Action from the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship between Trinidad & Tobago (white jersey) and Guatemala on January 14, 2015, in Kingston, Jamaica. (Photo: Mexsport)
KINGSTON, Jamaica – After dropping a 2-0 decision to Guatemala in the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship on Wednesday, the ache of defeat was etched on the face of Trinidad & Tobago head coach Derek King.
The Soca Warriors (1-1-1, 4 points) had enjoyed a majority of the possession, but a miscue in each half led directly to both of the conceded goals.
Football is unforgiving and when every point counts in the pursuit of a World Cup place, any setback is a stinging one.
“I’m very disappointed with the result,” said King. “We saw some good ball movement, held our shape. Guatemala sat back and allowed us to play.”
The Guatemalans played a flat back four with a midfielder directly in front of the defensive line. That tactic allowed Trinidad to see much of the ball, but also limited concrete scoring opportunities.
“We had all the possession, saw some good football, but we didn’t score our chances and Guatemala took theirs,” King noted.
While the 34-year-old manager wanted to put his finger on reasons for the loss, he realized sometimes just the simplest factors can turn out to be answers.
“In the final third, that final pass, it wasn’t there,” King continued. “We could have taken an extra touch. We just kept forcing it. Sometimes in the one-on-one, we’d go to the other side of the park. The crosses weren’t good. We just kept hitting the ball at the goalkeeper.”
For Trinidad, now is not the time for lengthy analysis. It has two games remaining in Group A, both against solid opposition.
“Our next two opponents are good opponents, Panama and the USA,” King noted. “They will be tough games. We’ll have to dig deep. We have two games left and to have a chance of qualifying, we’ll have to come out with six points."
Table-topping Panama (3-0-0, 9 points) is first on Sunday in Montego Bay, followed by an encounter with the Americans (1-1-1, 4 points) three days later.
According to King, his players need to realize one thing: “At the end of the day, we are here to play. We are here to perform.”
If the Caribbean champion can follow that mantra, maybe a trip to New Zealand later in the year won’t seem that far away.