Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior footballers will be aiming to spoil the first home party of the semi-final round for the Americans by grabbing a point or three when both countries face off in Wednesday’s 2010 Semi-Final round World Cup qualifying fixture at Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Chicago from 8pm.
The “Soca Warriors” here since Sunday, had a double session on the eve of the encounter as head coach Francisco Maturana tried to get his troops ready for battle.
Maturana’s men have gone unbeaten in their last three World Cup qualifying matches but Carlos Gallardo’s last minute equalizer on Saturday robbed them of full points and as former LA Galaxy forward Cornell Glen put it, they want to make the Americans feel the backlash.
“We expect it will be a tough game because USA are at home and they have enjoyed good results against us but this is another day and a different game,”Glen told TTFF Media.
“I see no reason why we cannot get a result here. We will respect them but I think if we can start well and keep up with them for 90 minutes and more then this could be a close one that could go either way. A lot of us feel that it’s about time we get a positive result against USA,”Glen added after Tuesday’s morning session which took place in nippy conditions at De Paul University Grounds in downtown Chicago.
The ex-Columbus Crew man will also be wanting to get one on US head coach Bob Bradley who was in charge of him at New York/New Jersey Metrostars which subsequently released him during the off season.
“Bradley was my coach in my first year in the MLS but they sent me off. It would be nice to get a good showing here and maybe a goal. Nothing will come easy I can assure you and the rest of the team that. But we are prepared to work hard for it.”
With veteran midfielder Dwight Yorke out after a late recall to Sunderland, T&T will also be without the suspended Avery John and Khaleem Hyland while midfielder Aurtis Whitley and Kenwyne Jones are out with injuries and there is no Stern John nor Chris Birchall. There is still some experience and strength in the team with the in-form Keon Daniel looking for his fourth goal in three matches, Swansea City duo Dennis Lawrence and Jason Scotland, Sunderland’s Carlos Edwards and Glen all capable of making an impact.
In all World Cup qualifying matches between T&T and USA, the Americans have won eight of ten, with two drawn.
Five players in the current T&T team played in the last meeting against USA. Densill Theobald was the captain, Jan Michael Williams was in goal, Andre Toussaint, Keyeno Thomas and Kerry Baptiste were also in the squad which lost 2-0 to the US in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup played at the Home Depot Center, California on June 9, 2007. Brian Ching in the 29th and Eddie Johnson in the 54th were the scorers. Wim Rijsbergen was the T&T head coach. T&T went on to draw 1-1 with Guatemala with a late Errol McFarlane equalizer in their next match. This time around they are coming off a 1-1 draw with Guatemala with the latter stealing a last minute tying goal on Saturday. Who knows how the second match will follow this time.
T&T has five players in its team with experience playing in the USA. Defender Thomas is a former Colorado Rapids player, Glen is a former New York/New Jersey Metrostars, LA Galaxy and Columbus Crew forward, Makan Hislop played for the University of South Carolina, Andre Toussaint is a former Charleston Battery member from last season, So too is Anthony Wolfe formerly of Atlanta Silverbacks, Julius James is now a regular with MLS outfit Toronto FC.
USA’s Clint Dempsey, the lone scorer against Cuba, fancies his chances of scoring more against T&T in his team’s first home game of the semi-final round.
"I think we're moving in the right direction, and the goals will eventually come," said Dempsey . "The goals are there, and that's not something we're really worried about as a team. I think people will see more goals in this Trinidad game. I'm really looking forward to getting forward and having more of an attacking presence."
Former T&T goalie Shaka Hislop, who will do commentary of the match on ESPN, met up with the team at Tuesday’s training at the match venue.
"The team is certainly playing with more confidence than they were a month and a half ago," said Hislop. "Maturana has shown that he's willing to make big decisions, and the team is playing better for it . [T&T] have a lot of young players who are very creative, but who also play with a confidence that quite frankly is a little bit alarming. I am hoping for a good, competitive game.”
Maturana, who will remember Colombia’s shock 2-1 loss to the hosts at the 1994 World Cup, is an optimist and will be looking to see his players rise to the call. He also has 20 injury free players to call upon.
“This game will be a challenge but all games are. We do not back down at anytime. Our team is prepared and hopefully we can put all the details together to play the game as we need to,” he said.
Wednesday’s game will be aired live on CNMG Channel 6 and Radio105 fm and I95.5fm. It is also going live on ESPN 2 and Galavision.
T&T: .Marvin Phillips – (W. Connection), Jan Michael Williams (Ferencvaros), Makan Hislop (United Petrotrin), Dennis Lawrence (Swansea City FC), Cyd Gray (Clico San Juan Jabloteh), Julius James (Toronto F.C), Keyeno Thomas (Joe Public F.C),.Aklie Edwards (Defence Force), Osei Telesford (Puerto Rico Islanders), Carlos Edwards (Sunderland FC), Anthony Wolfe (North East Stars), Densill Theobald (Caledonia AIA), Keon Daniel (United Petrotrin), Clyde Leon (W. Connection), Kerry Baptiste (Joe Public FC), Andre Toussaint (W. Connection), Jason Scotland (Swansea City FC), Cornell Glen, Akeil Guevera (North East Stars), Gyasi Joyce (Caledonia AIA)
USA - Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton FC), Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes), Danny Califf (FC Midtjylland), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege), Michael Orozco (San Luis), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC), DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers), Michael Bradley (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Maurice Edu (Glasgow Rangers), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Eddie Lewis (Los Angeles Galaxy), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC), Eddie Johnson (Cardiff City)