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T&T vs Puerto Rico (24-Nov-2004).
Thu Nov 25, 2004 10:52
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Convincing win for T&T...Puerto Rico hammered 5-0 in opener.
By: Gregory Trujillo - T&T Guardian Reports.


A T&T team, minus a host of its World Cup players started the Digicel Cup for qualification for the 2005 Gold Cup in the United States in style yesterday, whipping Puerto Rico 5-0 at Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya, Tunapuna.
US-based Cornell Glen, who plays for MetroStars in the MLS, set up the victory by scoring the first three goals in the 13th, 43rd and 47th minutes.
Defence man Derek King, skippering the “Soca Warriors” for the first time, added the fourth in the 80th minute from the penalty spot and substitute Conrad Smith rounded off the scoring in the 88th minute.
The bunch of T&T second-string players seeking to impress coach Bertille St Clair dominated the match, as they adapted to the sloppy conditions better than the visitors.
With goalkeeper Daurance Williams and the back five of King, Cyd Gray, Keyeno Thomas, Anton Pierre and Derek Phillips in the 5-3-2 formation only having to clean up operations, it was left for midfielders Kerwyn Jemmott, Denzil Theobald and Leslie “Tiger” Fitzpatrick to do the donkey work in the middle of the field and Glen and Nigel Pierre to get the ball in the net.
Glen proved that he has an eye for scoring with three cleanly struck shots.
Following a play engineered by Jemmott in midfield, Gray picked out Glenn from on the right flank with an accurate pass.
Glen climbed onto the waist-high centre and rifled a first-time volley past goalkeeper Alvaro Nazor.
The speedy Glen added his second by getting around stopper Christopher Gores and intelligently playing the ball around Nazor into an open goal.
Glen completed his hat-trick after being fed a ball from on the right by Nigel Pierre. He chest-trapped and hit a one-timer low past Nazor.
King increased the lead to 4-0 from the penalty spot after Gray was fouled in the box by Alexis Rivera Curet.
Conrad Smith, a replacement for Nigel Pierre in the 68th minute, took advantage of the Puerto Rican defence playing too high.
He took on last two players and cut inside on the left of the box and fired into the first post 88th minute.

Results:
T&T 5 (Cornell Glen 13th, 43rd, 48th; Derek King 80th-pen; Conrad Smith 88th) v Puerto Rico 0.

T&T Team:
Daurance Williams, Derek King (capt), Anton Pierre, Cyd Gray, Derek Phillips (Stephen Cruickshank 62nd), Keyeno Thomas, Denzil Theobald, Leslie Fitzpatrick, Kerwyn Jemmott, Cornell Glen (Odelle Armstrong 72nd), Nigel Pierre (Conrad Smith 68th).
Touches, Up-Close.

I had the pleasure of meeting one of the Flex premier players and I was seated next to our own web moderator "Tallman". It was an interesting evening but at the end of the day T&T performance was forgettable but here are the things worth mentioning.

Digicel gave out some nice red and black mesh cell phone courier bags, with whistle, shack-shack, rags, key chains and other little trinkets inside. Also they gave out some jerseys.

People rush them like if they were wrong changed. But they were rationing the stocks and gave away plenty of the goods to the players of the opposing teams. Friday, they will be handing out some more. It’s worth going to the game just to get one of them bags and a jersey.

The crowd I would estimate was about 1500. Bertille St Clair was on the bench, Peter ‘O’ Connor in the stands, Anil Roberts and the rest of the T&T team who were injured or couldn't make squad.

Now I came 5 minutes late but at that time it was 0-0.

T&T had some keeper......he didn't have anything to do or save as Puerto Rico had only one meaningful attack on the night.

It looked like a 5 in the back at times, but other times it looked like a 4-4-2. The men in the back were King, Thomas, Pierre, Phillips and Gray.

The middle was Jemmott, Fitzpatrick and Theobold.

Up front were Glen and Pierre.

Now 1st off ......Puerto Rico wasn't good. In fact, a PFL side like Jabloteh or W Connection could have pounded goals on this side.

T&T while scoring 5 didn't actually dominate the game or stamp their authority.

Now the first goal was a beauty. Cyd Gray tear up 2 men on the right and swung in a cross that Glen volleyed/scissors in the air inside the box and into the corner of the goal (Real TV ting) and it looked good. 1-0.

The second goal, Glen get a thru ball and a scramble he blow past the last defender and hit the goalie a kinda first/belt and slot it into a open goal.

The third goal I didn't see as I was purchasing Beers/pies and soup. But from what was conveyed was that Nigel Pierre chest trap a ball to Glen who flick it up and shoot home.

4th goal was a penalty that DEREK KING scored, yes ! he hit it well.

5th goal, Conrad Smith, now the man running slow, he getting counter attack and running to the flag and up the field instead of attacking the goal.

But he get a ball and trot up the field, the whole Puerto Rican defence came back and recovered but he nipped past a man and fan the second player and hit a side footer into the corner of the net. A real good goal.

Now gentlemen from the formation we was still having problems in the middle. There is a gap and what’s happening is that we are playing around the ball in the back with the 3-5 men, reaching up to the half, and then trying to feed Glen or Pierre down the flank. When they get the ball they have no body to link up with, layoff, or make one two passes.

It is too much work for the 2-3 midfielders to cover the ground, and we getting caught out. Pressure on we tail and its the defence working too hard.

Now I wasn't expecting much from this game but it brought out these positives.

Leslie Fitzpatrick was the man of the night....he is our new Edgar Davids, he have a energy and positive attitude that none of the other players possessed. Maybe, he’s playing for pick but that is how all players should run when they on the national team. He was the orchestrator of the team. Making the thru balls, knocking the one-twos, and most importantly, he was tackling and winning all balls. If the ball pass him, man ent passing. He was unfortunate not to score on a thru ball but he over push and the keeper smothered it.
This player should replace Rahim or Eve one time in the middle and was the little ray of light or discovery. Also, he was the workhorse on the team, running back and bringing the ball out the back, if he lost it he would always track back and win back the ball.

Cruickshank is a indian/chinee fella. Who came on in the second half. He plays good simple ball, didn't make any mistakes and dribbled when necessary. I need to see more of him before I could make a fair assessment, but he needs another chance.

Jemmott...put on some size, but nothing new from him, playing at walking pace, some small beat but nothing to suggest he will make an impact on our future games.

Theobold is a good nippy player. Some skill and decent work rate. He and Fitzpatrick we need to keep things running in the middle.

Phillips...the man look little heavy and runs kinda awkwardly, but he didn't make any mistakes. Played simple and did what was necessary as a wingback, he didn't go forward too much but kept it safe. Guilty of escorting players on occasion instead of pelting blade. Can be replaced, but give him some more time to find his own.

The back line didn't have much to do, as they clean up the Puerto Rican team, however Anton Pierre, slow, but he have a deadly bullet which he unleash and it hit the bar from about 30 yards out. Thomas I ent know why he has not been playing more often, he’s had a good sound performance and Derek King........allyuh doe hate on the man, he didn't have a bad game, he was good, but you need to see them against better opposition.

Nigel Pierre is nothing new....slow, will kill any hope of a counter attack, but strong and lays up balls quite nicely.

Glen, even though he scored a hat trick coulda play better, his finishing needs work in some areas and he makes some funny decisions, but he is the man for us when Stern John is not present.

Odelle Armstrong didn't get much time to do much, he did put down a fan and beat session by the corner flag for about 30 seconds.

Finally this T&T team need urgency, they playing at walking pace, very methodical, no chance what so ever at a counter attack and men does cut the ball back and wait. Negating and advantage we have. Also, this TT team does not shoot to goal. The Puerto Rican goalie, fat and shaky and nobody really whet the man, in the slippery conditions.
T&T team want to walk in the goal in the area and this doe work. We have to start shooting.

Well that's it for now. I real want to see the Grenada game but I’m not sure if time will permit.

Grenada was leading 2-1 when I left, a man score a bicycle and a lob. Suriname got a gift of an own goal.

Grenada look like they can handle us. The players running, they have a good, knock/hustle, they shooting at will and they are skillful. All these teams now looking like T&T in its heyday, making off the ball runs, taking on players and finding space.

Dont be surprised if Grenada beat us, they have some quality. T&T will have to step up, but if we even play at 50% we could more than put 2-3 on them.

Team ratings, a average 5.

The game was forgettable....bright spot and discovery, Leslie Fitzpatrick.

Tallman View:

Fuh me, Leslie ‘Tiger’ Fitzpatrick was de man of de match. He was all over de field, tackling hard and winning most of de balls. He had an excellent work-rate. He kinda play like Tony Rougier.
However, he did throw away ah one on one wit de keeper. De odda bright spark was Theobald. He was constantly making forays in tuh de Puerto Rican defense, plus he would always track back tuh help de defense. He was lively whole match. Nigel Pierre was slow as usual, but he did have ah good match in ah supporting role.
He made many nice passes and was responsible fuh setting up two of Glen's goals. All Glen's goal were well taken. Two of the three goals he scored were classics. Conrad Smith's goal was also ah boss goal. De Stephen Cruickshank fella didn't have much chance tuh contribute but he look like he have some pace and some dribbling skill. Anton Pierre was decent at de back, but he look slow. Dem Central Americans go run right past him. Jemmott was ah non-factor, I eh know why he was on de side. Derek Phillips had ah poor game, plus he looked unfit and like he put on ah little size since he was injured.

Even though we had a few outstanding individual performances, de hole in de middle of de field was still glaring. We need ah playmaker bad, bad, bad. If we cyar get one in short order den we need tuh alter our strategy tuh make up fuh dat deficiency. Maybe we could take ah page out of de US book. Dem eh have no outstanding midfielders or any midfield general, but dey still manage tuh play efficient ball.

De game tomorrow against Grenada should be good. Dey was knocking some nice ball against Suriname. Dey should give we ah good run. Dey passing was fluid and dey was making some nice runs off de ball. De only reason dey eh beat Suriname was due tuh poor finishing.

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