Trinidad Play Jamaica in Toronto
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Soccer Salute in Toronto 2006
Soccer Salute in Toronto 2006
Invitational vs Invitational
Soccer Salute 2006 was played before a large enthusiastic crowd at Allan Lamport Stadium in Toronto last Sunday with Trinidad and Tobago defeating Jamaica 1-0 on a goal scored by Kevin Jeffery in the 75th minute of play. After the two teams warmed up the atmosphere was very electrifying when the fans of the two teams started singing, chanting and making noise with anything in their possession in anticipation of the friendly rivalry.
For the promoters this must have been a welcomed change compared to earlier reports that some people could have left the venue after it was alleged that they were misinformed the time of the game but later found out that the time of the featured Invitational game (of the three games scheduled) was 7pm. If this was the case then unfortunately those people would have missed a level of soccer that has not been seen in the Caribbean community for quite some time.
The game started at a fast pace which favored the youthful T&T Invitational team who strung together several combinations of passes, while running into spaces to utilize the enormous size of the Lamport field. However their impressive start was stalled somewhat by the solid play of the Jamaican defense that shutdown their early advances without giving T&T a shot on their net.
At that point in the game the Jamaican midfielders lead by Reggae Boyz superstar Theodore Whitmore systematically took control of the game but as a payback they found the Trinidad and Tobago defense also were a tough bunch although the Jamaican attacks were potentially more dangerous due to their close proximity to the Trinidad net. The Jamaicans however could not capitalize on their territorial advantage due to a high percentage of their shots going high and wide or their lacked of awareness or aggressiveness around the goal area.
T&T Invitational withstood the pressure and showed the characteristics of the real Soca Warriors by not only staying competitive but battling back to have more direct chances on goals from headers from crosses that forced Reggae Boyz goalkeeper Barrett to come up with brilliant saves. On the flipside the dominant Reggae Boyz Invitational team had only a couple of direct shots on net: One a classic Whitmore low curving free kick that forced goalkeeper Ross Russell to make a full extension save to push the ball around the post. Although the half ended goalless the game was full with excitement and the level of play was definitely at International football/soccer standard. The large crowd was full with enthusiasm and the supporters of the teams were thrilled with their moments of scoring anxieties mixed with defensive scares.
Heading into the second half the game was delayed for over half an hour due to a lengthy halftime show. Needless to say this was not a popular decision with the players of both teams. The delay seemed to affect the Jamaica team as the second half started slowly with T&T having the first possession and from the touch off T&T seemed a little more settled after withstanding the dominant play of the Jamaican team in the latter stages of the first half. T&T was more deliberate in their build up and play selections which balanced of the run of play and time of possession. However although the game was more competitive the slow precision build up of the Jamaican team could not be flawed or matched.
From my vantage point as T&T coach our defense had to be patient and continue to work hard to utilize the age advantage and cut down the space of Jamaica midfielders. As the game progress to the later stages Reggae Boyz goal keeper Warren Barrett was put to the test and was forced to make at least three big stops to keep his team in the game. In the meantime the Jamaican team continued to hedge goal wards but without the urgency needed to capitalize on their potential scoring chances.
In the end the T&T Invitational team perseverance was rewarded when the Jamaica Invitational defense was caught out of position as T&T midfielder Kevin Jeffery broke free all alone on goalkeeper Barrett to tap in a bouncing ball over the keeper right shoulder into the goal. The T&T supporters went into a World Cup frenzy and with that momentum T&T created a few more scoring opportunities but found goalkeeper Barrett a difficult man to negotiate around whenever his defense went shopping for the tying goal.
After the game the Soccer Salute 2006 Challenge Trophy was presented by Jamaican Consulate General Mrs. Annemarie Bonner to the T&T Invitational team captain, goalkeeper Ross Russell, while the runner up trophy was presented to the Jamaican Invitational captain goalkeeper Warren Barrett by the Trinidad and Tobago Consulate General Mr. Michael Lashley. Soccer Salute closed off with some music and the mingling of the players of both teams and their fans.
T&T Invitational Team: *Ross Russell (Capt), *Kwesi Smith, *Kevon Carter, Claude Adams, Dexter Pacheco, *Devorn Jorsline, *Conrad Smith, *Christopher Durity, Steve Salim, *Sherron Joseph, Kevin Jeffery, Rene Martin, Todd Oliver, Henry John, Marcus Marshall, Kerry Llewellyn. Coach: Aldwyn McGill, Asst: Dixon Modeste
*Denotes appearance for national team and various levels (caps)
Jamaica Invitational Team: Warren Barrett (Capt), Markino Gillins, Theodore Whitmore, Winston Griffith, Daniel Ricketts, Byron Earle, Trevor Gragam, Gladstone Richards, Jeffrey Caine, Kevin Rose, Ronald Nicholas, George Salesman, Mario Osbourne, Kevin Mc Intosh, Andre Steward. Coach: Winston Duhaney
Caribbean Football in Toronto
The hype in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in the sunmmer of 2006 was in connection with the upcoming game this weekend between a visiting Trinidad and Tobago Invitational team and a visiting Jamaican Invitational team at Allan Lamport Stadium in downtown Toronto. The anxiety and questions surrounding the game was due to the popularity of the Soca Warriors after qualifying for the World Cup and the demand for their appearance world wide.
Therefore it was understandable that everyone automatically assumed back then that the visiting Invitational team was the Soca Warriors. However this was one time that everyone was believing the hype, and as a result the promoter/s had to attend radio shows to inform the public that the Invitational T&T team would not be the Soca Warriors.
With the complications surrounding the T&T Invitational team status and as the assigned coach of the T&T Invitational team my conditions of involvement was quite simple. If the Invitational team consisted of visiting players from Trinidad and Tobago that had national team (caps) then that would have been satisfactory.
In regards to the Jamaican Invitational team it was reported that the team will comprise of players that are popular names from Jamaica’s past Reggae Boyz teams and the day’s entertainment program was promised to reflect the cultures of all of the Caribbean.