T&T's senior men’s team will play their final warm-up before the start of the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign with a closed-door friendly against Canada at the Titan Stadium in Cal State Fullerton, USA at 3 pm (6 pm TT time) on Monday.
Both teams have been engaged in training in Los Angeles for the past few days and are fine-tuning ahead of the opening Gold Cup matches. T&T faces Panama in Minnesota on June 18th with the Canadians taking on Martinique on June 15th at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
Canada’s head coach John Herdman has selected a 23-man roster with players totalling 400 caps. Their squad includes uncapped Noble Okello and Kamal Miller joining veterans 36-year-old Atiba Hutchinson, Jonathan Osorio, Russell Teibert, Samuel Piette and Milan Borjan. Others returning from the 2017 Gold Cup are captain Scott Arfield, Lucas Cavallini, Maxime Crepeau, Alphonso Davies, Junior Hoilett, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Cyle Larin and Jayson Leutwiler. Davies, an 18-year-old attacking midfielder with Bayern Munich, was named to the 2017 tournament all-star team and winner of the Top Scorer and Best Young Player awards.
"All of the players we wanted on the roster and needed on the roster stepped forward. I think that's exciting," Herdman said in an interview.
Meanwhile, T&T has nine returning players from its last Gold Cup appearance in 2015 - Goalkeepers Marvin Phillip and Adrian Foncette, Daneil Cyrus, Mekeil Williams, skipper Khaleem Hyland, Kevan George, Cordell Cato and Joevin Jones. Minnesota United midfielder Kevin Molino played in the 2013 Gold Cup but missed out in 2015 due to injury.
Both teams have met twice dating back to 2000 with the previous match also being a closed-door friendly at Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, USA with Canada coming away 2-0 winners in 2012. Prior to that T&T won a 2002 World Cup qualifier 4-0 at the Queen’s Park Oval in September of 2000. The goalscorers then were Russell Latapy, Stokely Mason, Angus Eve and Reynold Carrington before a sold-out Oval. T&T also won the earlier semi-final round World Cup qualifier that year 2-0 in Edmonton with Dwight Yorke and Eve on target, Current T&T head coach Dennis Lawrence saw action in that match.
Hyland expects the match to be a keenly contested one.
“It’s an important match because it is our final actual game situation before the Gold Cup starts,” Hyland told TTFA Media. “We’ve been working hard for the past few weeks and the Japan game was a good test to see where we at right now. And I expect this match with Canada to give us another good indication of our current ready state before the Panama game. I know the players are ready and hopefully we can benefit from this match which will be worthwhile to the preparations before we head to Minnesota,” he added.