Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 10th 2017 Contents A46 sports
guardian.co.tt Saturday, June 10, 2017
A plethora of individual errors have
accounted for T&T's 2-0 loss to the
United States in Thursday's World
Cup qualifier in Denver, Colorado,
USA, according to T&T senior men's
national coach Dennis Lawrence in his
post match press conference.
As a result of this Lawrence believes his
troops will have a lot of positives to take
into their next qualifying match against
Costa Rica on Tuesday in San Jose.
Lawrence, who will enter his fourth
match in charge of the Soca Warriors,
pointed out his team did not lose the match
because of its tactical approach, but rath-
er because his players gave the ball away
unnecessarily and left themselves open
for the US to capitalise.
The US got a double strike from Chris-
tian Pulisic in the 52nd and 61st minutes
to strengthen their chances of another
World Cup berth in Russia next year while
T&T have sunken further with three points
from five matches, facing as many remain-
ing matches that include three away, in
which to make amends.
Lawrence, who played in the 2006
World Cup in Germany, told a media gath-
ering that the match was a close one which
the high altitude conditions affected terri-
bly by slowing down the tempo. He opted
to use an additional man in his defence to
counteract his opponent's decision attack
with two strikers---Clint Dempsey and Jozy
Altidore, when he said worked in spite of
the two goals.
Lawerence praised the overall perfor-
mance of the T&T players, noting that he
was very pleased with the commitment
shown in the match, but believed their
hard work was spoilt by a number of in-
dividual errors which cost them the game.
According Lawrence, Hyland did well in
winning the ball, but gave it away cheaply,
saying the steady defensive midfielder did
what he was asked to do by winning the
ball, but needs to execute better with his
distribution of it.
The lanky, who had a success playing
career for almost two decades, also allayed
fears of injury concerns for speedy winger
Joevin Jones who he pulled off late in the
second half. When quizzed, Lawrence
said, "Joevin was the last player to join
the camp in Denver after representing his
club, so it would have been difficult to ask
him to run for 90 minutes."
T&T got the ball in the back of net
through speedy midfielder Nathan Lewis
who came in as a replacement for Cordel
Cato, that was ruled off-side, and later
Kenwyn Jones missed a golden opportuni-
ty to give his team the lead, when he raced
on to a left-sided cross by Hyland but saw
his header crashed against the crossbar.
Lawrence, an ex national defender
praised Pulisic, saying, "We were aware
that Pulisic is a very good player, both
goals and is a good runner. He is an ex-
Meanwhile, US coach Bruce Arena said
the T&T team was prepared for the en-
counter but his men played a perfect 90
Drakes downplays warm-up result
West Indies Women's head coach
Vasbert Drakes is not reading too
much into his side's defeat to a strong
England XI in Wednesday's practice
game in Loughborough.
In fact, Drakes said the important
role of the game was not the result but
to ensure the players enjoyed valuable
match practice and allow those without
experience in England to get a taste of the
challenging conditions here.
"The most important thing is that we
got some mileage in our legs from a bowl-
ing and batting perspective. Also, it would
have been the first time we would have
played a competitive game since arriving
in the UK," Drakes said.
"I'm encouraged to see in terms of
learning, a lot of the ladies that would
have played in this group yesterday, they
wouldn't have actually played in England
(before) ... so I am not really discouraged
as it relates to the performances.
"I think it was important that we got
some cricket in this part of the summer.
We have a couple more weeks where
we can actually fine-tune and adjust to
ensure we are actually getting better at
what we do."
He added: "We are still working on our
game plan and what sort of methods that
would allow us to be effective but we still
have a couple more weeks here so hope-
fully by the 26th (of June) we would be
in a stronger position to get some results
that would encourage everyone."
West Indies Women struggled when
they batted and were dismissed for 150,
with only captain Stafanie Taylor with a
top score of 60, Deandra Dottin with 25
and opener Hayley Matthews, 22, show-
ing any real enterprise. England Women,
boasting most of their top stars, easily
overhauled the total before batting the
full 50 overs to amass 281 for seven.
Drakes said the fact the hosts played a
near full-strength side was a plus for the
Windies preparation ahead of the June
24 to July 23 ICC Women's World Cup.
"We would have played them last year
at the back end in Jamaica and they proved
to us they are a very competitive side, a
well-organised unit and I would like to
think that watching them (on Wednesday)
our girls would have actually picked up
a couple of things that they can add to
their game in terms of being disciplined
and having control in whatever they do
(and) having great intensity in the field."
Drakes continued: "I was happy to
have had the practice game certainly
against England so that when we reflect
on our own game and we measure where
we are at and our shortcomings, we can
take the positives from it and take it into
our scenario sessions leading up to the
competition and see if we can get better in
the areas in which we need to get better."
West Indies Women will play another
practice match on Friday against South-
ern Vipers as part of their ongoing camp
at the Ageas Bowl.
They play official warm-ups against
Pakistan on June 22 and against South
Africa two days later, before taking on
reigning champions Australia in their
opening game of the World Cup on June
26 in Taunton. (CMC)
Due to their pre-game
preparations, the Soca
Warriors appeared to have
been more than ready for
what the USA could pro-
duce, in terms of high alti-
tude, increased ball speed
and troublesome respira-
tory issues for the players.
T&T went down 2-0 in a
very tough, but competi-
Both teams recognised that
any increased velocity during
the early stages of the game
may incite physical discom-
fort. After the first five min-
utes, which was filled with
slow methodical build-up by both teams within their
portions of the field, the quality of the game during that
period appeared to demonstrate their intention of caution
before aggression. But as time passed the USA recognised
that coach Dennis Lawrence decided upon a "wait and
see pattern" by rotating passes laterally and causing the
opponents to chase from side to side.
There was good chemistry in the process as the back
three of Daniel Cyrus, Sheldon Bateau and Mekeil Wil-
liams, showing a pattern of play which could have allowed
five midfield players to combine ball possession and extra
Tactically, our system seemed to have been lopsided
with Nathan Lewis, Mekiel Williams and Joevin Jones
being left sided players. This was well done in defense,
but the attacking process did not materialise. I was hoping
and praying that the coaching staff made the decision to
use a solid defender to mark the young German Ameri-
can Pulisic, whose goal scoring success over the past five
matches should have invited the thought.
However, Hyland seemed to have been the player to
do the job, but his first tackle on the youngster brought
a serious warning from the referee early in the first half, a
factor which would have received the signal to the former
Mucurapo dynamo to transfer the responsibility to his
defensive midfield partner Kevon George.
The plan did not work as Pulisic has a tremendous work
rate and his blindsided runs towards the T&T goal, at-
tracted the attention to the entire defense, causing space
and time for Dempsey and Altidore to fire seven shots at
Jean Michel Williams, whose brilliance showed up seven
time in the first half alone, and if we understood the extra
speed of the ball through the air space, you will appreciate
the keeper's brilliance even more.
It actually work as a challenge to keeper Tim Howard
and as competent as he was in his career, he was forced
into error when Hyland missed the target by centimetres,
Edwards made him bungle a diving save, and misread
Joevin Jones' impeccable cross to Kenwyne Jones' header.
It was the gift of the night which may have turned the
game the way of the visitors.
Unfortunately, two tactical errors brought victory for
the USA. The both goals came from the right side for the
USA with Nagbe making full use of the distorted defence
line which Williams attempted to drift in central defence
to offer some assistance. Pulisic's blindsided run saw him
rushing between two defenders and sliding the cross into
the net. The second portion of his brace cam from the
same position, but has tap in was much easier.
The statistics will show a two-nil victory, but the con-
solatory picture was a possible three goal opportunities
for the Warriors and two of them before the Americans
had scored. Possession percentage was almost equal, but
an 8-5 advantage of goal chances gave the USA the vic-
tory they had worked for. Tough game, but home teams
usually end up with a two-goal advantage if the teams
are equal in strength.
Tuesday is another day and although Costa Rica was
held to a draw by Panama the same night, our task is now
more difficult, but not impossible. The game will be more
exciting because both these teams will make use of skill
and creativity rather than the robotic methods of the USA.
God luck Warriors.
T&T's Kevin Molino, right, challenges USA for the ball during the FIFA Russia 2018
World Cup Qualifying match at the Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Denver, Colorado, on
Thursday night. PHOTO: CA IMAGES
I'm not let down
....It was a tough match
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