By Franklin Wilson in Houston Texas compliments of Fazia’s Collection, Crown Mining Supply, Anglin Enterprises USA, Stag Beer, Germans Restaurant, Queensway Security Service
Guyana’s Lady Jags will be aiming for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift, a victory over Guatemala when the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, Group B continues today at the BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas.
Like the Lady Jags who qualified as the Caribbean’s third place team, Guatemala, which qualified as the second placed Central American side lost their opening matches to Canada and Trinidad and Tobago by 5-0 and 1-2 margins respectively.
Despite the loss to Canada, the 11th placed side in the World Rankings, the 89th placed Lady Jags is confident of doing better against a Guatemala side that can be eliminated from contention today. Guyana can also be eliminated from contention with a loss against the Guatemalans.
Head Coach Mark Rodrigues informed that yesterday’s session went well with the girls adapting very well to the tactics that would be used in today’s match. He also shared that the team had a mental session on Friday evening as they sought to get pass the reality of the loss to Canada while refocusing on today’s challenge.
“Specific tactical changes will be employed; it’s a complete game plan for Guatemala’s game. There are so many benefits that came out of the game against Canada, it’s hard for others to understand but there were tremendous
benefits. We were able to see Guatemala play on both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively. They too were able to see us play but all they saw was how great a defending team the Lady Jags are, so we’ve got a lot more information at our disposal.”
The Lady Jags’ ability to defend was severely tested against the Canadians and having put behind what can be the most difficult hurdle in the group, will certainly look forward to playing more freely against the Guatemalans today as well as Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday, their final group match.
Captain Ashley Rodrigues, who plays with Tampa Bay Helenic in the USA will be the chief tactician on the field in midfield and will be hoping for a good game with the intent of leading her side to a win against Guatemala in the first meeting between these two sides at this level.
The Lady Jags are not expected to play an overly attacking game but will be, at least in the opening minutes, gauging their opponents before going for the juggler. In the Trinidad contest on opening night, last Thursday, Guatemala were slower to the ball than the T&T side which won the Caribbean leg of qualifying.
Like T&T, the Lady Jags have some quick players in their lineup and forwards Otesha Charles and Calaigh Copland will fancy their chances of carving out what will be a memorable win for their side, when achieved. Along with Captain Rodrigues in the engine room will be Alison Heydorn, Ashlee Savona, Mariam El-Masri and Olivia Gonsalves.
Warm up matches for the team has not been a reality but despite this, the Lady Jags, a unit that has been closely knitted, have endeavored to always give 100% on and off the field of play when they are called upon despite the challenges.
Leading the defensive line will be the rock solid and experienced Custodian Chante Sandiford along with sisters Briana and Kayla De Souza, Justine Rodrigues and Kailey Leila.
Guatemala were awarded a penalty in the first half against T&T which they converted. The Central Americans, which have now lost both matches they have played against T&T by similar 1-2 margins never really threatened the Twin Island defence during the match, the Caribbean side did miss on a few occasions as they dominated the entire second period of play.
The Guatemalans will be led by defender Coralia Monterroso who plays with the University of New Brunswick in Canada. Yoselin Franco will be in goal with the other possible members of the starting X1 being Marilyn Rivera, Christian Recinos, Gliria Aguilar, Jennifer Munoz, Ana Lucia Martinez, Vivian Herrera, Kellin Mayen, Didra Martinez and Andrea Rabanales.
Kick off time is 12:30hrs Texas time; 14:30hrs Guyana time. The feature clash today brings together Canada and T&T from 15:00hrs, 17:00hrs Guyana time.
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