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Goals galore in WPL opener.
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Goals and more goals was the order in yesterday’s opening match of the inaugural Women’s Professional League (WPL) at the St James Barracks, where Fuego was on fire as they incinerated the Dragons 5-3.

The league, a joint venture of the Ministry of Sport and the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago, finally kicked off yesterday evening and did not disappoint. Fuego was slow to start but equalised through Tasha St Louis after going behind early in the match.

St Louis doubled her tally from the penalty spot while in the second half Saucedo increased Fuego’s lead to 3-1 with a deft finish. Another penalty brought the score to 3-2, Lauryn Hutchinson of the Dragons hitting it high into the net.

However, a quick Jo-Marie Lewis brace increased Fuego’s tally to five. The Dragons’ third item might be argued the game’s best goal, with Jessica Adams’ strike coming from a direct corner kick — an in-swinging delivery that curled and nestled in the net. to round up the scoring at 5-3.

WPL Results/Fixtures

(June 18)

Dragons 3 (Isabella Hayes 2, Lauryn Hutchinson 55-Pen, Jessica Adams 71) vs Fuego 5 (Tasha St. Louis 19, 30-Pen, Stanisclas Saucedo 52, Jo-Marie Lewis 60, 62)

Player of the Match: Tasha St Louis (Fuego)

Wave FC 0 vs Angels 3 (Maylee Attin-Johnson 30, 40, Rafaela De Vargas 62)

Player of the Match: Maylee Attin-Johnson (Angels)

Teams

Angels: 1.Tynetta McKoy (25.Beth Seaman 90th); 7.Peta Gay Soman, 2.Ayanna Russell, 8.Jacqueline Poucel, 4.Jodie Redgrave; 17.Sharrain (6.Alyssa Budhoo 78th), 20.Tamar Watson; 10.Jodi Ann McGregor; 15.Kandace Franklin, 9.Maylee Attin-Johnson (capt), 16.Rafaela De Vargas (13.Bruna Da Silva 86th).

Coach: Anthony Creese

Wave: 25.Kimika Forbes; 7.Shanice Stevenson, 5.Josean Azevedo, 4.Jenelle Cunningham, 17.Patrice Vincent (11.Emarie Holland 73rd); 8.Afiyah Matthias (3.Teneisha Copham 58th), 20.Camilla Germano, 10.Laura Becera, 6.Natasha St Louis (14.Stephanie Beam 67th); 19.Kennya Cordner (capt), 9.Shakira Duncan.

Unused substitutes: 21.Tenesha Palmer (GK), 2.Samantha Kissoon, 13.Tisha Lee Spicer, 16.Charissa Delzin.

Coach: Derek Arneaud

Referee: Cecile Hinds

(Upcoming - June 24)

Oilers vs Rush, 5 pm, Hasely Crawford Stadium.

Standings

P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
Fuego  1  1  0  0  5  3  3
Angels  1  1  0  0  3  0  3
Dragons  1  0  0  1  3  5  0
Wave FC  1  0  0  1  0  3  0
Oilers  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
Rush  0  0  0  0  0  0  0

RELATED NEWS

Fuego, Angels impress
...as inaugural WPL kicks off.
By Sean Taylor (Express).

There was fire at the St James Barracks as Fuego incinerated the Dragons on the opening day of the Women's Premier League (WPL). The much-anticipated league kicked off just after 5 p.m. on Thursday, featuring a double-header with four of the six franchise teams.

The 94.1 FM Fuego outfit rode out the roller coaster ride to eventually cruise to a 5-3 victory over a Dragons team led by Women's 2014 Player of the Year, Arin King. In the later fixture, Maylee Attin Johnson led by example as her ruthless brace made sure the Angels' dominance over Wave FC on the night was not wasted.

On the pitch, the action itself did not take long to draw spectators in. The first match was a see-saw event littered with three soft penalties and spectacular goals, including one scored directly from a corner.

Anyone stepping into the grounds a mere three minutes late would have already missed the first goal, in a paid women's league in Trinidad and Tobago. Issabella Hayes, hailing all the way from England, volleyed past a hapless Brazilian Leticia Bussato in goal.

The Fuego defence seemingly continued to suffer in the opening stages, but eventually settled after their skipper Tasha St Louis equalised.

The national striker scored her first of two goals with a shot drilled from the edge of the area. On the half-hour mark, St Louis made no mistake from the penalty mark, after the ball had been handled in the area by the Dragons' defence. The Dragons were accorded a penalty for handball as well, in the 42nd minute, but it was saved by the Fuego's Brazilian custodian.

Fuego pulled ahead in the second period when Claudia Saucedo finished with a deft flick off her boot. They would have to deal with a scare minutes later as they conceded another handball-related penalty, and Laurin Hutchinson buried her shot high into the roof of the net, which gave the Dragons hope.

Jo Maria Lewis added her ‘two cents' with a double of her own however, to make victory certain; pushed their tally to five. The Dragons, however, saved their best trick for last, when Jessica Adams managed to score with a wicked in-swinging corner off the far upright to round up the scoring in this 5-3 adventure.

The evening's second match didn't offer as much drama, with the exception of the Angels forwards draped in white, wreaking havoc in the middle of a dogged Wave FC defence.

Wave was unable to get skipper Kennya Cordner's buzzing skill playing any major role in the game. However, that much is owed to a well-marshalled and uncompromising Angels defence, in which Jacqueline Poucel excelled in particular.

The American's crucial interception and long run on the Angels' left, helped to create Attin Johnson's second goal, as the skipper received her pass and converted from a tight angle in the 40th minute. Attin Johnson had already opened the scoring nine minutes earlier.

Wave FC's defence had a star of their own. Brazilian Josean Azevedo was hard in the tackle, and her shooting from long-range in deadball situations is a weapon their coach Derek Arneaud can use to exploit defences in this competition. She came agonisingly close on three occasions—each shot from somewhere over the horizon.

Her teammates in the backline would let her down once more, as Rafaela De Vargas finished, albeit on the rebound, after receiving a well-weighted slide rule pass from Kandace Franklin.

Richard Hood, the coach of the Fuego outfit, was pleased with his charges' performance.

“Given that we only had three days to prepare for the game I was pleased with the performance of the girls,” he said. “We were disorganised from the warm up onwards, I didn't get opportunity to talk to the players about how we wanted to play,” he said referring to Fuego's lethargic start to the match.

“I think a bad start was expected, but basically I tried to convey to them that they needed to calm down and just play the ball simple, and they eventually took over the game.”

WPL action continues at the St James Barracks next Wednesday with another double header, including the final match of the first match day between developmental team the Oilers, opening their campaign against Rush.

Maylee and St Louis shine as Angels and Fuego take early WPL honours
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com)


It was a spanking new competition but some familiar faces hogged the opening credits.

Veteran Trinidad and Tobago internationals Maylee Attin-Johnson and Tasha St Louis produced the golden touches yesterday evening at the Police Barracks in St James as the Women’s Premier League (WPL) got off to a rousing and entertaining start.

St Louis scored twice for Fuego in a 5-3 shootout win over Arin King’s Dragons in the opening match of the inaugural competition while Attin Johnson also notched a double as the Angels shocked Kennya Cordner’s Wave 3-0.

There is nothing like a bucketful of goals and entertaining football to soothe frayed nerves. Close to 400 spectators turned out to watch the WPL opener, which, packed around a tiny ground with three small bleachers, made for plenty of atmosphere.

It is early days but there was evidence yesterday that women’s club football could serve up a product worth watching in Trinidad and Tobago.

The hiccups were still there, of course. Kick off was delayed for close to an hour as uniforms and sundry got to the ground late while some teams did not have a full eleven players until a day or two ago.

Yet, amidst the chaos, a special player stood up and made an early mark on the proceedings.

“It was a great start for us and me,” Attin-Johnson told Wired868. “A lot of people were counting me out… A lot of people thought I should not be a franchise player, so I had a lot to prove.”

Attin-Johnson, a silky and versatile playmaker, is just 29 years old. But she made her international debut at the age of 15; and familiarity breeds contempt.

Her longstanding international teammate, St Louis, was first to winners row, though. Although who would have thought she would end the night with a smile after the Dragons’ storming start?

The WPL was only 57 seconds old when British striker Isabella Hayes ran on to a long kick by Venezuelan goalkeeper Maleike Pacheco to volley Dragons into the lead.

“Within the preparation for the game, there was a lot of confusion and the uniforms only came just before we got out there,” said Fuego coach Richard Hood. “We were disorganised and I think that affected how we started…

“A bad start was kind of expected. But not that bad a start!”

Some football pundits suggest that you should ignore anything that happens in the first five minutes of a match, which is before the pattern of play is properly established.

Hood might agree as Fuego gradually came into their own courtesy of the attacking trio of midfielders St Louis and Jo-Marie Lewis and burly striker Shanelle Warrick.

“We tried to convey to them that they needed to calm down and keep it simple and just keep the ball moving,” said Hood. “And they started to do that and they took over the game.”

Warrick teed up St Louis for a shooting opportunity just inside the opposing penalty area in the 19th minute and, although Pacheco got a touch, the Dragon custodian could not keep it out of her net.

Ten minutes later, St Louis got her second item from the penalty spot after a handled ball by Dragons midfielder Alania Burgin. And Fuego substitute Saucedo made it 3-1 in the 52nd minute.

It could not have been the kind of scoreline that Dragons coach Karla Aleman was expecting when she made King the first pick of the WPL draft and then paired her with fellow “Women Soca Warrior” player Lauryn Hutchinson in central defence.

But, in the Dragons’ defence, their team might have the biggest challenge in settling with seven South American players in the squad plus two foreign coaches in Aleman (Costa Rica) and Joanne Daniel (UK).

Aleman said she was not disappointed with her squad or marquee players, King and Hutchinson.

“(King and Hutchinson) are heroines for the group,” said Aleman. “They are my references. But they need a team.

“We have to fix things and I need time to put together a team and learn all my players.”

The Dragons didn’t go down without a fight though.

Fuego’s Brazilian custodian, Leticia Bussato, produced a fine save to deny a Hayes penalty kick in the 42nd minute. But Hutchinson blasted in the game’s third spot kick in the 57th minute to narrow the score to 3-2.

US Virgin Islands’ Jessica Adams got the final item too with an audacious effort straight from the corner kick and in off the far post. But Lewis grabbed a clinical double in between the Dragons goals as Fuego emerged 5-3 victors.

“I am proud of my team,” King told Wired868. “It was our first time playing together and we fought them all the way… Our chemistry will get better.”

The second match featured arguably the best team of the competition. Wave boasts of the Caribbean’s top two strikers, T&T’s Kennya “YaYa” Cordner and Jamaica’s Shakira Duncan, with Kimika Forbes in goal and rugged, mobile Brazilian Josean Azvedo in defence.

Yet, they didn’t stand a chance against the well-drilled Angels who might have again benefitted by avoiding the language barrier, with nine of their starting eleven from the English-speaking Caribbean.

“(Angels) deserved to win,” said Wave coach Derek Arneaud. “I think we are the better team but we didn’t come out to play tonight and they did.”

There were quite a few outstanding players in white Angels kit last night. St Kitts and Nevis goalkeeper Tynetta McKoy, American central defender Jacqueline Poucel, Women’s Warriors defender Ayanna Russell and Jamaican attacker Jodi Ann Mc Gregor all shone.

But, in the end, it was Attin-Johnson’s quality that settled the affair, just as she scripted it.

The W/Warrior is prone to use negativity as fuel and there has been enough of that about recently. Four coaches passed over the ageing captain with the heavily bandaged knee, at the WPL draft, in favour of younger, more mobile options.

And, like Uma Thurman’s character in Kill Bill, Attin-Johnson made her death list.

Arneaud was first.

“It was great to show people what I can do and especially against this team,” she said, with a grin. “Arneaud is the one who took me to high school (in the United States). But he passed up on me in the (WPL) draft…

“This was the payback.”

After kick off, Attin-Johnson swapped places with McGregor to move upfront and showed she has not lost her finishing ability.

In the 31st minute, she beat Forbes with a clever lob. Nine minutes later, she doubled Angels’ lead with a superb angled drive into the far corner after Poucel’s surging charge through the centre of the field.

By then, Cordner and Duncan were virtually spectators as the Angels midfield trio of McGregor, Sharrain and Tamar Watson dominated the Wave pairing of Colombian Laura Becera and Brazilian Camilla Germano.

Arneaud tried to turn things around at halftime.

“We lost the midfield and conceded two goals and that was it,” said Arneaud. “At halftime, Cordner said she would drop back into midfield to help out. We could have got back into the game or we could have conceded another goal.

“And we conceded another goal.”

Poucel again initiated the third goal with a successful tackle and, on the break, Vincentian winger Kandace Franklin produced a clever low cross into space that Colombian Rafaela De Vargas squeezed past Forbes on her second try.

The Angels offered no charity either and McKoy produce a brilliant late save to keep out Wave substitute Emarie Holland, as the WPL’s most potent strike force ended without a single goal.

Women’s football was the biggest winner on the night though.

During the double header, there was an announcement that the WPL would return to the Barracks next Friday when the Oilers tackle Rush from 6 pm. It was a different day, time and venue than what the Sport Ministry said just two days earlier. But such administrative swivels are unlikely to trouble the public if the games continue to provide this much entertainment.

“It was electric tonight,” said King. “I loved the energy.”

“It turned out better than I expected,” said Arneaud. “Two exciting, competitive games.”

“The Women’s Premier League is a great idea,” said Aleman. “It is a big opportunity for players and coaches.”

And those gushing endorsements came from the opening day losers. For all the inherent issues of the competition, the WPL stood up for itself last night.

Featured game

Angels (4-2-1-3): 1.Tynetta McKoy (GK) (25.Beth Seaman GK 90); 7.Peta Gay Soman, 2.Ayanna Russell, 8.Jaclyn Poucel, 4.Jodie Redgrave; 17.Sharrain (6.Alyssa Budhoo 78), 20.Tamar Watson; 10.Jodi Ann McGregor; 15.Kandace Franklin, 9.Maylee Attin-Johnson (captain), 16.Rafaela De Vargas (13.Bruna Da Silva 86).

Coach: Anthony Creece

Wave (4-4-2): 25.Kimika Forbes (GK); 7.Shanice Stevenson, 5.Josean Azevedo, 4.Jenelle Cunningham, 17.Patrice Vincent (11.Emarie Holland 73); 8.Afiyah Matthias (3.Teneisha Copham 58), 20.Camilla Germano, 10.Laura Becera, 6.Natasha St Louis (14.Stephanie Beam 67); 19.Kennya Cordner (captain), 9.Shakira Duncan.

Unused substitutes: 21.Tenesha Palmer (GK), 2.Samantha Kissoon, 13.Tisha Lee Spicer, 16.Charissa Delzin.

Coach: Derek Arneaud

Referee: Cecile Hinds

Women’s Premier League results

Fuego 5 (Tasha St Louis 9, 29 pen, Saucedo 52, Jo-Marie Lewis 60, 62), Dragons 3 (Isabella Hayes 1, Lauryn Hutchinson 57 pen, Jessica Adams 70) at St James;

Player of the Match: Tasha St Louis (Fuego);

Angels 3 (Maylee Attin-Johnson 31, 40, Rafaela De Vargas 61), Wave 0 at St James;

Player of the Match: Maylee Attin-Johnson (Angels).