Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart has summoned Columbus Crew midfielder Kevan George to join the National team in Atlanta ahead of Saturday’s CONCACAF Gold Cup quarter final against Mexico at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
Hart made the call and the Tobago-born player, who lined up for T&T during the final round of the Olympic qualifiers in Los Angeles last year, is expected to join the team camp at the Westin Plaza on Wednesday night.
T&T are missing the services of Midfielder Khaleem Hyland who returned to Belgium on Tuesday on a request from the club while midfielder Kevin Molino is suspended on two yellow cards. Competition rules only allow for one yellow card to be wiped out at the end of the group phase.
Middlesbrough defender Justin Hoyte is also sidelined with a groin injury and will not be ready for another five days or so.
For the 2013 season George has made four starts for the Crew and has appeared in a total of eight matches so far this year.
T&T were scheduled to train at the Emory University on Wednesday evening. The squad arrived on a charter flight from Houston the previous evening and checked in at the 73-floor Westin Plaza hotel in Atlanta.
Already there were Mexican TV crews and media correspondents camping out at the Westin Plaza, awaiting the team’s arrival and they plan to attend every training session this week.
“You always know when a team like Mexico or Costa Rica are your opponents because their media tends to show up everywhere the team goes,” National Team media officer Shaun Fuentes said.
“Of course we have to monitor it because it can tend to become a distraction to the team, so there are measures in place to manage this. We’ll have only 15-minute windows for the media at the start of the training sessions but the Emory training site is opened doors with no fencing so it’s not very easy to keep the media out but we’ll arrange to suit utilizing the competition security and officials that are available to the team” Fuentes added.
“The interest in the Trinidad and Tobago team has grown from US and Central American media after the performance against El Salvador and also the presence of Leo Beenhakker in the contingent has brought some additional attention. There’s also been some interest from international opponents to face us following the team’s progress in the quarter-finals,” Fuentes added.
The spirit is an upbeat one in the camp, mostly because of the team’s progress out of the group phase. Saturday’s assignment against Mexico, though without some of their more senior players, is expected to be a tricky assignment for the “Soca Warriors.
“It’s a tough game but it’s the kind of game you want to play in a tournament like this especially for a team like ours that is trying to get things right and prepare for future competition,” forward Cornell Glen told TTFA Media.
“I thought we really put a lot out in the last game and it showed that with the right approach and effort we can get good results. We’ll be aiming to try to keep it up so that our performances have some consistency in it. This only comes with more games under our belt,” Glen said.
The Georgia Dome in Atlanta, will host the knockout stage’s first doubleheader on Saturday with Panama taking on Cuba at 3:30 p.m. ET, followed by an encounter between two-time defending champion Mexico and T&T at 6:30 p.m. ET. The doubleheader was originally scheduled for 3 p.m. ET and 6 p.m. ET, and has been moved back by 30 minutes.