CENTRAL FC coach Dale Saunders and loan signee Kenwyne Jones are both content with their team’s showing on Tuesday night in a 2-2 draw with Kansas City in CONCACAF Champions League action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
I think they did well.” Central FC were beaten 1-0 by Vancouver Whitecaps in their first Group C game but Saunders acknowledged, “I saw some improvement.
Kenwyne Jones came in and gave us more punch up front.” The former Trinidad and Tobago midfielder went on to say, “I’m satisfied (that) everything we tried to do in training, I saw the guys try to (implement) in the game. “We tried to keep our shape.
I give the guys credit for the effort.” Central FC have only one point from their two games, and they face tough challenges away to both Vancouver and Kansas.
Saunders noted, “we really wanted to get three points but we didn’t get it. We’ll go back to planning again for Vancouver - that will be a crucial game.” Jones, who scored on his debut appearance for Central FC, admitted, “it was a case of the fitter team being able to come back. Overall I think we showed what we can do. That will help us to grow from strength to strength.” This was the first CONCACAF Champions League game for the 31-year-old TT captain and striker.
“This is the highest level in the CONCACAF region,” said Jones.
“We have to work hard to reach the other stage, which will have the better teams. I don’t think it is a task that is daunting.
“We have to buckle down, work on our weaknesses and (play) with no fear. As you saw (on Tuesday) night, it’s little mistakes that will cost us. I hope we try to pick up points and try to come out of this group.”
Jones scores but Central held 2-2.
By JOEL BAILEY (Newsday).
KENWYNE JONES scored on his debut for Central FC but the local Pro League champions were held to a 2-2 draw by American MLS (Major League Soccer) outfit Sporting Kansas City on Tuesday evening, in their CONCACAF Champions League Group C battle, at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
Jones, in his first game with Central FC since he joined on loan earlier this month, was joined on the score-sheet by Marcus Joseph, while defenders Seth Sinovic and Kevin Ellis netted for the MLS team.
Central FC looked more purposeful, in all areas, than their August 2 meeting against group leaders Vancouver Whitecaps, which they lost by a 1-0 margin.
But defensive lapses proved costly against the visitors.
Jones, Joseph and utility player Elton John were inserted in the starting line-up by Central FC coach Dale Saunders, at the expense of Jason Marcano, Nicholas Dillon and Kaydion Gabriel, while Kansas City’s coach Peter Vermes rested four starters.
Jones had a couple moments to score early in the first half, which he squandered, but goalkeeper Javon Sample was called upon to produce a fine save to deny stand-in skipper Roger Espinoza in the 28th minute.
Jones and Joseph combined to produce two opportunities at goal – Jones found Joseph in a breakaway move but Joseph’s left-footer went wide of the mark while Jones headed home Joseph’s free-kick in the 41st but referee Henry Bejarano disallowed the goal due to an infringement on goalie Jon Kempin.
Sample did well to save a point-blank shot from Brad Davis in the 48th but he was powerless to stop Sinovic from putting his team ahead three minutes later.
A free-kick from the right was not cleared by the Central FC defence and Davis, from the middle, sent a ball to overlapping left-back Sinovic. Andre Ettienne, in his attempt to clear the ball to safety, saw the ball rebound off Sinovic and trickle into the net.
Central FC responded with two goals, in the space of three minutes.
In the 54th, Sean De Silva was sent clear on goal by Jones but his tame effort was saved by Kempin. But a lurking Joseph was on hand to drill home the loose ball, with a powerful right-footer.
Two minutes afterwards, Jones and Joseph exchanged passes, on a breakaway, with Jones guiding his right-footed shot, from a tight angle, past Kempin.
But another national player, Keron Cummings, turned over possession outside his penalty area, and Davis, on the right, picked out central defender Kevin Ellis who got around Sample and sent the ball into the open net.
Sample did well to thwart goal-bound efforts from Diego Kostner and Nuno Coelho, in the latter stages of the encounter.