SOCA Warriors head coach Angus Eve said it will be a different approach in the second leg of the 2023 Concacaf Nations League quarter-final match against the US as they try to overcome a 3-0 deficit.
The second leg of the quarter-final will be played at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo at 8 pm on Monday. The winner will advance to the semifinals and also earn a coveted spot in the 2024 Copa America which will be held from June 20 to July 14 in the USA. The loser will still have a chance of qualifying for Copa America via a play-in versus the losers of the other quarterfinals.
TT went down in the first leg in Austin, Texas on Thursday and are expected to play a more attacking style if they are to pull off a remarkable comeback. Eve started off with an ultra defensive mindset in the first leg with a plan to bring on attacking players like Levi Garcia, Nathaniel James and Real Gill in the second half.
The approach seemed to be working as TT, despite not threatening the US goal and hardly venturing into ther half, were frustrating the hosts who struggled to breakdown TT's resolute defence.
However, Eve's second-half plan had to be shelved as TT were reduced to ten men in the 37th minute, after Noah Powder received a second yellow card for a rash tackle in the opposing half.
TT opted to maintain a defensive formation in an effort to hold on for a draw. Amid tiring legs, USA finally broke their resistence in the 82nd minute and fired in three late goals.
In an interview with the media ahead of Monday's match, Eve said the hosts will express themselves a bit more. He said, "Usually, away from home any team in any country plays in a different manner and when you are home you tend to play in a different manner, so when you come to the game tomorrow you will see...We will be a little more positive, most definitely, because we want to win the game."
Eve said nobody thought they would advance so far in the tournament. "We are so excited to be here. We just want to go out and represent our country well. We want to project a lot of pride and determination when we go into these games.
"These are the games we want to play in the rebuilding stage where we are at and exposing young players...to gain contracts on the outside, that is our primary goal and to continue to develop TT football."
Eve said the spirit the Soca Warriors showed in the first leg proved his players have the ability to compete with the US, the number-one ranked Concacaf team and 11th ranked in the world.
"The game that they just played they would have felt a little bit more comfortable on the park, a little bit more comfortable in the environment playing the number-one team in Concacaf and the number-ten or 11-ranked team in the world. They know now they could play and compete, so I think we are going to see a different game tomorrow."
TT player Andre Raymond liked the determination his teammates on Thursday. "For me it was a pleasure to hold the (US) team (for so long). Unfortunately, we did not get the result we wanted, but coming home we have the advantage now and I think we can press forward for the result we want."
TT will be wihout the services of Powder, who is serving a suspension for his red card, as well as midfielder Neveal Hackshaw, also suspended for accumulation of yellow cards.
Included in the squad in their absence are midfielders Duane Muckette and Kevon Goddard.,
Sunday marked the 34th anniversary of the US 1-0 defeat over TT at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, which earned the Americans a spot at the 1990 World Cup in Italy. Eve was asked about November 19, 1989.
"I have been talking to (former national defender) Brian Williams and the boys. Yesterday they had an event that unfortunately I could not go to. We know how the people in TT remember the Strike Squad. I myself was coming into the team. It was a very traumatic time for us because we had so many dreams and aspirations at that time that we would have been in Italia 1990. Unfortunately, it did not happen."