Dwight Yorke turns 37 on November 3 and Russell Latapy is already 40 years old. Add goalkeeper Clayton Ince at 36 and 34-year-old central defender Dennis Lawrence and you have all the makings of a hundred-year club.
Victory must have been Yorke's perfect gift, with his birthday coming up.
"Me and Russell were just having a laugh among ourselves...(we are) a combined age of seventy-seven (77)," Yorke chuckled following the game. "Who thought we would have been before you guys at a press conference some 20 years later."
It might have been a bit of history itself that the goals came from the two veterans of the November 19, 1989 match at the same venue when Paul Calaguri's goal denied Trinidad and Tobago a place in the 1990 World Cup in Italy. The home team needed just a point, but lost 1-0 to the USA who instead qualified for their first World Cup since 1950. Two nights ago, T&T's veterans gained some measure of compensation.
Latapy, the former Porto midfielder, netted the opening goal in the 61st, volleying Carlos Edwards' chip off an upright and onto the back of diving Aston Villa keeper Bradley Guzan before the ball entered the net.
And Yorke calmly tucked away a 78th minute penalty after Josie Altidore's tug on the shirt of substitute defender Makan Hislop.
Between the Warriors' goals, the USA pulled level at 1-1 in the 75th minute, Charlie Davies tucking away Altidore's square pass from a central position four yards out.
The win was just Trinidad and Tobago's second in 19 attempts against the Americans, the first in 14 years, and first-ever FIFA World Cup qualifying win in a dozen tries versus the United States.
"I think it's been coming for a while. The USA always managed to have had the edge on us for a number of years...and it's not because they were more talented, they were simply more organised over the years," said Yorke.
"Over the years, and I probably go back to Guatemala (last Saturday) when we went down to ten men, those were the type of games we would have lost," he pointed out.
"A number of years back we would have certainly got beat. And, you've got to give credit to the players now with the way they responded.
"I think it all stems from the World Cup, the game against Sweden (in Germany in 2006 when T&T drew 0-0 in their first-ever match at the World Cup Finals), the kind of spirit...the kind of fight that we showed and tonight was exactly the same."
Yorke, a former UEFA Champions League winner with Manchester United, also pointed out the importance of having experienced players in the Trinidad and Tobago senior national team which came into play when the United States grabbed the equaliser.
"We said keep our heads, we're still in the game. Don't get too disheartened, keep your spirits up, and that's what we did. We knew we were going to get another chance and we did. And luckily I was able to keep my head and slot the penalty in the back of the net."
Like way back then, Trinidad and Tobago face Cuba on November 19, 2008, needing just a point to reach the Super Six, the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.
And skipper Yorke, a well-documented lover of the good times during his days at United, now admonishes his younger charges to get the job done against Cuba before celebrating.
Age, it seems, really brings wisdom.
"We have a tendency in this part of the world to party before we even do the job, so it was very important to keep our feet firmly on the ground and do the job in hand," said Yorke, adding that he had told his teammates to come back refreshed next month and finish the job against Cuba.
Yorke: Future of TT’s football bright.
By: Kendall Garica (Guardian).
“Latapy is a player out of this world. He is a great sportsman and a great professional. His approach to the game is fantastic.” T&T coach Francisco Maturana.
“The future of T&T football is bright”, these were the words of T&T skipper Dwight Yorke, following this country’s historic 2-1 over USA on Wednesday night at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo. After a well contested but even first, veterans Russell Latapy and Dwight Yorke each scored in the second period to lift the local team past our soccer nemesis.
T&T had never before beaten the US in a competitive match; the win in 1994 was a friendly international. Wednesday’s triumph came at a critical time; with only five points secured prior to this match and T&T trailing Guatemala on goal difference for a spot in the next round. The evergreen duo of Yorke and Latapy, with a combined age of 77, have been re-introduced into the team and made a world of difference.
“The young players have lots of talent and drive, but they need guidance and leadership; that is where guys like us come in”, said the Captain. Yorke and Latas lead from the front and completely turned around the team performance from the embarrassing drubbing suffered in Foxborough three weeks ago. But Yorke credits the victory to maturity and dedication of all the players. “Give credit to the players for showing spirit and fight, in Guatemala on Saturday with 10 men and tonight (Wednesday) facing the Americans when they equalized. The players kept their heads and kept in the games” said Yorke.
The skipper believes the victory was only a matter of time as T&T football is definitely maturing to a level where we can compete against the Americans and other world football powers. “in the past the US was a better organized team, T&T always had the talent now we are becoming more organized and better performances are still to come” he said.
Coach Francisco Maturana was extremely pleased after the match. He congratulated the team for its effort and on the triumph. Maturana has come in for heavy criticism in recent times for his tactics and team selection, but now has the scalp of CONCACAF’s top team to put on his resume. He heaped praise on his veteran stars, “In this game we saw more than just the result, Yorke and Latapy are an example to young players and youth in general.” Maturana was especially impressed with the Little Magician, whose services he has only recently enlisted. “Latapy is a player out of this world. He is a great sportsman and a great professional. His approach to the game is fantastic.”