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Warriors take on Mexico in Gold Cup quarters.T&T footballers will be hoping to send shockwaves through the Concacaf region when they face Mexico in the second fixture of a double-header in the first round of Gold Cup quarter-final matches, which take centrestage at the Georgia Dome, Atlanta, today.

The Soca Warriors takes on the six-time Gold Cup winner at 6.30 pm with Panama facing Caribbean Cup champion Cuba from 3.30 pm. For T&T, at stake is a place in the semi-final stage against the winner of the Cuba/Panama match at the Cowboys Stadium, Texas next Wednesday.

The last and only time T&T progressed to the semi-final was in 2000 after they stopped Costa Rica on a golden-goal extra time winner by the late Mickey Trotman before bowing out 1-0 to Canada in the last-four stage.

That team included the likes of Dwight Yorke, Angus Eve, David Nakhid, Marvin Andrews, Russell Latapy, Jerren Nixon and other prominent names. The campaign that year also started off with a 4-0 hammering from Mexico.

Mexico, after losing to Panama in its opening match of the tournament, is fielding several young players but head coach Jose Manuel De La Torre is expecting his team to demonstrate its class en route to its seventh title. “We have come here to defend our title and we will play for this in every game.

We do not expect it to be easy but our ambitions are always the same. And that is to win the tournament. Our feelings about the game against T&T will be no different,” he said.

“We have to keep working to find the answer to win the Gold Cup,” de la Torre added.  “So, pressure or no pressure, that’s the way it is. That’s the way it is with the Mexican national team. You have to understand that and know that.”

In the Mexico line up is Chivas striker Marco Fabian who netted a hat-trick in the 7-1 win over T&T in the Olympic qualifier in Los Angeles last year. Mexico central defensive partnership of Joel Huiqui and Juan Carlos Valenzuela have been together for the previous games and T&T’s attacking line will hope to exploit that.

T&T will undoubtably have to keep close eyes on Mexico’s full backs Miguel Layon and Adrian Aldrete. Chivas striker Rafa Marquez Lugo has not been particularly threatening in the tournament thus far.

“Regardless of their position and what people may say about them, Mexico is Mexico and we have to prepare well for them and be on top of our game in order to get the result we desire,” said T&T head coach Stephen Hart.

“At these tournaments, teams come into their own the longer the tournament goes on and just like we’ve done better by the time the Honduras game came along, the same may apply to our opponents. It’s a match where both teams will surely being going at each other because a place in the semi-finals is at stake.”

Meanwhile, T&T forward Kenwyne Jones does not believe that the Soca Warriors’ style of play and approach for Saturday’s Concacaf Gold Cup qualifier against Mexico should depend on the fact that they are facing the regional powerhouse.

“I don’t believe we have to think about whether they are number one or not. We know for a fact that they are a good footballing nation and perhaps they may be the favourites for the match but I’ve played against them several times before and I think we’ve had some pretty good results” Jones said.

“At the same time we know what our approach has to be but we will not let the hype surrounding the game affect that. “We’ve been preparing for our past opponents and we’ll do just the same for the Mexicans.”

Warriors go after Mexico in Gold Cup quarter-final clash.
By Shaun Fuentes (TTFA).


Trinidad and Tobago will be hoping to send some shockwaves through the Concacaf region when they face Mexico in the second match of a double header as the first set of Gold Cup quarter-final matches take centrestage at the Georgia Dome, Atlanta on Saturday.

T&T takes on the six-time Gold Cup champions at 6:30pm with Panama facing Caribbean Cup champions Cuba from 3:30pm.  For T&T, at stake is a place in the semi-finals  against the winner of the Cuba/Panama match at the Cowboys Stadium, Texas next Wednesday. Click for more training photos

The last and only time T&T progressed to the Semi-finals was in 2000 after they stopped Costa Rica on a golden-goal extra time winner by the late Mickey Trotman before bowing out 1-0 to Canada in the ‘semis’. That team included the likes Dwight Yorke, Angus Eve, David Nakhid, Marvin Andrews, Russell Latapy, Jerren Nixon and other prominent names. The campaign that year also started off with a 4-0 hammering from Mexico.

The Mexicans, after losing to Panama in their opening match of this tournament, are fielding several young players but head coach Jose Manuel De La Torre is expecting his team to demonstrate their class and go all the way for a seventh title.

“We have come here to defend our title and we will play for this in every game.  We do not expect it to be easy but our ambitions are always the same. And that is to win the tournament. Our feelings about the game against Trinidad and Tobago will be no different,” he said.

“We have to keep working to find the answer to win the Gold Cup,” de la Torre added  “So, pressure or no pressure, that’s the way it is. That’s the way it is with the Mexican national team. You have to understand that and know that.”

In the Mexico line up is Chivas striker Marco Fabian who netted a hattrick in the 7-1 win over T&T in the Olympic qualifier in Los Angeles last year. Mexico central defensive partnership of Joel Huiqui and Juan Carlos Valenzuela have been together for the previous games and T&T’s attacking line will hope to exploit that.  T&T will not doubt have to keep close eyes on Mexico’s full backs Miguel Layon and Adrian Aldrete. Chivas striker Rafa Marquez Lugo has not been particularly threatening in the tournament so far

“Regardless of their position and what people may say about them, Mexico is Mexico and we have to prepare well for them and be on top of our game in order to get the result we desire,” head coach Stephen Hart told TTFA Media.

“At these tournaments teams come into their own the longer the tournament goes on and just like we’ve done better by the time the Honduras game came along, the same may apply to our opponents. It’s  match where both teams will surely being going at each other because a place in the semi-finals is at stake.”

Jones: We’ll play our game

Trinidad and Tobago forward Kenwyne Jones does not believe that the “Soca Warriors” style of play and approach for Saturday’s Concacaf Gold Cup qualifier against Mexico should depend on the fact that they are facing the regional powerhouse.

Jones, speaking to a barrage of Mexican TV crews today, was asked whether he thought T&T would be under too much pressure from the Mexicans.

“I don’t believe we have to think about whether they are number one or not. We know for a fact that they are a good footballing nation and perhaps they may be the favourites for the match but I’ve played against them several times before and I think we’ve had some pretty good results” Jones said.

“At the same time we know what our approach has to be but we will not let the hype surrounding the game affect that. We’ve been preparing for our past opponents and we’ll do just the same for the Mexicans.

“I know the country is expecting us to give a good showing and we are hoping to just that on the day. We’ll see just how far our efforts can take us,” said the Stoke City forward.

Philadelphia Union midfielder Keon Daniel, who sat on the bench during the 2-0 win over Houston, echoed similar sentiments to Jones.

“I think we have to worry about our style of play and our game. We just have to face up to whatever Mexico brings on the day. I know we’re looking forward to it and we know the country and the fans back home are also a bit excited. But we will not get carried away by what we’ve done here so far. The result of a game is determined on the day itself,” Daniel said.

Both teams were scheduled to train at the Georgia Dome on Friday evening. The two teams also used the Emory University ground for their sessions previously. A grass surface was laid down on the turf pitch at the Dome this week specifically for Saturday’s match.

Meantime, Former T&T striker Jerren Nixon, who now lives in Atlanta, visited the training session on Thursday and wished the team well in Saturday’s game which he will also attend. TTFA President Raymond Tim Kee and General Secretary Sheldon Phillips also returned to the US on Friday night and will attend Saturday’s match.