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Warriors look to seal quarter final spot on Sunday.
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Trinidad and Tobago’s senior footballers will be looking to emulate their 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup performance with another positive result against Cuba on Sunday to take them through to the quarter final stage for the second straight time.

Skipper Kenwyne Jones feels another qualification out of the group phase will indicate the progress made by the “Soca Warriors” over the past three years. Jones and his men made the "quarters" in 2013 before losing to Mexico 1-0 in Atlanta.

“Credit to the team for the way we started the game and we put ourselves in a position where we could cruise. We wanted to come out and still to put pressure on them. Ten minutes before the first half ended and then into the second half it seemed as if we were playing against twelve,” Jones told TTFA Media about the 3-1 victory over Guatemala on Thursday.

“It’s always important to get off to a winning start. A win or even in the next game can guarantee us going to the quarter finals once again and I think that measures the standard and level of progress we made in the last two to three years. “

Jones added that he felt T&T will need continue defying the odds against them.

“I think all the teams in the tournament are trying to use that against us, the fact that we have had a lot happening off the field in our football over the pas few years. Even Guatemala today had a few digs, trying to talk about Jack Warner helping us, But I can’t remember the last time Jack Warner kicked a ball. For us I think we came out on the field and despite all the odds against us, showed our class.”

San Jose Earthquakes forward Cordell Cato was also elated with his goal at Soldier Field.

“It was definitely amazing being able to come out in the first game with a win and the way the team played and being able to get a goal just topped it off.

“I think this win means a lot more than everyone could imagine because the results leading up to the Gold Cup wasn’t the right one but to come here and perform the way we did it was definitely what we needed.We’ll go back the drawing board and prepare again for the next game against Cuba,” Cato said.

Sheldon Bateau said he was elated to open the scoring for T&T.

“It was a great feeling to get my first goal at the senior level and be able to help the team get the three point. We lost some control in the second half but we knew we could maintain the lead and see them off.

Team manager William Wallace maintained that all efforts will be made to ensure the players have only football to focus on.


“We are trying to stay on top of things to ensure that the players have only their opponents and games to focus on. As it relates to all the conditions away from the field, match wages and other matters, we will be going over time to make sure things are in place and that we can continue in a positive manner. I think the result on Thursday is also a great boost, for our team moral and for the whole image of the team going forward.” Wallace stated.

The Team ARRIVED in Phoenix around 8pm TT time via chartered CONCACAF flight from Chicago.

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TALE OF TWO HALVES

TWO good halves of football is all coach Stephen Hart wants from the Soca Warriors, but he is nevertheless pleased with a T&T'S 3-1 opening win over Guatemala and a good start to the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Hart lauded his team's defence and pressing, which was largely responsible for forcing Guatemala defenders to concede their second goal in a first half where T&T scored three goals in 25 minutes.

“Hopefully we can play more consistently like we played the first half,” Hart said. “I thought Guatemala in the first 15, 20 minutes, didn't handle well, the press from us. They panicked a bit because you get scored on.”

“We pressed well, we recovered the ball in good areas of the field, we got the goals and we kept possession well,” added the former Canada coach. “We made Guatemala chase, which they weren't comfortable with.” Hart felt his players lost the midfield battle in the second half.

“They (Guatemala) have good quality. Good footballers, with some experience up front, and the second half showed they could be a completely different team,” he said.

“In the second half, we dropped too deep. We allowed Guatemala to play,” Hart pointed out. “One; they kept the ball very well, (they) made us run, and two; they played a little more direct and forced us to defend around the penalty box, and it caused us problems.”

The loss of midfield control provided a greater test for the Soca Warriors defence which was sometimes stretched in the second half. “This is sort of a new defence and they are still trying to understand each other. At times they did well, except the second half when they (Guatemala) started to play a little more direct,” Hart said.

“We were not winning the first ball or the second ball, and I though Khaleem Hyland and Kevan George had too much work to do. We were not compact enough in the midfield to stop them playing those penetrating balls.

Meanwhile, Guatemala's coach Ivan Franco Sopegno is still confident of the Central Americans advancing out of Group C to the quarter-final stage. But he thinks Guatemala must play a perfect match against Mexico and also beat Cuba. Obviously not pleased with the showing against T&T, Sopegno said Guatemala is building for the World Cup.