Trinidad’s Soca Princesses Still Have One More Chance at FIFA Women’s World Cup

Written by Red Carpet Shelley. Posted in Caribbean News, Red Carpet Shelley Home, Sports

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Published on October 28, 2014 with No Comments

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Mexico forward Veronica Charlyn Corral, centre, is tackled by Trinidad and Tobago defender Arin King, right, in their Concacaf third/fourth match in Chester, Pennsylvania, yesterday Author: AP PHOTOS

The Soca Princesses have just one last chance to book their spot in next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup after they were beaten 4-2 by Mexico in yesterday’s third/fourth match of the Concacaf Women’s Championship at the PPL Park, Chester, Pennsylvania.

Mexico, who rested their five best players for their semifinal vs USA, had a huge scare after Trinidad and Tobago rallied from a goal down in the 24th minute to snatch the lead in the second half.

A diving Kennya Cordner headed in the equaliser in the 57th minute from a right-sided cross by Ahkeela Mollon and 21 minutes later, the speedy Cordner turned provider.

The forward chased a pass down the left hand channel in what seemed like a lost cause but hooked it back into the danger area where a bustling Mariah Shade stabbed in the ball to stun the Central Americans.

Just one minute later, though, it was the Trinbagonians turn to be stunned, the Mexicans answering back immediately with Monica Ocampo heading her team level after a good run and cross from Sandra Mayor.

With no changes to the score after the end of the 90 minutes, Mexico were always going to be the favourites in extra time and their fresher legs definitely showed. A double from the dangerous Veronica Corral in the space of three minutes (104th and 106th) took the sting out of a spirited TT who finished the tournament in fourth spot.

The Soca Princesses will now have to qualify for the World Cup as their male counterparts did in 2005 with a home and away play-off against Ecuador. The first leg is in South American on November 8 with the return leg scheduled for December 2.

In 2005, the Soca Warriors created history by beating Bahrain 2-1 on aggregate to advance to the 2006 Germany World Cup for the very first time.

The TT women must now follow a similar path with the hope of repeating that feat.

Speaking with Newsday yesterday, Brent Sancho, a member of the Soca Warriors team that played in the World Cup, showered the national women with adulation and believes they can still achieve their ultimate dream.

“Seems like it is destiny,” Sancho said, when told that the team must qualify like they did through a play-off.

“I’m extremely proud in the girls’ performance for the entire tournament. They’ve shown a lot of resolve and a certain appetite and attitude to win and to be successful. You have to give them credit, they’ve been tremendous through the entire tournament despite all the adversity we have faced before and even during the tournament with injuries and suspensions etcetera. To go down twice in extra time against two of the strongest teams in women’s football in Concacaf, I’m really proud of their performance. It’s without doubt something they can hold their heads high.”

Asked whether the Mexican coach’s decision to basically concede their semifinal vs USA in anticipation of the third place match gave TT’s opponents the slight edge in extra time, Sancho agreed.

“It always would…Trinidad could not afford that luxury. Playing against Costa Rica we were three penalty kicks from qualifying for the World Cup so we have to start with our strongest team right through. It has been a gruelling tournament for these girls every single game. They’ve played with a lot of heart throughout,” he said.

National coach Randy Waldrum, on the eve of yesterday’s encounter, had warned his team against starting slowly vs Mexico and they certainly heeded his advice.

In the 4th minute, Cordner showed good anticipation to rob a Mexican defender of the ball on the edge of the Central Americans’ penalty area but was quickly closed down as she surged forward.

Cordner was looking active and intercepted another poor pass from Mexico but her switch to Mollon was deflected and the play broke down.

Mexico weathered the early TT storm and began to find their rhythm with their quick short-passing game.

They took the lead in the 24th when a cross off a throw-in was fizzed low into the box where Sandra Mayor took one touch before curling the ball into the back of the net. Corral was proving a handful and defender Brianna Ryce, drafted in for the suspended Rhea Belgrave, was yellow carded after taking a hand full of Corral’s jersey to stop a counterattack as the half ended 1-0.

The Soca Princesses, desperate for a way back into the match, began pushing bodies forward in search of an equaliser and defender Arin King almost got on the end of a loose ball in the area from a free-kick in the 51st.

Six minutes later though, a diagonal pass from the left by King dropped to Mollon on the right who wasted no time in crossing to the last post where a diving Cordner butted the ball into the back of the net.

The goal jolted Mexico into action and Veronica Perez (58th) and Ocampo (60th) had shots on goal repelled by the TT goalkeeper and defence respectively. The resulting corner kick though caused an almighty melee in the TT box after an error by goalkeeper Kimika Forbes with the crossbar, King and Lauren Hutchinson combining to somehow stop Mexico from scoring.

The TT defence was under tremendous pressure and it was a relief when a pass down the left was chased down by Cordner who hooked the ball into the Mexico penalty area where Shade was on-hand to knock it into the back of the net.

Perhaps still celebrating, the TT defenders were caught napping as Mayor dribbled past King down the right and sent a delightful ball to the back post which found the head of Ocampo who left Forbes no chance with a powerful strike.

Pushing for the winner, Mexico found an inspired Forbes who kept them at bay at the end of the second half.

With 30 minutes still to go, however, the TT women had little to offer as Corral finally broke free. A misjudgement by Ryce saw her miss her headed clearance from a right-sided cross and Corall chested the ball down in the box before poking it past an onrushing Forbes in the 104th.

Two minutes later, Corral sealed the victory after she was played through on goal, angling her right-footer past Forbes and to the far post

SOURCE:  Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

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