ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada – After digging out of 2-0 half-time hole and possessing a player advantage on the pitch, Guatemala looked to be headed for a memorable comeback victory against Haiti.
Maria Herrarte halved the deficit nine minutes after the break and inspirational captain Kellin Mayen equalized 20 minutes later for the Chapinas.
“We talked about it during the break and changed the tactics,” said head coach Benjamin Monterroso. “The players made the changes and were ready for what was to come. They leveled the score.”
Despite the shift in momentum, with a minute remaining in normal time, Haiti’s Nerilia Mondesir burst beyond the Guatemalan central defense to strike for the game-winner.
The loss for all intents and purposes eliminated the Central Americans from the competition, leaving them hoping for a Grenada win over Canada later in the day, a scenario that did not transpire.
“You saw a fresh Guatemala team with hopes, with dreams, with aspirations,” Monterroso expressed. “Yet, it always seems limited at this point. Something’s always missing.
“They have to be able to transcend in order to move to the next level and it just didn’t happen today. They tried their hardest, but it wasn’t enough.”
Similar to the previous CU17 tournament in 2013, Guatemala (0W-0D-2L, 0 points) lost its first two matches. On Monday, however, a second consecutive curtain-closing victory can be achieved, when it faces host Grenada (0W-0D-2L, 0 points) to complete Group A play.
Monterroso is happy for the opportunity to exit on positive note, but would rather be competing for a semifinal spot.
“Yes, we are going to try to fix everything that we can,” he finished. “But we didn’t want to be in this position.”