HOUSTON – Trinidad & Tobago clinched a place in the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals, defeating 10-man Honduras 2-0 on Monday at BBVA Compass Stadium. Kenwyne Jones and Kevin Molino scored second-half goals in the triumph.
Despite the setback, the Hondurans still finished at the top of the Group B table with six points. Even though they Trinidad and El Salvador finished level on points at four apiece and goal difference, the Caribbean side took second due to scoring more goals (4-3).
With a spot in the knockout phase already assured, Honduras (2-0-1) opted to rest regulars Andy Najar, Rony Martinez, Roger Rojas and goalkeeper Donis Escober against the Soca Warriors. Alajuelense striker Jerry Palacios saw his first action of the tournament.
Trinidad also made changes of its own, presenting a more attack oriented team with Molino and Cornell Glenn being named in the starting eleven.
Kenwyne Jones was handed the captain’s armband in place of Densill Theobold and took the responsibility to heart, playing with vigor and a sense of urgency.
The Stoke City forward was in the thick of things as Trinidad looked for an early goal. In the first 20 minutes Jones had two chances that went close, heading over the crossbar and shooting the other just wide of the target. His best opportunity came in 33rd minute, when he was in alone on advancing goalkeeper Kevin Hernandez, but failed to push the ball past him.
Palacios thought his 29th minute volley had given Honduras the lead, but he was adjudged to be offside.
The odds for Trinidad got even better in the 37th minute when Jose Velasquez was sent off for his tackle from behind on Cornell Glen, reducing Honduras to 10 men.
Two minutes into the second half, the Soca Warriors took advantage of the extra man as they were awarded a penalty kick. Glen was pushed down in the penalty area and Jones stepped up to power the ensuing spot kick past Hernandez to give Trinidad a 1-0 lead.
Molino doubled Trinidad’s advantage in the 66th minute, collecting a cross from Jones inside the six-yard box and placing past Hernandez.
NOTES: Trinidad’s Gold Cup winless streak was snapped at 11 games…Trinidad posted its first shutout in 22 all-time Gold Cup outings…Honduras has scored one goal or less in eight of its last 10 Gold Cup games.