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Mar 23, 2024; Frisco, Texas, USA; Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Denzil Smith (22) and midfielder Neveal Hackshaw (15) leap for the ball while Canada forward Ike Ugbo (12) and forward Cyle Larin (9) look on during the first half at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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TRINIDAD and Tobago’s men’s football team’s dreams of advancing to the 2024 Conmebol Copa America tournament were dashed on Saturday, when they fell to a 2-0 loss to Canada in their one-off play-in match at the Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

With the winner of the high-stakes encounter earning a spot in group A of the Copa America tournament alongside Chile, Peru and reigning World Cup champions Argentina, a lot was on the line in a physical battle that saw the teams going into halftime scoreless.

As expected, T&T coach Angus Eve set his team up in a defensive 5-4-1 shape, with Shannon Gomez and Andre Raymond operating as wing backs, and the returning Ajani Fortune the closest midfielder to lone striker Levi Garcia on the attacking front. T&T conceded a total of 14 corners in the encounter. But from open play, the Soca Warriors seemed to have a fair measure of the opposing attack as they created few glaring opportunities from the run of play.

In fact, the Greek-based Garcia arguably had the best chance for either team in the first period after being released by a searching Fortune pass in the 18th minute. On his favoured left foot, though, Garcia sent his low shot agonisingly wide of Maxime Crepeau’s goal. Garcia also had a chance to grab an elusive goal for T&T late in the second half, but his spurned first-half effort was his team’s best opening in the game.

With Bayern Munich flanker Alphonso Davies at the heart of the majority of Canada’s play, they tried their best to break the Soca Warriors down with clever combination plays in the final third. Tajon Buchanan blazed an effort over the bar after being teed up by Davies, while dangerous forward Jonathan David curled a right-footed shot just wide of the mark after receiving a pass from the Bayern Munich wide man in the 22nd minute.

Four minutes later, Canadian striker Cyle Larin sent a tame effort on goal after neat play down the left side. David then forced a fine save from Soca Warriors custodian Denzil Smith with a firm drive from long range in the 28th minute as Fifa’s 50th-ranked team threatened to break T&T’s resistance.

The Warriors’ game plan of exploiting Garcia’s pace on the break was evident, and at the half, they could have considered the job half-done.

Just two minutes into the second half, T&T got another good chance when Raymond flashed a left-footed shot wide of the mark after winning possession in Canada’s defensive third.

After surviving a scare when defender Alvin Jones headed a goalbound flick from David off the line in the 56th minute, Eve showed his intentions when he inserted attacker Reon Moore for central midfielder Andre Rampersad.

Just after the hour mark, the Soca Warriors’ resistance in Frisco was broken, though, as Larin calmly passed a left-footed shot into the net in the 61st minute after getting a neat back-heel flick from Ike Ugbo at the end of a right-side move.

T&T made two more changes of attacking intent in the 81st minute when the diminutive pair of Kaile Auvray and Real Gill came on. Gill almost had an immediate impact on the game in the 85th minute when he worked a slick one-two with Garcia down T&T’s right. However, Garcia’s left-footed effort didn’t have the finesse or power needed to get past Crepeau’s big right hand at the far post.

As T&T desperately surged forward in search of an equaliser, Canada’s own substitute, Jacob Shaffelburg, looked to kill off the contest.

In the 87th minute, Shaffelburg had Smith sprawling with a thunderous left-footed shot which cannoned off the base of the post and out. In the first minute of stoppage-time, though, Shaffelburg was bang on target when he drilled an effort into the roof of the net from close range after a rapid counter-attack from the Canadian team.

Shaffelburg’s goal sparked wild scenes among his teammates, while Eve and the T&T contingent saw their dream of going to Copa America 2024 slowly fade away.

Come June 20, Canada will grace the Copa America stage in a duel with Lionel Messi and his Argentina team. Eve’s Soca Warriors will now shift focus to 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifying.

This story has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.

Trinidad and Tobago’s men's football team have missed out on a spot in the 2024 Conmebol Copa America tournament after falling to a 2-0 loss to Canada in a one-off play-in match at the Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas on Saturday.

The Soca Warriors team held firm for the opening hour against the Canadians, and even fashioned a couple of great opportunities through their star striker Levi Garcia in either half.

However, Canada got goals from Cyle Larin in the 61st minute and a stoppage-time blast from substitute Jacob Shaffelburg to get the victory and book their spot in the Copa America tournament.

Canada will now join Chile, Peru and reigning Fifa World Cup champions Argentina in group A of the showpiece South American competition.

(Teams)

Trinidad and Tobago (5-3-1-1): 23.Denzil Smith (GK); 14.Shannon Gomez (20.Kaïlé Auvray 80), 16.Alvin Jones, 17.Justin Garcia, 2.Aubrey David (captain), 6.Andre Raymond; 15.Neveal Hackshaw (7.Noah Powder 70), 18.Andre Rampersad (13.Reon Moore 56), 8.Daniel Phillips; 19.Ajani Fortune (10.Real Gill 80); 11.Levi Garcia.

Unused substitutes: 1.Christopher Biggette (GK), 21.Adrian Foncette (GK), 3.Ross Russell Jr, 4.Jesse Williams, 5.Robert Primus, 9.Nathaniel James, 12.Kevon Goddard, 23.Judah Garcia.

Coach: Angus Eve

Canada (3-4-3): 16.Maxime Crepeau (GK); 4.Kamal Miller, 5.Joel Waterman, 2.Alistair Johnston; 12.Ike Ugbo (14.Jacob Shaffelburg 70), 7.Stephen Eustaquio (captain) (6.Samuel Piette 90+2), 8.Ismael Kone (3.Luc de Fougerolles 90+2), 19.Alphonso Davies; 17.Tajon Buchanan (15.Mathieu Choiniere 80), 9.Cyle Larin (22.Jacen Russell-Rowe 80), 10.Jonathan David.

Unused substitutes: 1.Dayne St Clair (GK), 18.Jonathan Sirois (GK), 11.Theo Bair, 13.Derek Cornelius, 20.Moise Bombito, 21.Liam Fraser, 23.Liam Millar.

Coach: Mauro Biello

Referee: Marco Ortiz (Mexico)

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