THE TT men’s football team were assembled in full yesterday at Irvine Spectrum Centre in Los Angeles, United States, ahead of the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup, after a nine-hour journey from Tokyo following Wednesday’s 0-0 draw with Japan in Aichi.
US-based players Minnesota United midfielder Kevin Molino, Seattle Sounders’ Joevin Jones, Charleston Battery defender Leland Archer, Cordell Cato and Orlando City goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh arrived in LA on Thursday night and all took part in the team’s training session yesterday morning at Great Park.
TT face Canada in a closed-door match on Monday at 3 pm (6 pm TT time) as both teams continue their preparations for the Gold Cup. TT captain Khaleem Hyland spoke about the state of the team less than two weeks ahead of the opening clash with Panama in Minnesota.
“The boys worked their socks off in the last match and although we wanted to do more offensively, I think we had a great effort against Japan. Results like this one away from home gives us hope and positive feedback for the team. Now that game is past us and we have Canada and Panama to look ahead to. It gives us hope going into the Canada game which we have to take very seriously as well to get a good result to take us into the Gold Cup.
“We got stuck late in the game in our previous games before Japan but we were able to come away with a draw this time which shows that we are improving in each match,” said the central midfielder. “The coach (Dennis Lawrence) believes in the quality we have in the team and he showed that he has balls to make changes and try new things like we did against Japan. He gives the squad confidence by making decisions like he has.
“We have to look after ourselves for the next few days. We have to keep our heads on our shoulders, work hard, listen to the instructions and carry out our roles and functions into the Canada Game and the Gold Cup. It’s good to have the full squad together now with Kevin, Cordell and Joevin back with us as well as Greg and young Leland Archer,” Hyland said.
Defender Daneil Cyrus put in a solid shift against Japan and is hoping to be at his best throughout the Gold Cup. “It wasn’t very surprised with the way we went out there and put in a good showing against Japan,” he said. “I always believe in this squad and the way the coach prepares us for matches don’t matter how tough the opponent is. What we did was show that we are a determined bunch and this is what it will take for us to get results in the Gold Cup.
“Personally I felt good out there and hopefully I can stay just as solid and injury free for our entire Gold Cup campaign,” Cyrus added.