Kevin Molino (white jersey) scored Trinidad & Tobago’s only goal in a World Cup Qualifying loss to host Costa Rica on June 13, 2017, in San Jose, Costa Rica. (Photo: CA-Images)
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – You certainly can’t blame the Trinidad & Tobago players and coaching staff if they believe that the team’s record in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying should be better than what the standings indicate.
The Soca Warriors sit last in the six-team table with a 1W-0D-5L record. Head coach Dennis Lawrence has been in charge for the last four games – a win over Panama, a two-goal loss to the United States and single-goal setbacks to Mexico and Costa Rica.
It is clear that T&T can compete at this level, but it has been challenged offensively, netting in only three of six Hexagonal matches for a total of three goals.
At Costa Rica, on Tuesday, the host went ahead 1-0 seconds into the game, before Kevin Molino equalized in the 35th minute with a fine left-footed effort from outside the box. Nine minutes later, Bryan Ruiz restored the Ticos’ lead, skillfully beating goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams with the outside of his left foot.
A scoreless second half ensured T&T a third-consecutive loss.
“Congratulations to Costa Rica,” Lawrence said after the match. “In terms of our boys, I think we gave a tremendous effort tonight and I don’t think the result reflected the actual result. I thought we should have come out with something from the game and I really feel sorry for the boys.
“Costa Rica has always been one of the CONCACAF giants. I think we all understand they are a very good team and they have players of a top level. What I am most pleased about tonight is that we were able to come out tonight and match Costa Rica stride for stride. Unfortunately, we did not get the result we wanted, but I gave yeoman credit to my team for the effort that they put in.”
Remarkably, perhaps, Trinidad is one of three teams to still have only one win from six matchdays, which means that a place at Russia 2018 remains a possibility. The Caribbean power is two points behind fifth-place Honduras and four behind Panama.
If the World Cup dream is to stay alive, a win at home over the Hondurans on September 1 – the date WCQ resumes – is imperative.
“We are going to fight until the end,” finished Lawrence, adding, “until it becomes mathematically impossible for us to qualify.”