Kevin Molino scored a very important goal on Friday night as Trinidad and Tobago defeated Panama 1-0 and got the FIFA World Cup Qualifying campaign back on track.
But the same way the national team got off the mark at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, so too did the United States with a 6-0 whipping of Honduras in San Jose. Mexico climbed to the top of the table with a 2-0 win over Costa Rica at the Azteca Stadium.
More than 10,000 fans turned up at the stadium to see the new look national team under Dennis Lawrence. Before the start of the match, the national team got a surprise dressing room visit from Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley. The pep talk lasted just five minutes before the players went onto the field for a warm-up session.
With Panama central defender Roman Torres off the field after losing his left shoe in a tangle with national captain Kenwyne Jones, the local attackers took full advantage with Molino receiving a pass from Joevin Jones on the left, moving into vacant space, and slotting a right-footer to the bottom right-hand corner of Jaime Cano’s net.
The final whistle from Honduras referee Orlando Matamoros brought cheers from a very appreciative crowd. It also silenced the Panamanian supporters.
It was a return for Kenwynne Jones, who had been the butt of criticisms in the past, but on Friday night, he had a new lease on life and showed true grit and fight.
Lawrence made some changes to his line-up. Centre-back Sheldon Bateau was suspended and his regular partner, Carlyle Mitchell, was injured. Curtis Gonzales partnered with Daneil Cyrus in the central defensive positions while the work horse, Carlos Edwards, took up Cyrus’ regular spot at right-back.
Trinidad and Tobago will now turn their attention towards Tuesday’s game against Mexico at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, while Panama will be hosting the United States. The Mexican team arrives on Sunday.
The United States lifted themselves off last position with a 6-0 thrashing of Honduras.
GOALSCORER KEVIN MOLINO