The emergence of Levi Garcia (red jersey) helped spur Trinidad & Tobago to two straight wins in World Cup Qualifying. (Photo: Caribbean Action Images)
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago -- Trinidad & Tobago head coach Stephen Hart lauded his team’s performance after a 6-0 win over the visiting St. Vincent & the Grenadines on Tuesday in a fourth-round World Cup qualifier.
The triumph kept the Soca Warriors (3W-1D-0L, 10 points) unbeaten and atop the table in Group C, three points ahead of the United States (2-1-1, 7).
“I thought overall it was the best two performances – first and second half – that we’ve played in a long time,” Hart said.
The 56-year-old’s level of excitement went beyond the one-sided result. In fact, he was more impressed by a first half that produced one goal, rather than a second that yielded five.
“The first half performance for me was one of the best I’ve seen this team play,” expressed Hart. “I don’t think the 1-0 scoreline reflects the performance.”
Hart singled out a few individual efforts, including a second strong outing from 18-year-old Levi Garcia, who netted a brace in a 3-2 win at the same opponent on March 25.
“I don’t think we’ve had that type of wide attacker that can bring so much excitement and penetration in a long time,” the former Canada manager remarked. “He just has to keep growing with his club and keep his feet on the ground. I think that boy will go very far.”
Joevin Jones, whose goal four minutes into the second half created a surge of momentum, also merited praise.
“I don’t think he knows how talented he really is,” commented Hart. “He plays left back for the [Seattle Sounders] and I ask him to come in and do a different job, but he loves to play. Once he keeps himself in top physical condition and the right mental state, I think he can go very far in football.”
A new-found depth, which will no doubt lead to difficult decisions going forward, has also given Hart a reason for optimism and food for thought.
“Certainly I have to stock up on aspirin because it’s a selection headache, but it’s one I welcome,” he joked. “A lot of players are pushing, still have to learn when they come in the environment that they are fighting for positions, but it was a tremendous group. Their attitude in training was very, very good and off the field they bonded well.”
T&T returns to WCQ action on September 2 against visiting Guatemala, needing only a draw to earn a place in the final round.