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Commendable effort by young Soca Warriors
T&T coach Dennis Lawrence have expressed his concerns that the local players he fielded on Tuesday night were not ready for this level, but I'm sure despite that he was satisfied with the results for which the game's only goal came in the 93rd minute of play during his team's encounter against the World Cup bound qualifier Panama.
It was not only because of the ninety minutes which the selected squad was based mainly on experienced players such as Daniel Cyrus, Curtis Gonzales, Triston Hodge, Alvin Jones and Marcus Joseph. Admittedly, it was easy to see that the Panamanians were starting without a number of their already proven players.
Regardless of the absence of the matured players, the game brought to the fore some exciting moves, especially in the first half.
Admittedly, both teams started to allow each other to play without challenge while in possession in their own portion of the field. The ploy allowed the clustering of players utilising thirty metres on either side of the centreline.
The results was that the possession of the ball changed hands regularly and the number of tough tackles were seen more often than a normal game.
The speed of the Panama was easily recognised as soon as they received the ball, their key attackers took the initiative by running at the Warriors and mixed in with some skills and quick passing. The response by the Cyrus, Gonzales, Jones and Hodge in defence was filled with some timely tackles and quick efforts of counter attacks.
The ball distribution of Cyrus and Gonzales down the field was effective in reaching behind the backs of the Panama defence, but the speed of Cordell Cato, Nathaniel Garcia and Joseph was insufficient to create goal scoring chances.
A similar attacking style was evident when Panama got its chance to move forward, except that they possessed some skilful players with much faster than average speed.
The second half showed us the shortage on physical condition of the home team and because of that keeper Adrian Foncette had a difficult time. Fortunately for the Warriors, the opponents were poor in their finishing, although they created goalscoring some six times in the game.
It was clear that Coach Lawrence decided to give some exposure to some young players out of the secondary school programme. Insufficient time on the field and possibly a more advanced group caused them to expose their lack of readiness for the international game.
Some may have thought that a few of the more experienced Pro League players may well have brought more out of the opposition.
However, there was no period of the match which exposed a huge difference between the two teams and Panama can well be made aware that their journey to Russia is still short of the organisation, the high percentage of passes and any vision of planned attacks which will create concern for the teams in Russia in two months time.
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