Mexico (3W-1D-0L, 10 points) remained on course for a berth at Russia 2018 with a 1-0 win over host Trinidad & Tobago (1-0-3, 3) in a CONCACAF final round qualifier on Tuesday.
Diego Reyes struck for the only goal in the second half, meaning that the Tricolor will finish the evening atop the six-team table regardless of the Panama-USA result later in the evening. T&T is in the last place and won’t have another opportunity to climb the ladder until the schedule resumes in June.
Fans at Hasely Crawford Stadium reveled in the 32nd minute, when T&T’s Joevin Jones fired the ball into the back of the net from 10 yards. The celebrations were cut short, however, after the goal was disallowed for offside.
A right-footed blast from outside the box by Hector Herrera nearly gave Mexico the lead two minutes into the second half, but the ball ricocheted off the right post.
That miss led to Reyes’ first-ever international goal in the 58th minute. Miguel Layun delivered an out-swinging corner kick from the right that the 24-year-old center back headed home authoritatively off the lifted left hand of goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams.
Mexico is only unbeaten team in CONCACAF qualifying with an overall record of 8-2-0, while T&T was shutout for third time in its last five WCQ outings.
Trinidad and Tobago: 21.Jan-Michael Williams; 2.Aubrey David, 25.Curtis Gonzales, 5.Daneil Cyrus, 17.Mekeil Williams; 19.Kevan George, 8.Khaleem Hyland (14.Andre Boucaud 65th); 7.Cordell Cato (15.Willis Plaza 80th), 10.Kevin Molino (Yellow55), 3.Joevin Jones; 9.Kenwyne Jones (capt) (20.Jamille Boatswain 65th).
Unused substitutes: 1.Marvin Phillip (GK), 22.Glenroy Samuel (GK), 4.Sheldon Bateau, 6.Radanfah Abu Bakr, 11.Carlos Edwards, 12.Hashim Arcia, 13.Hughtun Hector, 16.Levi Garcia, 23.Leston Paul.
Coach: Dennis Lawrence
Mexico: 12.Alfredo Talavera; 3.Carlos Salcedo (Yellow 62) (17.Jesus Gallardo 66th), 2.Nestor Araujo, 15.Hector Morena (capt), 22.Luis Reyes (Yellow 80); 5.Diego Reyes (21.Orbelin Pineda 74th), 23.Jesus Molina; 9.Raul Jimenez (11.Carlos Vela 56th), 16.Hector Herrera, 7.Miguel Layun; 14.Javier Hernandez.
Unused substitutes: 1.Jesus Corona (GK), 13.Guillermo Ochoa (GK), 6.Oswaldo Alanis, 8.Jonathan Dos Santos, 10.Luis Nontes, 18.Elias Hernandez, 19.Oribe Peralta, 20.Jesus Duenas.
Coach: Juan Carlos Osorio
Referee: Valdin Legister (Jamaica).
Honduras 1 v Costa Rica 1.
Trinidad and Tobago 0 v Mexico 1.
Panama 1 v USA 1.
P W D L F A Pts - (+)
Mexico 4 3 1 0 5 1 10 (+4)
Costa Rica 4 2 1 1 7 3 7 (+4)
Panama 4 1 2 1 2 2 5 (0)
United States 4 1 1 2 8 7 4 (1)
Honduras 4 1 1 2 4 9 4 (-5)
Trinidad & Tobago 4 1 0 3 2 6 3 (-4)
8 June 2017 (home team listed first)
United States v Trinidad & Tobago, TBA
Costa Rica v Panama, Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica
Mexico v Honduras, Estadio Azteca
11 June 2017 (home team listed first)
Mexico v United States, Estadio Azteca
13 June 2017 (home team listed first)
Panama v Honduras, Estadio Rommel Fernández
Costa Rica v Trinidad and Tobago, Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica
Post-Match Press Conference with Dennis Lawrence - T&T vs Mexico
T&T vs Mexico World Cup Qualifier Highlights
Kenwyne Jones Post-Match - We Still have to keep the belief
Cordell Cato's Post Match Comments - T&T Vs Mexico
Post Match Press Conference - Juan Carlos Osorio - T&T vs Mexico
Refereeing clanger leaves Warriors bottom of Hex, as Joevin denied in 1-0 loss to Mexico.
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com).
Dennis Lawrence tasted his first defeat as a head coach tonight as Trinidad and Tobago were edged 1-0 by Mexico in Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
The result meant that the Soca Warriors dropped to the bottom of the CONCACAF Hex for the first time in this qualifying series with four matches played and six remaining. Mexico, on the other hand, are three points clear at the top now and sitting pretty with their next two fixtures at the formidable Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.
By mid-June, “El Tricolor” could book their place for the next World Cup, which is some achievement considering that they needed a FIFA play-off tussle with New Zealand to sneak into the Brazil 2014 party.
Yet, the margin of victory was razor-thin tonight. One scandalous offside decision by Jamaican referee’s assistant, Richard Washington, and one instance of dozy defending by the Warriors backline made the difference.
Joevin Jones’ 32nd minute rocket was not given for Trinidad and Tobago while Diego Reyes’ thumping header in the 57th minute stood for the North American visitors. And it meant the Warriors’ third defeat from four matches.
The roughly 19,000 spectators present could seek solace in the fact that Mexico knew they were in a game. Joevin terrorised either full-back while the local-based central defensive pairing of Daneil Cyrus and Curtis Gonzales again did not look out of place—ably protected once more by midfield destroyer Kevan George.
And record-chasing Mexico forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez had a barren night.
But it might have been better. Mexico had not won in Port-of-Spain for 12 years and their last two trips here ended in a defeat and a draw in 2005 and 2009 respectively.
Tonight, Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio made five changes to the starting team that downed Costa Rica 2-0 in Mexico City last Friday, with only veteran defender Juan Marquez’s absence down to injury.
The pair of holding midfielders, Jesus Molina and Reyes, were arguably introduced to provide more height to defend against Trinidad and Tobago captain Kenwyne Jones and company from set pieces. Presumably, the other adjustments were meant to offer fresh legs for the visitors.
In contrast, Trinidad and Tobago made just one adjustment with Aubrey David replacing 38-year-old veteran Carlos Edwards at right-back.
Lawrence’s decision to leave Sheldon Bateau, Levi Garcia, Andre Boucaud and Radanfah Abu Bakr on the substitutes’ bench—all four of them are active for their respective clubs—was all the more surprising giving that six of the Warriors’ starting XI, including goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams and three of the back four, are either in pre-season or post-season.
Of course, thanks to GPS technology, Lawrence doesn’t have to guess as to the precise physical condition of his players—unlike his predecessor Stephen Hart—and there was little sign that his faith in Cyrus and Gonzales was misplaced.
The first half-hour was fairly even with Mexico captain Hector Moreno threatening with a header following a set piece while Hector Herrera hit a free shot wide from 20 yards. And, at the other end, Joevin tested opposing goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera with one teasing cross while Kevin Molino offered the Mexican custodian some catching practice with a low, angled effort straight at him.
Then, in the 32nd minute, came the first flashpoint. Molino picked up the ball on the counter and slipped it into Joevin’s stride to his left. And the Seattle Sounders wing-back sent a spanking left-footed effort past Talavera.
Jamaican referee’s assistant Richard Washington had his flag up early, though, and his compatriot, Valdin Legister, disallowed the item for offside. It was a terrible decision by the Jamaican pair. So much for the benefits of Caribbean free movement.
Goalless at the end of the half, the Warriors took some time to settle in after the resumption.
Just one minute into the second half, Herrera rapped the far post with a low effort from a ridiculous angle. And, in the 55th minute, Molino was incensed by a comment from Hernandez and got himself booked as players from both teams squared off angrily in the middle of the field.
The mood was still tetchy as Mexico won a corner kick, in the 57th minute and Osorio took the opportunity to introduce former Arsenal attacker Carlos Vela.
For an instant, Trinidad and Tobago minds might have wandered off. And the damage was done. Gonzales spotted the danger in Reyes’ run too late, as the defensive midfielder met Miguel Layun’s corner kick with a powerful header that flew past Williams at his near post.
It was the first goal conceded by Lawrence’s team in 237 minutes of football.
The Warriors tried to claw their way back as Joevin stepped on the accelerator. Mexican right-back Carlos Salcedo was booked for a desperate grab on the former W Connection attacker in the 61st minute while, 10 minutes later, left back Luis Reyes also saw yellow for hauling down the Trinidad and Tobago winger.
But Trinidad and Tobago were not making up much ground otherwise. Molino was crowded out and forced to the fringes of the action while substitute Jamille Boatswain, who replaced Kenwyne Jones in the 65th minute, was totally ineffective.
Forward Willis Plaza, who entered the fray in the 80th minute, did add some bite. But Lawrence’s substitutions thus far have not worked well nearly as well as his starting teams.
Encouragingly, the Warriors fought to the last whistle. But it was not enough, as they slumped to the bottom of the Hex.
Trinidad and Tobago’s next two outings are away as they travel to the United States on 8 June and then to Costa Rica on 13 June. Neither nation holds good memories for the Warriors as visitors. But failure to pick up a point or two would be disastrous.
Even if Trinidad and Tobago contrived to win their remaining home fixtures against Honduras and the United States, it would not be enough to get to Russia unless they can also snatch three to six points on the road.
From here on in, it is do or die.
Robbery on the road - Mexico fortunate to escape T&T with 3 points.
By Jon Arnold (Goal.com).
Juan Carlos Osorio's changes from the win over Costa Rica were unimpressive, and a key call went El Tri's way as they took the away win.
Earlier this week, a Honduras player said his team wasn't going to hide after a poor result. In his mind, that would only be necessary if he'd committed a robbery or other crime.
Mexico may want to lay low for a while.
The 1-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago in Port of Spain wasn't a smash-and-grab result, but it may have been petty theft. The team definitely escaped with a result — one it might not have earned. Luck, or the assistant referee, smiled on El Tri and the team leaves with six points from this window's two matches. Mexico's 10 points also keep the team atop the Hexagonal stage of World Cup qualifying.
"Today was a game where we had to roll up our sleeves and work for it, and the guys understood that," Osorio said at his postmatch news conference. "All in all, I think the plan gave us really good results. The national team continues winning, the guys continue contributing and we continue putting together a really good team that in every scenario shows that it deserves to win."
Joevin Jones had the ball in Alfredo Talavera's net in the 32nd minute but was ruled offside, though it appeared he was at worst level with Nestor Araujo when the pass was struck. Mexico got a break with its goal as well. That's not to take anything away from Miguel Layun's gorgeous service or Diego Reyes' header to score, but other chances in the match were few and far between.
There are going to be matches like this in the Hex, in which playing surfaces and conditions and atmospheres in the stadiums can create uncomfortable situations for visiting sides. However, in many ways, Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio brought this difficulty upon himself.
Worried about the Soca Warriors' height and speed, Osorio put out a conservative lineup with Diego Reyes and Jesus Molina in the middle and dropped Carlos Vela, one of the team's sparks.
And after praising Hector Herrera for being able to play centrally, he moved him up, between the defensive midfielders and the forwards. The player never plugged into the match, hitting the post with an individual effort but failing to create the same chances for others that he did as Mexico comprehensively topped Costa Rica four days earlier.
We know Osorio has faith in his methods, but at times he needs to put more faith in his players. The result was earned either way, but it could've come easier had Mexico simply rolled out and played the same brand of soccer it did at home. The coach is right to respect every opponent, and his preparation that goes into each game is admirable. But sometimes in CONCACAF, you really can ride your talent advantage to three points.
"It's really tough to play pretty football on these types of fields and these types of opponents," center back Hector Moreno said after the game. "I think the team tried to do it, but also you have to be ready because because, it's happened to us in the past, the last games against Trinidad and Tobago were 3-3 and 4-4. So we knew that it was important to keep a clean sheet and after that look for a goal on a play, and we got it."
Mexico is sitting pretty at the moment. The type of crisis that plagued the team in the last cycle has been averted. Osorio has led the team to seven points in three away matches. El Tri will qualify for the World Cup — that much seems clear. But a better team than a Trinidad and Tobago side still getting accustomed to new coach Dennis Lawrence would've been able to see out a result Tuesday.
Mexico will be facing those teams in Russia. Mexico will be facing those teams in June when it hosts Honduras and the United States.
Osorio has plenty to think about before then, though he may not want to overthink things. Many of his critics have charged him with that "crime" before, but Tuesday night they were right.
Soca Warriors fade.
T&T Guardian Reports.
A single goal from defender Diego Reyes in the 57th minute earned Mexico all three points on the road against a fighting T&T Soca Warriors in their FIFA/Concacaf World Cup qualifier at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, last night.
But T&T may feel cheated by a dubious offside call by Jamaican referee Valdin Legister that prevented them from going ahead in the first half of the match, and perhaps a possible win or at least a share of the points.
After absorbing relentless Mexican pressure, midfielder Khaleem Hyland, the architect of a neat T&T build-up, found Joevin Jones unmarked in the area and he made no mistake, beating goalkeeper Afredo Talavera with a powerful left-footed drive that nestled into the roof of the Mexico net. But Legister spoiled the party by blowing offside.
Instead, it was Mexico who were later celebrating early in the second half when Reyes raced inside the T&T area to meet a left-side corner sweetly on the head and steer the ball past Jan-Michael Williams into the top left corner.
The Mexicans expectedly settled early and felt they should have scored when Caros Salcedo lifted a pin-point pass to captain Hector Herrera inside the area in the eighth minute and with only the keeper to beat, Herrera hit a weak header to the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Williams.
When the hosts found their confidence, a neat build-up from the right-side by Hyland found Jones on the left, but the speedy player cut inside and hit a weak shot that failed to trouble the Mexico custodian in the 15th minute. As play continued the teams traded opportunities, but both defences proved equal to the task as the teams closed the first session of play without a goal to show for their efforts.
At the resumption, Mexico continued their dominance with the ball and really should have scored when Javier Hernandez was fed a through ball inside the box. But he lost his footing as a sliding Williams put in a strong challenge.
Hernandez was guilty of many missed chances from similar plays in the time that followed.
Coach Dennis Lawrence later brought on Jamille Boatswain and Andre Boucaud as replacements for skipper Kenwyne Jones and Hyland in an attempt to salvage a point from the contest, but a steady Mexican defence prevented all attacks at goal.
Only Jones (Joevin) was given a last-ditch chance from a free kick at the top the box, but his attempt deflected off the wall before being cleared to safety.
Going into the back-to-back matches against Panama and the Mexicans, coach Lawrence had aimed at four points, but he got three from Friday’s 1-0 victory against Panama at the same venue.