St. Vincent & the Grenadines forward Oalex Anderson (#10) is congratulated teammates after scoring in a World Cup qualifier against the host USA on November 13, 2015, in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo: Bill Barrett/isiphotos.com)
KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent & the Grenadines -- Despite suffering a large defeat in its opening fourth-round World Cup qualifier at the United States last week, St. Vincent & the Grenadines is optimistic of rebounding against visiting Guatemala at the Arnos Vale Playing Field on Tuesday.
The Vincentians fell 6-1 to the Americans, but coaching consultant Ezra Hendrickson – a former SVG international, who spent his professional career playing in the U.S. -- believes that the team is ready to step ahead now that the toughest of the six Group C matches is out of the way.
“I expect our players to be in their comfort zone playing at home and in front of our home fans and on a field which we are accustomed to,” said Hendrickson. “In addition, we will welcome back the experienced Emerald George, who could not travel to the U.S. with the team because of a visa problem.
“We enter this match looking for three points.”
SVG is nearly 100% fit physically with only defender Reginald Richardson nursing a minor groin problem.
In Friday’s loss to the U.S., the Vincy Heat jumped out to a fifth-minute lead, when striker Oalex Anderson -- who plays for the Seattle Sounders FC 2 – curled a brilliant right-footed shot past goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
“That goal was just as we had planned our attack,” Hendrickson remarked. “Run at the US defenders and string good accurate passes together and using our strength which was our attack.”
While the tally should have provided a lift, it seemingly had the opposite effect. The U.S. went on to score six unanswered goals, three in each half.
“They appeared shocked to have scored against the ‘mighty US’ and just lost their head and their shape,” expressed Hendrickson. “You cannot give good players like [Jozy] Altidore and Jermaine Jones so much space. They would abuse you and that they did.”
While inexperience played a role in the performance, Hendrickson wants to see the squad compete more confidently in upcoming games, citing Anderson as “what playing professionally can do to a player.”
In two previous WCQ meetings, Guatemala has posted a pair of wins over SVG (2011: 4-0 home, 3-0 away).