Trinidad and Tobago, appearing at their third CWOQ tourney, faced off with second timers Guatemala in the Group B opener at the BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas and despite trailing by a goal after the first half, stormed back to defeat the second placed Central American side 2-1.
The Soca Princesses who won the Caribbean Zone of qualifying opened with purpose while creating numerous chances in the opening 10 minutes of play. Guatemala’s Goalie Yoselin Franco brought off some excellent saves within this period to deny the Caribbean side the lead.
Kenya Cordner hit straight to Franco and also missed a header after receiving a perfect serve from Ahkeela Mollon in the 9th minute. T&T controlled play with compact midfield work and fluent raids up front but unfortunately found themselves trailing when Guatemala were awarded a penalty in the 17th minute which Ana Lucia Martinez hit past Kimika Forbes to take the lead.
T&T again went over the bar from the six yard, Janine Francois messing up another good cross from Mollon in the 21st minute. Guatemala’s Jennifer Munoz went over the bar in the 45th minute while a desperate final 15 seconds saw T&T almost equalizing but the stubborn defence of Guatemala and goalkeeper Franco again denied the Twin Island Republic which had a total of 10 shots on goal to Guatemala’s 3 in the first half. Half time Guatemala 1 T&T 0.
Second half action saw T&T’s #3 Mariah Shade going directly to Franco in the 47th minute. T&T finally made it right as Guatemala began to tire, #19 Cordner heading into an open goal in the 74th minute to tie the score. It was just reward for the dominance of the Soca Princesses. Then the go ahead goal came in the 75th minute a ripping right foot missile off the boot of Tasha St-Louis (CONCACAF Player of the Match) underscoring the dominance of the T&T girls.
Guatemala could have tied the score almost immediately after but were denied by Forbes. The game ended 2-1 in favour of Trinidad and Tobago.
Meanwhile, in Group A matches which were contested on Wednesday at the Toyota Stadium, Mexico hammered Puerto Rico 6-0, while the USA defeated Costa Rica 5-0. Group A matches will continue tomorrow when Costa Rica face Puerto Rico and USA clash with Mexico.
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