T&T's senior women's team will face an uphill task to qualify for the next Women's World Cup after going down 3-0 to Panama in its Pool B opener of the CONCACAF Women's Championship at the Sahlen's Stadium in Cary, North Carolina, USA, last night.
With their preparations for the final stage of the qualifiers swamped by controversy, the Tasha St Louis-led T&T women had little room for error against the Central Americans and needed a positive start.
However, it was Panama which struck early through Marta Cox in the 12th minute to lead 1-0 at the half-time interval.
Six minutes after the restart, striker Kayla Taylor, one of three players to join the team on the eve on its opener and T&T's top scorer in the Caribbean Championship in Jamaica last month, was brought on by coach Shawn Cooper to get his team back in the match.
But it was the Central Americans who doubled their advantage via Kenia Rangel in the 68th minute. Then in a strange substitution, defender Rhea Belgrave was then introduced at the expense of Jenelle Cunningham in the 70th minute.
With T&T needing goals at the other end of the field to get back into the contest Ayanna Russell replaced Karyn Forbes but once again the move backfired as Panama got a third at the death through Erika Hernandez, to kill off the contest and leave T&T needing to beat Mexico in their second match on Sunday, and the USA on Wednesday, to have any chance of qualifying to the next phase of the competition.
Trinidad and Tobago: 1.Kimika Forbes (GK); 8.Patrice Superville, 5.Arin King, 13.Jenelle Cunningham (4.Rhea Belgrave 70), 7.Jonelle Cato; 11.Janine Francois, 14.Karyn Forbes (2.Ayana Russell 84), 10.Tasha St Louis (captain); 9.Liana Hinds (12.Kayla Taylor 50), 3.Mariah Shade, 19.Kennya Cordner.
Unused substitutes: 20.Saundra Baron (GK), 6.Natasha St Louis, 15.Shenelle Henry, 17.Lauryn Hutchinson.
Unavailable: Shadi Stoute, Naomie Guerra.
Coach: Shawn Cooper
Panama: 1.Yenith Bailey (GK); 4.Katherine Lineth Castillo, 2.Hilary Jaen, 5.Yomira Pinzón, 3.Maria Murillo; 6.Aldrith Quintero, 8.Laurie Batista; 11.Natalia Mills (captain) (13.Onelys Alvarado 82), 7.Kenia Rangel (18.Erika Hernandez 87); 10.Marta Cox (19.Lineth Cedeño 80), 9.Karla Riley.
Unused substitutes: 12.Farissa Córdoba (GK), 14.Maryorie Pérez, 15.Rebeca Espinosa, 16.Sheyla Díaz, 17.Anuvis Angulo, 20.María Montenegro.
Coach: Victor Suárez
Panama cruise past T&T in CONCACAF Champs.
By Joel Bailey (Newsday).
PANAMA cruised past T&T 3-0 yesterday afternoon, in the opening game of Group A, in the CONCACAF Women’s Championship, at WakeMed Soccer Park, Cary, North Carolina, United States.
Marta Cox, Kenia Villarreal and Erika Hernandez were the goal-scorers for Panama.
T&T had a challenging preparation for this Championship, and Panama were in no mood to show any mercy to their opponents.
Cox opened the scoring in the 12th minute, benefitting from lazy defending from the T&T team.
Villarreal took on T&T right-back Patrice Superville before finding Cox who, in turn, passed to captain Natalia Mills on the right. Mills went past left-back Jonelle Cato before returning the ball to Cox to slot home from eight metres out.
T&T striker Kennya Cordner had a glorious opportunity to tie the scores, nine minutes later, when she shrugged off the challenge of defender Hilary Jean but was unable to beat the diving Yenith Bailey in the Panama goal.
Striker Kayla Taylor, who joined the T&T team yesterday morning after visa problems, came on for midfielder Liana Hinds in the 50th.
The Shawn Cooper-coached team had two chances to equalise, in the space of five minutes.
In the 53rd, striker Mariah Shade had a speculative shot from the right which struck the crossbar, and Cordner met the rebound with a header which went straight at Bailey.
And Bailey had to count her lucky stars after a freekick from the right by Taylor went through her grasp, between her legs and inches past the right post. T&T pushed players forward and left gaps in the back, which was exploited by the Central Americans in the 68th.
Mills chased a ball down the right flank, played it behind to Cox who whipped in a cross, which was missed by Karla Riley, but Villarreal, on the second attempt, hit the ball past a beleaguered Forbes.
And Panama wrapped up the scoring in the 89th courtesy substitute Hernandez, who slotted the ball into an open net, after Forbes was unable to stop a right-sided cross from Katherine Castillo. Hosts US were locked in battle against Mexico up to press time last evening.
Group B action will get going today with Costa Rica meeting Cuba at 6 pm and Canada tackling Jamaica at 8.30 pm. The top two teams in each group will advance to the semi-finals, with the finalists, and third-placed team, guaranteed spots at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
On Sunday, T&T will square off against Mexico at 7.30 pm, following the match-up between US and Panama.