TRINIDAD AND Tobago football team’s approach, during the second half of Sunday’s Concacaf Gold Cup Group A match against Guatemala at the Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas, United States, did not find favour with coach Angus Eve, who acknowledged that he was disappointed with the players’ inability to put the game beyond doubt.
TT led 1-0 courtesy of a 12th minute goal from Reon Moore, who received a pass from Alvin Jones and guided his left-footed shot past Guatemala goalkeeper Kenderson Navarro.
But the Central Americans grew in confidence during the second half and deservedly got an equaliser from Gerardo Gordillo in the 78th. The defender met a corner from Marvin Ceballos and placed his header beyond the reach of TT keeper Marvin Phillip.
TT needed to win their game against Guatemala, while hoping for an El Salvador victory over defending champs Mexico, to have any chance of advancing to the quarter-finals. But Mexico killed those dreams with a 1-0 win over the previous group leaders.
At the post-game media conference, Eve said, “I thought we dominated the game (in the) first half but when we scored the goal, we never really pushed to get the second goal, to kill off the game. (In) the second half, I think the fellas went into a shell, trying to keep what they have.” He continued, “(The technical staff) tried to drive them forward, but they just keep dropping back. That was never in the plans and it’s the first time I was actually disappointed with the (players).”
Kevin Molino, who was appointed captain after fellow Khaleem Hyland suffered a hamstring injury during the Gold Cup qualifier against French Guiana, was used as a substitute in the 67th minute.
“Kevin is coming off a major injury and he just didn’t have the legs,” said Eve. “We had fresher players (Hashim Arcia and Noah Powder) so we thought (to) start the fresher players, which worked well, and bring him on with 30 minutes to go, so he could contribute to the team, to finish off the game. That was working well.”
Concerning Guatemala’s goal, Eve acknowledged, “Someone missed their assignment. That was (Gordillo) and one of our big ones was to have him. I don’t know how Powder (ended) up marking him.”
Eve, the former TT midfielder and captain, mentioned, “We’ve been talking about the lack of fitness (which) cause mental lapses. We saw that in this game. I thought in the second half we allowed Guatemala to come into the game.
The guys just have to work on their personal fitness because we can’t do everything when they come from their club teams into a national team.”
Eve was hired on an interim basis from June 13 until August 31, after Terry Fenwick and his assistants (Derek King and Kelvin Jack) were fired.
“It’s a learning experience,” said Eve. “We, as a team and as a staff, can only be better for it. With all the challenges that we had to face, I still think that we did really well. Losing key players, not having certain other players available to the team and I still think we put on creditable performances throughout the tournament. There is a lot to look forward to, from what we have done.”