T&T Soca Warriors will commence the final round of 2018 World Cup Concacaf Final Round Qualifiers at home to Costa Rica on November 11 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.
This opening match was determined after the Kenwyne Jones-captained Soca Warriors stuttered in their closing Semi-Final Round encounter, losing 4-0 to the USA at the EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Florida, USA, on Tuesday night.
Following a solid and disciplined display in the first half with at least 200 T&T fans looking on with a rhythm section positioned in the top corner of T&T’s half of the field at the start, the “Soca Warriors” dropped their guards and stumbled against a more clinical and organised USA outfit which saw 17-year-old Borussia Dortmund midfielder Christian Pulisic become the youngest player to start for the USA in a World Cup qualifier.
The number ten would go on to be at the heart of the USA team with an impressive performance on the evening.
T&T started without the suspended defender Sheldon Bateau and Cordell Cato was left on the bench after picking up a slight hamstring problem in the 2-2 draw with Guatemala on Friday. Coming into the starting team was Levi Garcia, Aubrey David and Radanfah Abu Bakr.
Joevin Jones had T&T’s first try on seven minutes with a shot from distance which Tim Horward handled without much pressure.
With the Americans pushing forward, Pulisic almost opened his team’s account from a Altidore cross, but his left-footed shot from close range hit both posts before bouncing away from danger.
As T&T kept the hosts under control for the majority of the half, they then fell behind after an unfortunate mishap in the box when Khaleem Hyland’s clearance bounced off his own teammate perfectly into the path of Sacha Kljestan and he made no mistake blasting into the goal.
The match began to stretch out as the second half progressed and both teams saw counter-attacking chances go begging.
Altidore put USA 2-0 ahead when he collected from Fabian Johnson before turning and placing the ball past Marvin Phillip who would later make a couple good stops to deny the Americans.
Kenwyne Jones got free in the US area after some nice build-up play from T&T, but his effort from close range went well over an onrushing Howard’s crossbar in the 55th.
Hart put on Jamal Williams and Shahdon Winchester in the second half but T&T could not get on the scoresheet. Joevin Jones tested Howard with a powerful left footer which had the ‘keeper stretching full length to push out.
The US pressed for further items as T&T were found opened too often at the back but the result would finish 4-0 to see the US (13 points) top the group ahead of T&T (11 points).
NB: The Hexagonal, a 10-match schedule for each of the participating countries, is played from November 2016 through October 2017. The top three finishers advance directly to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The fourth-place team will play an intercontinental home-and-away playoff in November 2017, against a team from the Asian Football Confederation.
Draw & schedule
Team 1: C1 USA
Team 2: B2 Panama
Team 3: A2 Honduras
Team 4: B1 Costa Rica
Team 5: A1 Mexico
Team 6: C2 T&T
NB: Home teams mentioned first.
Matchday 1: November 11
USA vs Mexico, Honduras vs Panama, T&T vs Costa Rica
Matchday 2: November 15
Costa Rica vs USA, Panama vs Mexico, Honduras vs T&T
Matchday 3: March 24, 2017
USA vs Honduras, T&T vs Panama, Mexico vs. Costa Rica
Matchday 4: March 28
Panama vs USA, Honduras vs Costa Rica, T&T vs Mexico
Matchday 5: June 7 or June 8, 2017 TBD
USA vs T&T, Costa Rica vs Panama, Mexico vs. Honduras
Matchday 6: June 11 or June 12, 2017, TBD
Mexico vs USA, Panama vs Honduras, Costa Rica vs T&T
Matchday 7: September 1, 2017
USA vs Costa Rica, Mexico vs Panama, T&T vs Honduras
Matchday 8: September 5, 2017
Honduras vs USA, Panama vs T&T, Costa Rica vs Mexico
Matchday 9: October 6, 2017
USA vs Panama, Costa Rica vs Honduras, Mexico vs T&T
Matchday 10: ( matches kickoff simultaneously) October 10, 2017
T&T vs USA, Panama vs. Costa Rica, Honduras vs Mexico.
Final Concacaf Semifinal Round
Teams P W D L F A Pts
1. Mexico 6 5 1 0 13 1 16
Honduras 6 2 2 2 6 6 8
Canada 6 2 1 3 5 8 7
El Salvador 6 0 2 4 4 13 2
Costa Rica 6 5 1 0 11 3 16
Panama 6 3 1 2 7 5 10
Haiti 6 1 1 4 2 4 4
Jamaica 6 1 1 4 2 10 4
USA 6 4 1 1 20 3 13
T&T 6 3 2 1 13 9 11
Guatemala 6 3 1 2 18 11 10
SVG 6 0 0 6 6 34 0