelpans, Red, white and Black colours on their shirts in the streets of Orlando. Then came the teams, with the desire to gain victory, knowing well enough of the tears which, over the years, each team deprived the other of qualifying for the World Cup Competition of the past.
Then came the start of the match and within the first two minutes, T&T succumbed to the US first attack, which seemed to have wended their way in and between a lethargic TT defense, a simple passage among a distorted defense line to give the Yanks their first goal. No one knew what to expect from the Warriors, simply because the local fans knew very little of the quality of the players, most of whom were living abroad, and were strangers to the English Coach who was facing his very first assignment as the coach of a national team.
The focus then was placed upon the restart eagerly, hoping that this early goal will have brought some assertiveness to gain the equalizer. What we saw afterward was a display of the absence of player communication especially when in defense, and the same approach in the midfield for some form of game building. The Yanks recognized the fear of their opponents and utilized their time when in possession. However, that was not necessary. The TT midfield produced very little game planning in order to regain the ball.
And even when they tried to compete against The US team that was organized by the ability of crafty players inter-passing among themselves in midfield, the apparent ploy of any strategy to retrieve the ball failed regularly. Seven goals were eventually scored against the Warriors and the statistics on the scoreboard implied 79% possession for the US as against 21% of Trinidad/Tobago. Over eight shots at goal,(seven which scored) and six more shots which were dealt with by the outstanding Keeper Adrian Foncette.
Substitutions Duane Muckette, Neveal Hackshaw Joined Ryan Telfer, Leland Archer, and Mitchell were often the fighters to regain possession and sometimes attempted passages to score. The solitary shot taken was a good effort but went overbar. The next was a penalty given. But the USA keeper saved Alvin Jones’ shot. This horrible start of a seven-month preparation by the coaching staff, needs much more quality thinking about this great game. Failing to learn fast, we may witness similar shortcomings of productive football. The National Coach’s effort was a failure.
In the midst of the COVID 19 disease, The world Cup qualifying Tournament will start in the next few weeks. Much work must be done. So far, it is a poor start for TT, maybe even a non-starter.