Costa Rica's  Randal Leal on the move.

Costa Rica (1W-0D-1L, 3 points) bounced back from a loss in its CONCACAF Under-20 Championship opener to earn a 1-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago (0-1-1, 1) on Wednesday at the Estadio Nacional.

The result lifted the tournament host into second place in Group C, three points behind El Salvador (2-0-0, 6), which defeated Bermuda (0-1-1, 1) earlier in the day, 3-1, to secure a spot in the classification stage.

Randall Leal struck for the Ticos’ only goal in the 54th minute, when he slammed a right-footed free kick from 23-yards out into the left side of the net, leaving goalkeeper Denzil Smith motionless.

The victory was Costa Rica’s victory in the competition in slightly more four years.  On February 20, 2013, it defeated Haiti by the same score in Puebla, Mexico.

Group C play concludes on Saturday with El Salvador taking on T&T in the opener, followed by a meeting between Costa Rica and Bermuda.  A win by the Costa Ricans, regardless of the other results, will see them progress.


Trinidad and Tobago: 1.Denzil Smith (20.Montel Joseph 12th); 2.Isaiah Garcia, 5.Taryk Sampson, 4.Shane Sandy, 8.Kierron Mason; 3.Kori Cupid, 13.Micah Lansiquot; 15.Kathon St Hillaire (19.Taofik Lucas Walker 72nd), 10.Jabari Mitchell (capt) (Yellow 80), 11.Noah Powder (Yellow 61) (14.Josh Toussaint 68th); 9.Nicholas Dillon.

Unused substitutes: 6.Simeon Bailey, 7.Morgan Bruce De Rouche, 12.Joshua Sitney, 16.Rushawn Murphy, 17.Stephon Marcano, 18.Joshua Leach.

Coach: Brian Williams.

Costa Rica: 1.Mario Sequira; 19.Yostin Salinas (2.Diego Mesen 41st), 3.Pablo Arboine, 13.Esteban Sibanja; 20.Eduardo Juarez; 4.Ian Smith, 11.Randall Leal (16.Marvin Loria 73rd), 14.Roberto Cordoba (10.Jonathan Martinez 79th), 6.Luis Hernandez (capt); 8.Jimmy Marin, 9.Andy Reyes.

Unused substitutes: 18.Alejandro Barrientos, 7.Kevin Masis, 12.Juan Arguedas, 15.Bernald Alfaro, 17.Jostin Daly,

Coach: Marcelo Herrera.

Referee: Kevin Morrison (Jamaica).

Yesterday's Group-C Results

El Salvador 3 (Roberto Dominguez 21, Fernando Castillo 65, Josue Rivera 67) v Bermuda 1 (Mazhye Burchall 75)

Costa Rica 1 (Randall Leal 53) v Trinidad and Tobago 0


P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
El Salvador  2  2  0  0  4  1  6
Costa Rica  2  1  0  1  1  1  3
Trinidad and Tobago  2  0  1  1  1  2  1
Bermuda  2  0  1  1  2  4  1


Young Warriors battle; but brilliant Costa Rican strike rocks T&T’s W/Cup dreams.
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868).

The Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 Team were left staring at 2017 World Cup elimination after a 1-0 loss to Costa Rica tonight in their Group C encounter at the Estadio Nacional in San Jose.

The defeat left Trinidad and Tobago with only a mathematical chance of getting out of their group. First, coach Brian Williams’ troops must defeat group leaders El Salvador when they meet from 3.30pm at the same venue on Saturday. And that’s the easy part.

The young Soca Warriors then need Bermuda, who were whipped 3-1 today by El Salvador, to beat hosts Costa Rica in the later game—but not too well so as to overtake the two island republic on goal differential.

At this stage, it is not a particularly realistic prospect.

In truth, the Warriors are paying the price for their failure to defeat Bermuda on Sunday when the two nations played to a 1-1 draw. Tonight, they did not do much wrong in San Jose. Certainly the teenagers did not lack heart and application.

Arguably, Trinidad and Tobago striker Nicholas Dillon, who recently completed a move from Central FC to Belgium second tier club K Patro Maasmechelen, was the best individual player on the field.

Often isolated upfront, Dillon was always a willing runner while his hold up play was solid and he was never shy to take on an opponent. At the back, Trinidad and Tobago’s central defensive pair of Taryk Sampson and Shane Sandy also did themselves justice.

Right winger Kathon St Hillaire looked lively in possession before he ran out of puff while, on the opposite flank, Noah Powder delivered some testing set pieces and almost scored with a cracking left foot effort.

Otherwise, despite their bravery and application, Trinidad and Tobago just could not execute in possession and had no answer once Costa Rica went ahead in the 53rd minute.

If it is any consolation, Costa Rica’s lone goal of the competition was good enough to settle any contest.

After a Sampson foul on opposing forward Andy Reyes, Costa Rican playmaker Randall Leal stepped up and beat opposing goalkeeper Montel Joseph with a brilliant curling free kick over a static Trinidad and Tobago wall from 20 yards.

Joseph, incidentally, did not start the contest, as he lost his place after a blunder against Bermuda that led to their equalising goal. But his replacement, Denzil Smith, lasted just 11 minutes before he had to make way with a dislocated shoulder after a collision with Leal led to an awkward fall.

Far from rattled, Trinidad and Tobago went on to have their best passage of play immediately after the change.

Left back Kori Cupid forced Costa Rica goalkeeper Mario Sequira into a sharp low save to his right with a header off a Powder free kick in the 14th minute. And, within seconds, Sequira was diving to his left to execute another brilliant stop off a Powder drive.

Sandy nearly conjured up something special in the 18th minute with a perceptive long range free kick that almost embarrassed Sequira, who had crept away from his goal line.

By then, the pattern of the game had been established with Costa Rica, who employed a 3-5-2 formation, hogging the ball without necessarily threatening while Trinidad and Tobago passed poorly but did create a few scares with a far more direct approach.

At the half, Costa Rica had 66 percent of the ball possession. Yet, Trinidad and Tobago outshot them by seven to five.

Nobody in a red shirt could produce a shot to match Leal’s free kick though. Stunned, Trinidad and Tobago momentarily dropped their intensity and Sampson and Joseph were forced into some fine defensive blocks to keep the Central Americans at bay during a frantic spell of sustained pressure.

The Warriors fought back though and even pinned Costa Rica in their end of the field for the final five minutes. Dillon, unsurprisingly, was the most menacing Trinidad and Tobago player and nearly grabbed an equaliser with a crisp low drive from 18 yards that just flashed past the far post.

But Trinidad and Tobago could not do enough to grab a result. And, ultimately, it looks set to cost them a place in the next round.

Captain Jabari Mitchell needs to lead his teenaged band to their first win against group leaders El Salvador on Saturday. Then they must sit down and hope for a Bermudan miracle.

Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams is not the only Trini with little more than a prayer to hang on to at the moment.

Under 20s edged by Costa Rica.
TTFA Media.

T&T still in with a chance of advancing

Trinidad and Tobago’s Under 20 Men produced a valiant effort but succumbed to a second half goal in Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat to hosts Costa Rica in their second group stage  encounter of the CONCACAF Under 20 Men’s Championship at the National Stadium in San Jose

See Report below

The first 45 minutes of the Concacaf U-20 championship first round contest between Trinidad and Tobago and the host nation Costa Rica could be described as a ‘bruising dog fight’ which resulted in neither competitor having the upper hand but a moment of brilliance in the second half puts a dent in the World Cup aspiration of the Caribbean nation.

The mathematical chance of qualification for the next round following this 1-0 loss is there but Head Coach Brian Williams and his team will need help from Caribbean counterparts Bermuda, who must put in a masterful performance to defeat the host even if T&T pulls off a win over the  unbeaten El Salvador in Saturday’s match.

“I am proud of the guys, they stuck to the plan and we could have pulled it off but that was a fantastic free-kick in the second half and we did not recover” Williams said following the match at the National Stadium in San Jose.

The coach also lamented the loss of starting goalkeeper Denzil Smith due to a shoulder injury in the 10th minute.

“Our reserve keeper is quite capable but we lost the advantage of having a third outfield player to insert into the game and put pressure on Costa Rica with fresh legs late in the second half.”

The reason for the coach’s pride is well founded as his team took the game to Costa Rica early, creating the first genuine chance in the 14th minute when defender Kori Cupid climbed above all to produce a telling header towards goal which was well save by Mario Sequeira.

The Costa Rican ‘keeper was called into action again a minute later when midfielder Noah Powder slapped a bullet towards goal after penetrating on the right flank. Things went quite after that as the host consolidated in midfield and waited for an error from T&T which came with some errant passes in their eagerness to go forward but despite that, 0-0 was the score at the end of the first half.

Nine minutes in, the Ticos struck. They were awarded a free-kick following a foul on busy forward Andy Reyes some 22 yards out from Montel Joseph’s goal. The ball always belonged to playmaker Randell Leal because there was no discussion amongst the Costa Ricans as to who would take it and we saw why as he produced a gem with such power, curl and accuracy, the defensive wall seemed insignificant and just like that it was 1-0.

Trinidad and Tobago came back hard in search of parity as they pinned Marcelo Herrera’s team deep in their own half for long periods with the ‘big’ striker Nicholas Dillon tormenting them in the air and on the ground. A flashing drive by the Central F.C player midway through the half caused a hush around the stadium but it went agonizingly inches wide of the far post. That would be the closest we would come to getting on the score sheet before Jamaican referee Kevin Morrison blew the final whistle.

T&T Captain Jabari Mitchell was practical in defeat.

“We played well but conceded the free kick which was expertly converted but we are still in with a chance and just have to go out there and do what we have to do and hope for some help from Bermuda” was the comment from the W Connection midfielder when he spoke to TTFA Media.

T&T will look to regroup and pull out all the stops in Saturday’s closing clash with El Salvador. The South Korea dream is still alive.

Group Tiebreakers

Greater number of points in matches between the tied teams.
Greater goal difference in matches between the tied teams (if more than two teams finish equal on points).
Greater number of goals scored in matches among the tied teams (if more than two teams finish equal on points).
Greater goal difference in all group matches.
Greater number of goals scored in all group matches.
Drawing of lots.

Under 20 Qualifiers - T&T vs Costa Rica Post Match reactions