Trinidad and Tobago’s senior team will be forced to go into Wednesday's 2006 World Cup qualifier against United States without midfielder Carlos Edwards after the midfielder pulled up again with his strained thigh following Luton Town's 0-0 with Leeds United on Saturday.
Edwards made an 85th minute appearance but indicated that he felt a tweak after the match and was in an uncomfortable position. He was expected to receive treatment on Sunday morning.
With the squad now down to 18 players, it means that head coach Leo Beenhakker will now possibly seek a replacement as midfielder Brent Rahim, who arrived from London on Saturday night, also pulled up with a calf strain in his first training session on Sunday morning and has been ruled out of Wednesday’s match. Team Doctor Terrance Babwah said that Rahim would be forced out of action for another week. Cyd Gray meantime is expected to be fit from an ankle injury picked up on Saturday.
The conditions were a bit cooler on Sunday evening following a downpour shortly before T&T’s second training session
Joining the camp on Sunday were Shaka Hislop, Kelvin Jack, Avery John, Kenwyne Jones, Stern John, Dennis Lawrence and Scott Sealy. Glasgow Rangers Marvin Andrews was also scheduled to leave Glasgow on Sunday morning as it was learn that he would not be in the Rangers team which lost 3-2 to Aberdeen on the same day. He will round off the T&T squad which means Beenhakker should have at least 17 players in training on Monday with another double session on the cards.
Already here and active in training has been skipper Dwight Yorke, Chris Birchall, Brent Sancho, Densill Theobald, Aurtis Whitley, Silvio Spann and Atiba Charles.
The US camp also reported that DaMarcus Beasley has been ruled out of Wednesday’s clash with a hamstring strain.
T&T will continue to use the training field of the Irving Robbins Middle School which on Friday required that the TTFF provided proof of insurance for all players and staff for use of the venue to avoid being liable for any injuries sustained at the facility.
Beenhakker, though realizing that he may be in with a selection headache, has refused to fall to low spirits ahead of the match.
“This is football and there’s nothing that we can do to change this now. It’s still a game that we must prepare for and go out and try our best to get the best possible result,” Beenhakker told TTFF Media. “With the majority of the team with us now, we can prepare better for the match and we intend to use the measures available to us to ensure that we are ready for the job.”
Reports have indicated that some 20,000 tickets have been sold already for the 38,000 seater Rentschler Field venue for Wednesday’s game and the game is being dubbed as the most important sporting event in the US on Wednesday.
“When the United States Men's National Team meets Trinidad and Tobago on August 17 it will be the most important sports event in the USA that night. In fact, I argue, the USA-Trinidad match is the most important sports happening during the entire month of August in our country,” stated Rick Crow, a columnist for the well known US Soccer National Team players website and a former editor for Maryland Soccer News.
“Even without all of the intrigue about media coverage, the USA-T&T showdown deserves the title of Sports Event of the Month on its own merits. On paper, this is one of the most lopsided matches in the final round of World Cup qualifying. The United States, with an impressive 4-1 record, sits comfortably in second place, while Trinidad, with a win and a draw in five games, flounders near the bottom of the pack with Panama and Guatemala.
“But Trinidad will be fighting for its life. In a nightmare scenario, an inspired T&T squad pulls off the upset. Mexico, the USA's next opponent, is no guaranteed win, even at home. After that, it's off to Guatemala, where few teams look forward to playing. Some bad bounces here and a few bad calls there could turn a cakewalk to the World Cup into a CONCACAF free-for-all.
The US Men and Women's National Teams have done more to blaze the trail for soccer in this country than any other organization. If you have any doubts, just think of what Paul Caligiuri's goal against Trinidad in 1989, the USA's win over Colombia in the 1994 World Cup and the quarterfinal run in the 2002 World Cup accomplished for American soccer at every level,” Crow added.