Too defensive is what former national football coach Ron La Forest believes, could hamper the national football team at the Concacaf Gold Cup in the United States and Jamaica later this month.
Coach Dennis Lawrence's men held 26th-ranked Japan to a goalless draw at the Toyota Stadium in Aichi on Wednesday, but they expectedly had to endure loads of relentless attacking pressure which pegged them back in their defensive third for most of the match.
However, La Forest, considered one of the country's better-attacking players in his heydays, believes Lawrence should capitalise on the attacking options available to him in a structured way.
"I commend Lawrence and the Soca Warriors for pulling off such a drawn result against the high-ranked Japanese, and I think it will do a whole lot of good for the team at the Gold Cup. However, the coach needs to find a way to use players such as Joevin Jones, Levi Garcia, Nathan Lewis and Kevin Molino with their attacking abilities, because this is where the strength in T&T football lies," La Forest said.
According to La Forest, "I do not know what the coach's strategy was on the day but we were being pressed in the back for long periods of time, and as a result, we hardly got the opportunity to show what we can do offensively."
The Soca Warriors are set to open their campaign against an improving Panama team on June 18, before taking on the host nation the United States, two days later. Their final match will be against regional neighbour Guyana.
The Soca Warriors need to be among the top two teams to progress from the group phase and football pundits are already predicting maximum points against the Guyanese, but they feel the Warriors need to get a favourable result against the Panamanians or the US to advance.
La Forest believes Lawrence should use the T&T team to its strength, which is in their attack, saying we need to fight fire with fire.
Before the Gold Cup tournament, the T&T Warriors will face Canada in another international friendly encounter on June 10, before leaving for the Gold Cup the day after.