The Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Football Team will kick start their preparations for the World Cup Qualifiers with a friendly match against CONCACAF giants United States on January 31st 2021, at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida.
In their last meeting, the Yanks recorded its largest ever marginal victory against T&T with a 6-0 victory in the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup. However, the US still has a bitter taste in their mouth against the Twin-Island team who played spoilers with a hard-fought 2-1 victory in October, 2017 which ended their 2018 World Cup hopes, courtesy an Alvin Jones scorcher in the first half. The only other victory in a competitive match, where T&T has over the Americans was in 2010 when T&T won again 2-1 in a CONCACAF Semi-final round clash at the Hasely Crawford Stadium via goals by leading mid-fielder Russell Latapy and international striker Dwight Yorke.
Speaking to the TTFA media after a training session on Tuesday was T&T Head Coach Terry Fenwick, “Obviously this is a big step forward. I want to kickstart football here in Trinidad and Tobago again and by playing a game against a team of the magnitude of the USA that have got players all over the world now, they’re battering teams within our region… It’s a big step forward. Maybe too early for us, but I wanted to take this on so it can get us as organized as possible, moving forward because obviously we have got World Cup qualifiers coming up at the end of March.” Former San Juan Jabloteh and Central FC coach, Fenwick added, “I think the players and everyone else, need to be operating on a different level. That’s what I am trying to endorse across the board with my players and staff. It’s going to present us with a good chance to have a look at a few players and give ourselves a solid test against a team such as the USA.”
T&T will begin the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers at home against Guyana (25th March), away to Puerto Rico (28th March), away to the Bahamas (5th June) then home to St Kitts and Nevis (8th June). Whereas, the US will contest the CONCACAF Nations League Final Four in June, the Gold Cup in July and the start of 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying, which kicks off in September for the hosts.
The former English defender is yet to announce his squad for the clash but he has trimmed his team down to 23 players.
T & T SQUAD
Marvin Phillip, Adrian Foncette, Denzil Smith, Alvin Jones, Shannon Gomez, Justin Garcia, Jamal Jack, Daniel Cyrus, Jesse Williams, Josiah Trimmingham, Jelani Peters, Triston Hodge, Michel Poon-Angeron, Matthew Woo Ling, Duane Muckette, Justin Sadoo, Jabari Mitchell, Hashim Arcia, Gary Griffith III, Sean Bonval, Shackiel Henry, Brent Sam, Marcus Joseph.
The staging of the camp and the match fall under the comprehensive “U.S. Soccer Return to Play Protocols”. Due to the evolving conditions related to the global pandemic, capacity for the event will be limited to 4,500 fans according to US Soccer Safety Protocols And Guidelines | Covid-19 Warning.
At the USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago match, fans will be required to wear face coverings at all times while on stadium premises except while actively eating or drinking. A socially distanced stadium seating manifest has been designed to keep fans in place and within their own parties of four or less, which also includes the following protocols:
• Adequate spacing between the field of play and ticket purchasers has been arranged.
• Each occupied row will have a maximum of two parties (each comprised of four or fewer people), allowing each party to access the aisle closest to its seats without stepping over another party.
• Every party will have at least six feet of space between it and other parties.
• Tickets will not be issued for the first two seats closest to the aisle.
• Reserved seating only, general admission will not be allowed.
• Mobile-only tickets
Concession stands will have cashless payment. No bags, including clear bags, will be allowed. Ticket holders will have a preferred gate to enter the stadium based on their ticket location.
In spite of the Covid 19 pandemic and the constraints brought about by it, the T & T squad will be hopeful for a win against USA and to return home healthy and happy for such an experience.