Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior footballers will be looking to maintain momentum when they contest Mexico in their closing Group C match of the CONCACAF Gold Cup at the Bank American Stadium in Charlotte from 830pm on Wednesday.
“It’s still an important match for us because of the fact that we don’t get to play teams of Mexico’s quality very often so when matches like these come around, we have to make use of it and by that I mean we will test our ability and also use this as an opportunity to prepare against a top team from our region for what’s to come later down the road in the World Cup qualification,” “ Hart told TTFA Media.
“Additionally, nobody wants to lose a match and we have a good momentum going which we want to keep. Of course our focus now is the quarter finals and getting into the last four,” Hart added.
“The main thing is for us to stay focus on what we want to achieve. Our first objective was to get out of the group stage and we’ve done that. Now we’ll focus on the next match and also prepare for the quarter final stage. Despite whatever else is happening off the field, we will remain positive and credit to the players also for being very professional and not letting anything distract them from their focus out here,” Hart added.
T&T will be without goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams who has sustained a grade one hamstring strain and is unlikely to see further action in the tournament. A scan in Charlotte confirmed this on Tuesday morning. Midfielder Andre Boucaud will also sit out the game on two yellow cards.
Defender Sheldon Bateau is confident T&T can end the group on a strong note.
“I’m a bit overwhelmed with my performance and that of the team so far. Especially as a defender your first job is just to keep the clean sheet but to score two in two is a great feeling,” Bateau told TTFA Media.
“We are confident at the moment but now going into the Mexico with this cushion is quite good for us. Mexico is always a big match and a strong opponent but the group is ready for the test and we’ll be looking to keep our form and get another positive result to finish the group stage,” added the Belgium-based player.
Bateau looked at the performances of the other teams so far and he believes T&T can go beyond the quarter finals in this tournament.
“I think when you look at how we’ve grown as a team and you look at the others here, you can see that we are capable of matching them and getting good results. With a good amount of time together, good preparation and the right belief, we have demonstrated what we are capable of and this is good for us looking ahead to the World Cup qualifiers later this year,” Bateau said.
The team trained for 80 minutes at the Davidson College training facility on Tuesday morning and was also scheduled to have a light session at the match venue from 9pm on Tuesday. The conditions here are much cooler than Phoenix with temperatures averaging 30 degrees Celsius. There was some rain during T&T’s session on Tuesday morning.
The Bank of America Stadium seats just over 74,000 and is the home facility of the Carolina Panthers NFL franchise.