Trinidad and Tobago head coach Leo Beenhakker has finalized a 19-man squad with the inclusion of United States-based striker Scott Sealy for next Wednesday’s CONCACAF Final Round 2006 World Cup qualifier against the Americans at Rentschler Field, Hartford, Connecticut.
Beenhakker will travel with nine players out of Trinidad on Friday and will be joined by nine other overseas-based pros on Sunday and Glasgow Rangers’ defender Marvin Andrews a day later.
Sealy earned his first pick since appearing in the Digicel Caribbean Cup Finals under former coach Bertille St Clair in February.
Also in the squad is Luton Town midfielder Carlos Edwards who though coming off a thigh strain, will travel to Connecticut expected to be ready for action by Wednesday.
Beenhakker explained that he had to go with players currently attached to clubs who have formed the base of his team in the two previous World Cup qualifiers against Panama and Mexico and the Gold Cup.
“There aren’t much changes in the team but as you know there are some players that are not with clubs at the moment. For instance I had to decide to leave Jason Scotland out although I was satisfied with his performances during the Gold Cup. But he hasn’t played or trained regularly with a club for several weeks,” Beenhakker told TTFF Media on Wednesday.
Beenhakker did mention that T&T’s attacking front is carrying the burden of the hopes and as such he is hoping that Edwards can make a contribution on Wednesday.
“The big problem now is really the physical state of Carlos Edwards and I am a little bit worried about that because he is a major part of our attacking force with Dwight, Stern and Kenwyne and now of course we have Scott (Sealy) in the fold,”
A notable omission is US-based striker Cornell Glen but again, the Dutch-born coach talked about selecting players in that particular position who have been active with their clubs. And he decided that Sealy was a better bet at this stage.
“From what I saw and what I know about him (Sealy), I think he deserves a chance and it’s always good to have him there. We can get to know him and see how he can help us realize our dream,” Beenhakker said.
On the omission of a couple players including Glen, Beenhakker added: “It’s just a choice. I can play the game with 18 players in my squad and u need a specific number of players for your positions. Stern and Kenwyne is in good shape and we have good information about them and then there’s Dwight who we all know about. It was a choice between Cornell , Scott and Jason and once again it’s a fact that Scott has been playing every week and has been scoring goals. That’s part of my job and you have to realize that we sit and plan carefully to come up with the best team that can help us realize this dream.”
Defender Brent Sancho is close to agreeing a new contract with English club Gillingham and has played and trained with Brighton and Kilmarnock in recent weeks. So too has midfielder Brent Rahim who has been in the Port Vale camp and is carded to play in a Reserve League match against Crewe Alexandra on Wednesday.
Manager Bruce Aanensen stated that Glasgow Rangers have refused to release Andrews until after their match with Aberdeen on Sunday.
“Once again we have very little time to prepare with the team but we must make full use of what we have. We have several players abroad and it means that those out there who are active are playing at a higher standard. It’s a tough job and it will be a tough match but we will get ourselves ready for it,” Beenhakker ended.
Meantime, US coach Bruce Arena also named his roster for the match on Wednesday for which the US Federation reported that 15,000 tickets were already sold for the 38,000 seater venue.
“I am sure the support will be there and the pressure will definitely fall on us to win,” Arena told reporters in Connecticut on Tuesday. Manchester United goalie Tim Howard makes his first return for the year since recovering from a shoulder injury while Manchester City midfielder Claudio Reyna is also back from injury. Missing from the squad is Eddie Pope as well as Eddie Johnson through injuries.
T&T Roster for USA match
Goalkeepers – Kelvin Jack (Dundee FC), Shaka Hislop (West Ham United)
Defenders – Marvin Andrews (Glasgow Rangers), Brent Sancho (unattached), Atiba Charles (Vibe CT 105 W Connection), Cyd Gray (CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh), Dennis Lawrence (Wrexham), Avery John (New England Revolution)
Midfielders – Chris Birchall (Port Vale), Brent Rahim (Unattached), Collin Samuel (Dundee United), Carlos Edwards (Luton Town), Aurtis Whitley (Jabloteh), Densill Theobald (Caledonia AIA Fire), Silvio Spann (Yokohama FC).
Forwards – Dwight Yorke (Sydney FC), Scott Sealy (Kansas City Wizards), Kenwyne Jones (Southampton) and Stern John (Coventry City)
Goalkeepers - Kevin Hartman (Los Angeles Galaxy), Tim Howard (Manchester United), Kasey Keller (Borussia Moenchengladbach).
Defenders - Chris Albright (Los Angeles Galaxy), Gregg Berhalter (Energie Cottbus), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege), Greg Vanney (FC Dallas).
Midfielders - Chris Armas (Chicago Fire), DaMarcus Beasley (PSV Eindhoven), Bobby Convey (Reading FC), Eddie Lewis (Leeds United), John O’Brien (ADO Den Haag), Santino Quaranta (D.C. United), Steve Ralston (New England Revolution), Claudio Reyna (Manchester City).
Forwards - Jeff Cunningham (Colorado Rapids), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Brian McBride (Fulham FC), Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution).