Trinidad and Tobago’s 2019 Gold Cup campaign got off to a disappointing start in Minnesota on Tuesday night as they went down 2-0 to Panama at the Allianz Field.
T&T actually had the first real attack on goal with a play down the right but couldn’t finish off as they would have hoped. Levi Garcia has a couple good moments in attack but had nothing to show for it.
Moments before half time skipper Khaleem Hyland saw volley flash inches wide of the upright as both teams laboured to a 0-0 scoreline going into the break.
The breakthrough for Panama came in the 53rd minute. Panama had possession in the final third where Gabriel Torres sent a delicate pass through to Armando Cooper. The veteran attacking midfielder calmly cut by onrushing Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Marvin Phillip, before slotting home to put his side ahead. The play started when Hyland gave up possession in his team’s half.
Fifteen minutes later, after a phenomenal double-save from Phillip, a third Panama chance fell to Edgar Barcenas. Phillip managed to get a hand to the close-range effort, but could not prevent Panama from doubling their tally.
Head Coach Dennis Lawrence introduced Joevin Jones in the second half as T&T tried to get themselves back into the game. Jones’ delivery from the left caused problems in the box for Panama but they then broke away leading to the second goal. Kevin Molino came close late on but couldn’t get the final touch right as Luis Mejia raced off his line to stop the effort. Next up on Saturday, T&T will face United States which got past Guyana 4-0 in Tuesday’s second match.
Lawrence said after the match that T&T paid the price by conceding two goals due to lapses.
“I didn’t feel it was much in the game. The two critical moments in the game – Our effort, we gave the ball and we got caught and the second one us is almost scoring and then getting done in transition,”Lawrence said in the post-game press conference.
“So two soft goals to give away. We have dug ourselves in a bit of a hole now which means we have to start thinking about getting two wins from the next two games. That’s international football. If you don’t take your chances and you give away sloppy possession you can get hurt. Panama has got quality players that can do that to you. We now need to recover very quickly. Pull away from all the negatives and go onto to the next game.”
Trinidad and Tobago: 1.Marvin Phillip (GK); 16.Alvin Jones, 2.Aubrey David, 5.Daneil Cyrus, 17.Mekeil Williams; 19.Kevan George (23.Leston Paul 65′), 8.Khaleem Hyland (captain); 10.Kevin Molino, 20.Jomal Williams (3.Joevin Jones 65′); 11.Levi Garcia,13.Nathan Lewis (7.Cordell Cato 82′),
Subs not used – 21.Greg Ranjitsingh (GK), 22.Adrian Foncette (GK), 4.Neveal Hackshaw, 6.Duane Muckette, 9.Shahdon Winchester, 12.Carlyle Mitchell, 14.Akeem Humphrey, 15.Curtis Gonzales, 18.Lester Peltier.
Head coach: Dennis Lawrence
Panama (4-4-2): 1.Luis Mejia (GK); 23.Michael Murillo, 3.Harold Cummings, 5.Roman Torres (captain), 15.Eric Davis, 4.Fidel Escobar, 19.Albert Quintero (21.Omar Browne 88′), 10.Edgar Barcenas, 11.Armando Cooper, 17.Jose Fajardo (20.Ernesto Walker 78′), 9.Gabriel Torres (18.Abdiel Arroyo 84′);
Unused substitutes: 12.Jose Calderon (GK), 22.Orlando Mosquera (GK), 2.Francisco Palacios, 6.Kevin Galvan, 7.Jose Rodriguez, 8.Marcos Sanchez, 13.Adolfo Machado, 14.Valentin Pimentel, 16.Rolando Blackburn.
Head coach: Julio Valdes
Post Match Press Conference - Lawrence speaks after Panama loss
Panama (2) vs. Trinidad and Tobago (0) - Gold Cup 2019
P W D L F A Pts
USA 1 1 0 0 4 0 3
Panama 1 1 0 0 2 0 3
T&T 1 0 0 1 0 2 0
Guyana 1 0 0 1 0 4 0
Panama outplays Soca Warriors 2-0.
By Walter Alibey (Guardian).
Two second-half goals by Armando Cooper in the 52nd and Edgar Barcenas in the 68th minute for Panama, confined T&T to its first defeat 2-0 in Group D of the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the United States on Tuesday night.
The result now means that the Soca Warriors will have to get a result each when they face the host in their second match on Saturday, and then four days later when they take on regional rivals Guyana.
Despite a quick start by the T&T team at the Allianz Field in Minnesota, USA, in the early moments, the result appeared to have been only a matter of time, once the Panamanians settled and dominated the match.
Nathan Lewis twice in the first half used his speed to telling effect down the right flank, but on both occasions his attempt to pick out Jomal Williams was broken down by the quick intervention of defender Fidel Escobar. Soon after, Levi Garcia, on one of his sweeping runs at the Panama defence, tried to thread one to Lewis, but it was again intercepted by the steady defence. Panama's inability to hit the target prevented any chance they had of taking the advantage at the half and the teams went to the break with the scores at 0-0.
However, at the resumption the Panamanians quickly picked up from where they left off and were rewarded for their possession.
Cooper found himself at the end of another neat build-up inside the T&T penalty area and despite the challenge by skipper Khaleem Hyland, Cooper raced past the advancing TT goalie Marvin Phillips, before slotting the ball into an empty goal for the lead.
Moments later, the Panamanians were unlucky not to score again in the 61st minute from another sweeping build-up that saw Gabriel Torres release to an unmarked Escobar. But Escobar's thumping shot from some 20 yards out was pushed wide by Philips.
T&T, who were bogged down by the midfielders' inability to be creative in the centre, coupled with the defenders' reluctance to supply the passes when they were in possession of the ball, created little goal-scoring opportunities.
Still, Garcia had the Panama defence backing when he cut in from the left side on to his unfavourable right foot, before hitting high over the bars.
But the Panamanians later sealed the win despite the brilliance of Philips. Torres, who was picked out unmarked on the left side, eluded his marker and released a thunderous right-footer that Philips somehow dived low to keep out. He then kept out a blistering drive from Cooper on the rebound, but could not stop Barcenas from putting the ball into an open net before the reaction of any T&T defender.