Molino obviously makes T&T tick, and when he’s on the field, everything runs through him. But with no Molino, Keron Cummings has become the Soca Warriors fiery midfielder.
Over the past five T&T matches, Cummings scored three goals and racked up four assists. All of his goals were against CONCACAF top team Mexico, while three of his four assist also came against the “Mighty Mexicans”.
Everald “Gally” were the last Cummings to have scored a double against Mexico in a 4-0 thrashing in Port of Prince, Haiti, that sent the North Americans crashing out of the 1974 World Cup, though no relation, Keron has perfected his rich vein of bloodline that follows his namesake.
When up to it, Cummings (K), has a left-foot that is priceless, he can unlock any defence and forced referees to swallow their whistles. Tactically, for most of his time with T&T, Cummings has been a counterbalance to T&T star-striker Kenwyne Jones. His job description from coach Hart was essentially “exploit the defence for paying too much attention to the best player (Kenwyne) on the side.”
Stay wide on the left wing, and when the defence collapses onto Jones, go beat the offside trap, show up toward the back post, and trust that he’ll find you with one of his gorgeous, magical, physics-bending, half-chip, half-cross assists.
As we’re seeing now, Cummings is an elite attacking centrepiece. And without Molino, he’s doing a lot of the things that T&T need out of a superstar.
Eventually, Molino will come back, probably just in time for T&T's 2016 World Cup qualifying matches in March. And when that happens, Cummings will likely shift back into his more-supportive, less-ball-centric role, or will he?
Ironically, after a successful trial spell, Cummings will more than likely sign a contract with Molino's club Orlando City in January when the transfer window re-opens as he relishes the chance to line-up alongside the T&T number 10 for both club and country.
As T&T ponder their long-term future — one in which a 25-year-old Molino, coming back from a season long injury eventually and inevitably evolves into a role that places fewer physical demands on his body — the past few months has provided an exciting glimpse of what might happen if Cummings takes a bigger share of the load.
“Cummings has come into the squad mainly as a 10 and is one of those players that brings composure in the final third. He also has the ability to deliver the final pass and has good shooting ability from outside the box, he can also finish, head coach Stephen Hart told SWO.”
“Overall his game is developing quite well in terms of International football, he needs to improve his work rate off the ball and in all fairness to him he is concentrating better and working hard at it. Overall, he has to make himself difficult to mark and be more mobile once we win possession.”
“I like a very mobile player to play-off the front runners. By front runners, I mean the striker and two wide players, Molino was very good at it. One, we win it, gets free and look to get it and move it forward quickly. I am encouraging Cummings to roam across the entire face of the goal, stay in contact with the striker and be available to link up and arrive in the box.”
“As for Molino return and how it will work remains to be seen. I use players according to the opposition. If both can be in the squad to attack the opposition weaknesses, then I will do so, but it's a matter of adaptability and flexibility.”
“It's a headache I welcome, added Hart.”
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