Trinidad and Tobago national senior football team suffered another humiliating defeat this time to Panama as the Soca Warriors went down 3-0 to the Central Americans at the Rommel Fernandez Stadium in Panama on Tuesday.
Fresh from its 3-1 home defeat to the Reggae Boyz last month, T&T again started off the lackluster side and produced a terrible football display, especially in the first half.
Interim Panama coach Jorge Dely made no mistakes leaving many of his regular players on the bench, as he looked at new faces for next year's Central American Championship.
Jan-Michael Williams kept hope alive in the 9th minute as he saved a penalty which he caused when he brought down Edwin Aguilar in the box, after the striker beat T&T’s off-side trap.
However, Panama took the lead as early as the 14th minute when striker Edwin Aguilar turned in the box beating Daneil Cyrus and Aklie Edwards while leaving goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams for dead as he placed his shot in the far corner of the net, 1-0 ...P-a-n-a-m-a.
There wasn't much action to report from T&T during the first half period, apart from a 16th minute Kern Cupid freekick which sailed over the bar; and some darting runs by one of T&T's hardworking midfielder Kevon Carter, who teamed up well with his Defence Force teammate Devon Jorsling.
Oh yeah... I almost forgot, Aklie Edward. Of all the T&T players Aklie came the closest to a goal, an own goal. When late in the first half the leftback missed his own net by inches as he tried to clear a through pass from Aguilar to Torres on the flank. Credit to the leftback though, he did come to the rescue.
All was not done and dusted for Latapy's men though, as they started off the second half with a little more purposed and should have equalized in the 57th minute when Jones sent in a perfect cross from the left only for Marcano to head the ball high over bar.
In the end the Warriors were fruitless and had to settle for a 3-0 defeat from a side that has never beaten the Warriors by such a large margin. This was also the first time T&T have not scored a single goal in a game against Panama since 2001.
Evergreen striker Luis Tejada entered the match in the 67th minute and it took only eight minutes for him to find the back of the net when he scored from a defensive error in the 75th. Defender Roman Torres toyed with the T&T defense as they failed to clear the ball in the box before Tejada latched on to it and slapped his shot pass Phillip.
Gabriel Gomez closed the door on T&T from the penalty spot in the 87th as former U-20 defender Daneil Cyrus was wrongly accused for pushing one of the Panamanian attackers in the box. Cyrus was subsequently yellow carded while Gomez made no mistake this time with a cheap chip past Phillip.
In the 91st minute T&T would get one last chance at goal when Trent Noel almost knocked-out the Panamanian goalkeeper, José Calderón with a powerful free-kick, but that was all she wrote for the Warriors as they now move onto their next game against lowly 180th FIFA ranked - Belize. In spite of this below par performance, special mention should be made of Ataullah Guerra and debutant Joevin Jones, who both came in and made some positive contributions.
One can only now hope that after a string of dismal performances by the local contingent, Latapy will finally call in some US-based players to beef up his team (particularly the defense) in time for the Digicel Cup. Players such as Osei Telsford, Yohance Marshall, Julius James, Chris Birchall, Scott Sealy, locally based center-back Robert Primus and even UK based Andre Boucaud (who recently revealed his eagerness to return to the fold) are all viable options.
So far T&T is not playing with a game plan. There is no fluid passing whatsoever from this team and they are very disorganized in defense. Latapy, who stated that he intended on sticking with the same players after the Jamaica defeat last month and is of the notion that T&T can win the Digicel Cup with an all local squad; should reconsider his assessment or maybe T&T’s U-17 coach Pellerud could help sort things out.
As coach Latapy’s record stands at; 3 wins (St Kitts, El Salvador and Antigua), one draw against Mexico and eight losses. For the longest, the diminutive T&T coach has wanted the opportunity to see what level T&T is at. Those of us who cannot stomach another trashing can only hope he has gotten his answers by now. Onto Belize for a confidence booster or at least, we hope so. As fans were are not just focused on getting results, but we would also like to see some good organized and constructive football.
Trinidad & Tobago: - 21.Jan-Michael Williams (1.Marvin Phillip 46th); 5.Kern Cupid, 19.Daneil Cyrus, 6.Keston Williams, 3.Aklie Edwards (14.Joevin Jones 46th); 8.Trent Noel (capt), 10.Hayden Tinto, 18.Densil Theobald (12.Kareem Young 77th), 11.Kevon Carter (2.Ataullah Guerra 56th); 13.Jason Marcano (4.Kerry Baptiste 70th), 9.Devon Jorsling.
Coach: - Russell Latapy.
Panama: - 18.José Calderón; 5.Román Torres (capt) (Nelson Barahona 88th), 13.Adolfo Machado, 4.Martín Gómez (Luis Henríquez 52nd), 2.Harold Cumings; 21.Amílcar Henríquez, 19.Ricardo Buitrago (Alberto Quintero 81st), 20.Eduardo Jiménez (Jairo Yao 67th), 14.Eybar Bonaga (6.Gabriel Gómez 60th); 23.Luis Rentería (18.Luis Tejada 67th), 9.Edwin Aguilar.
Coach: - Jorge Dely.
ATT: - 5,211.
Video: - Highlights.