T&T will be hoping for a repeat of their 1998 Gold Cup performance against Honduras when both teams meet in their final group clash of the 2013 Concacaf Gold Cup at the BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston from 8.00 pm (9.00 pm T&T time) tonight.
The Soca Warriors following their 2-0 defeat to Haiti in Miami on Friday, must pick up full points if they are to advance to the quarter-finals stage. As it stands, a win will guarantee T&T a place as one of the best third placed teams in the group. A draw could still possibly sneak T&T through if Haiti (three points) defeats El Salvador (one point) on Monday and Cuba and Belize draw in their match on Tuesday. Both Cuba and Belize have lost their two previous matches.
In 1998, T&T got by Honduras 3-1 through a double by Stern John and one by Jerren Nixon, Chris Birchall also struck a beauty when both teams drew 1-1 in the 2005 tournament in Miami.. Honduras have not been easy opponents, particularly in World Cup qualification, defeating T&T 4-2 in Port of Spain in 2001 and 4-1 at home in 2009.
“A victory will take us through but more importantly I think we need to lift our level of play and put on a good display against Honduras. Looking back at the last game, without your heart involved you realise we had some good moments, we created some opportunities but we didn’t score which could always change a game. But at the end there’s no excuse, we didn’t get the result and we know what we have to do which is to go out and do the business against Honduras, “ head coach Stephen Hart told TTFA Media prior to a training session at the match venue on Sunday evening.
“The players more than anything else understand that we did not have a good night in Miami on Friday and we are capable of doing much better. This is the opportunity now for us to do that. Again it’s not going to be easy by any means but at this level you can’t expect any team to give you anything freely. Our approach and work rate has to be positive throughout the match,” Hart added.
Forward Cornell Glen will be keen to make an impression while the likes of Birchall, Andre Boucaud and Kevin Molino will be eager to have an input in Monday night’s effort. Middlesbrough defender Justin Hoyte is unlikely to be fit after sustaining groin injury in Friday’s match. Joevin Jones should be available despite sustaining a blow to the ankle against Haiti.
Ipswich Town’s Carlos Edwards says T&T is due a winning performance.
“We have it in us. Some days you can be down as a team and maybe we were far from good against Haiti and we hold our hands up but this is the level we all aspire to as players and we have got pull out all the stops now to make up for it,” said the former Sunderland man. “We can’t go into the game with three or four players but instead we need the entire team to be focused and to bring their A-game for this one. Nothing less will be acceptable on the night.”
Aside from the opening goal by Keon Daniel in the first match against El Salvador, T&T have not started matches particularly well and may need to force the opponents on the backfoot from the word go and maintain a high level of pressure for longer periods against the Hondurans who are already through to the quarter finals.
“That belief was not there in the last game and now we have to be switched on from the first whistle. We need to avoid the silly mistakes and be more forceful in everything we do. I think everyone knows what’s at stake. Hard work is the only remedy tomorrow,” Edwards said.