Trinidad and Tobago recorded their second successive win in CONCACAF Caribbean Women's World Cup qualifying Group C action but it was US Virgin Islands who grabbed the spotlight as they pulled off a 3-0 victory over Grenada in the first game of a doubleheader at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, Trinidad on Monday.
It was a most satisfying win for head coach Izler Browne and her outfit as they showed strong character to bounce back from Saturday's heavy 10-0 defeat to T&T.
The hosts did what was expected of them but it was far from a walk in the part for them as Dominica put on a fighting display, staying organized for most parts to contain the T&T Women Warriors on the evening.
T&T got out of the starting blocks early once more with Jenelle Cunningham opening the scoring in the 5th minute with a shot that entered the net on the rise from close up. Dominica did not pose much of a threat to T&T's defense but they stayed disciplined for most parts and never allowed T&T to get into a dominant mode.
Rhea Belgrave put T&T 2-0 ahead in the 36th minute and Karyn Forbes rifled another long-range effort from a direct free kick past goalkeeper Kimberly Elie in the 54th minute.
"We are happy to get three points and we continue to move along. It was a good tactical and defensive game by the opponent and we respect that," T&T Head Coach Jamaal Shabazz said after the match.
"They showed intelligence that they couldn't come and play opened and they parked the bus well. They had players who could have gone forward on the counter attacks. It was a good strategy used by Dominica. It was an also a learning period for us in this aspect of the game as to how do we play when an opponent comes and parks the bus," he added.
Dominica head coach Rajesh Latchoo meantime was understandably disappointed with losing the encounter but credited his players for staying strong against their more fancied opponents.
"I am proud of the girls for keeping their discipline defensively. We knew we were playing a tougher opponent tonight. We know Trinidad are the favorites in the tournament but we were prepared not to give up until the end. We didn't concede ten and that is a positive. This was all about the improvement of our football and to show the resilience of Dominica and I think we showed that tonight. This only augers well for our programme," Latchoo added.
In the earlier encounter, US Virgin Islands and Grenada stayed toe to toe with each for the majority of the match until USVI broke the deadlock in the 74th minute. A low shot by Maya Wright seemed to be going wide of the right post and goalkeeper Connie John also misread the effort only to see it sneak in on the inside of the post for USVI's opening item.
That goal broke Grenada and spurred on USVI as they would double the advantage through Bianca Canizio in the 89th minute and Tamika Aguilar added a third goal three minutes into added on time.
USVI head coach Izler Browne was delighted with her team's win.
"I think it was a good game for us. The key for us was being a little bit more organized and aggressive on the ball in certain areas. From the get-go, we believed we had a better chance against the other teams. It's good to get a win over Grenada and sets us up for the other two games. It's a tremendous boost for the team. They put in a lot of heart and soul and it's a good victory for the team and the nation," Browne told CONCACAF.com after the win.
Grenada head coach Andre Munro admitted his team was second best in the defeat. "We really didn't play well today. We didn't stick to our gameplan and we gave away three soft goals. We have a lot of work to do and we are going to try and improve and come back with better performances in our next set of games," Munro said.
Grenada takes on St Kitts/Nevis and USVI meets Dominica in the next set of matches at the Ato Boldon on Wednesday. T&T currently leads the Group table with six points, from two matches with St Kitts and Nevis (played one match) and USVI next on three points each followed by Dominica pointless from two games and Grenada also without a point having played one game so far.
The top team from Group C will advance to the Final Round of CONCACAF Caribbean qualifying from which the top three teams will move on to the CONCACAF Final Round in the United States in October towards qualification for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France.