Trinidad and Tobago’s Under 20 Women’s team will be seeking a place in the quarter finals of the CONCACAF Women’s Under 20 Championship when they face Puerto Rico in the Round of 16 clash at the Estadio Panamericano in San Cristobal from 4:00pm on Sunday.
T&T are coming off two wins in their three group stage games including a 7-0 loss to group winners Haiti on Thursday. Head Coach Richard hood rested seven of his starters in that encounter but T&T are expected to be at full strength for the Puerto Ricans. T&T defeated this same team 3-0 in a warm-up match prior to the start of the competition.
“I think the players are really look forward to getting on the pitch tomorrow. They are confident in their abilities to do the job against Puerto Rico… confident without being over-confident. Of course we know we have played them before and we have beaten them. Tomorrow obviously is a different game and we will approach it accordingly. We look forward to the challenge, working hard and achieving the goal which is getting into the quarter finals,” Hood told TTFA Media on Saturday.
“The mood in the camp is great, Everybody is upbeat. We had a couple of players with niggling injuries but for the most part everyone will be available for tomorrow.”
T&T captain Afiyah Cornwall is among the top five goalscorers in the competition with five goals so far.
Once T&T progresses, they will face the winner of the Mexico versus Grenada encounter in the quarter finals. Those two teams will also face each other at 4pm. Haiti faces Barbados at 1pm an Guyana meet Cayman Islands at 7pm.
In his post-game comments, head coach Hood admitted he took the decision to rest his key players for the next fixture.
“We are obviously disappointed not so much with the result but the magnitude of the result,” Hood told TTFA Media.
“Our plans going into the game were simply to rest players in preparation for that all-important game against Puerto Rico. We had a lot of players who had low energy levels and we had some players who were hurting and they needed to take a break. The thinking going into the game was to rest some of the more important players for that game on Sunday.
“The game plan was to try and resist them as long as possible, to defend deep, to present a block for them and look to hit them on the counter.
” I think the girls lost confidence pretty early having conceded that first goal off the corner and the game plan fell apart a bit. I spoke to them at half time and encouraged them and emphasise some of the things that we weren’t doing well. I think in the second half we got a much better response from them. All in all I was not as displeased with the performance in the second half. I think the girls tried their best considering that many of them haven’t played much and some of them haven’t played at all in the tournament, again under trying conditions in terms of the heat.
“We have two days to prepare for the game against Puerto Rico. First and foremost we will look at how we can recover those players that we expect to have in the starting line up and those who will be on the bench. We will look at the recovery process and prepare as best as we can for Sunday’s game,” Hood concluded