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Up-Close with Anil Roberts.
Wed Apr 6, 2005 05:00
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Silence in the stadium as Warriors silences Costa Rica posse.
By: Anil Roberts - T&T Guardian.


T&T’s national football team earned its first point in the final round Concacaf World Cup qualifiers on Wednesday. The Warriors put on a spirited display in front of a crowd which included approximately 1,000 Costa Rican supporters who were supremely confident of victory. They were of the view that, if Guatemala could beat T&T by five goals to one, they (Costa Rica) should have absolutely no problem in earning the precious three points on offer. However the Warriors quickly silenced our guests by controlling the tempo of the game, keeping possession of the ball and defending as a unit. Following is an analysis of each individual player who made an appearance for T&T.

Captain Dwight Yorke —

Despite continued criticism by certain self-proclaimed scribes, Dwight wore the captain’s armband with pride and passion. He played 90 minutes of intense, “in your face” football and led by example. Dwight’s fitness level is still extremely high despite not being utilised as often as he (we) would like for Birmingham City this season. He commanded the midfield and ran the engine room with aplomb. His sublime touch was on display throughout the contest. He was able to share the ball around brilliantly and was rarely caught in possession. All in all, a great game by Dwight Yorke. One area where I would like to see some improvement is in the team’s ability to get Dwight some more shots at goal from about 20 to 25 yards out.

Clayton Ince —

Clayton, was given the nod ahead of Shaka Hislop because of Shaka’s huge mistake, which led to the first goal against Guatemala on the previous Saturday. While I do not agree with dropping a goalkeeper, based on one mistake, especially a keeper who has saved us many times in the previous matches, Clayton proved that we have two solid custodians from which to choose. It must be noted that Clayton was not the busiest of men on the pitch because T&T was able to shut down the Costa Ricans effectively. However, he did come up with a huge save in the second half when he was left exposed at the back. He stood up well, spread himself, narrowed the angle and reacted to the shot by Walter Centeno to maintain a clean sheet. He commanded his area well and took all crosses cleanly and bravely.

Dennis Lawrence —

Dennis, making a return to the senior team after a prolonged absence, due to the injury of Marvin “Dog” Andrews still appeared to be a bit rusty. His anticipation and reading of the game was fairly good at times. His aerial ability is always sound, however in this match as opposed that against Guatemala, his timing when leaping to head out the ball was much improved. Dennis gave his all for T&T, even when he picked up an injury midway in the second half and signalled for a substitution to be made, but was asked to soldier on, and he did so without complain. Dennis needs to practise with the ball at his feet more often. He is slowly losing his touch and dribbling ability. In fact, he now looks extremely clumsy when on the ball. He has to get back to his days as a midfielder for the Defence Force team before coach Porterfield transformed him into a stopper.

Anton Pierre —

Another solid performance by Anton Pierre. Unlike the match versus Guatemala in which he was instructed to simply play the long ball at every opportunity, he mixed it up well against Costa Rica.
Again, his aggression in the air was evident. Anton must improve on his speed. This weakness was exposed especially when he was operating on or near the flanks.
His marking left a bit to be desired at times as he drifted out of position and was caught ball-watching, as a Costa Rican attacker would sneak behind his back. His throw-ins, while attaining great distance, lack velocity and trajectory. He must make these throws to the near post much flatter.

Marlon Rojas —

Rojas made a return to the team and played on the left side of the defence. Marlon’s performance can only be described as colourful. Marlon gave us a little bit of everything, much of which we did not ask. He found himself dribbling out of the back on at least four occasions and got himself into trouble. Although it must be said that on one occasion he did excite the crowd. However, at this level it is an unnecessary thrill. Rojas still does not understand how to time his overlapping runs forward to add numbers in attack. His crossing leaves a lot to be desired and his speed is lacking at this top level. However, he must be given an “A” for effort.

Atiba Charles —

David Atiba Charles was the man of the match. He played a flawless game of football. He added much needed intensity and intelligence to the defence. He is confident on the ball, strong in the tackle and supremely fit. He will ride the bench no more. He grabbed his chance to impress with both hands and now he is on the team to stay. Well done Atiba.

Angus Eve —

Angus epitomized the word Warrior. Despite being totally out of gas with 25 minutes left in the game, despite glancing to the bench hoping to see his number, Angus dug deep and soldiered on. Even making a probing 35-yard run in the 89th minute which almost led to a match winning goal but for a last-minute, lunging tackle by Leonardo Gonzalez. Angus showed how important experience is. He played both ways for 90 minutes. Angus still needs to improve on the quality of his corners. It is just not good enough to put the ball into play near the first post. The ball must be delivered with speed, and swerve to wreak havoc in the opponents’ penalty area. The team must also increase the variety in dead-ball situations if we are to progress.

Silvio Spann —

The long-awaited opportunity to start in the centre midfield was finally granted to the Rasta haired Silvio Spann. He did not disappoint he added life to the midfield with his darting runs and constant movement. He was a defender’s nightmare. His touch is incredible and his ability to turn on a dime is noticeable. His intensity, hustle, heart and soul was there for all to see. A little composure is needed in the tackle, especially from behind or he may quickly pick up a pocketful of yellow cards. Silvio is the man in the midfield. He needs as many matches as possible at the same intensity because he is not match fit.

Carlos Edwards —

Carlos had a nightmare of a game. He appeared to be confused at most times as to what he wanted to do. He was constantly caught in two minds, whether to pass or dribble. Most times this led to the wrong decision. I have never seen a player of this calibre, mis-trap a ball on the ground so frequently. His crosses need to be improved to provide that much-needed pin-point accuracy. On the positive side, he is still supremely fit. The timing of his supporting runs along the wings is immaculate and this leads him to receive a lot of the ball. He has to be more effective and decisive when going forward. Playing in England, has numbed his imagination. He must practise a few simple dribbles (body shakes) at speed down the line if we are to break down the defences of our opponents.

Cornell Glen —

Cornell was not as aggressive as he can be in taking on players and going past them with his brilliant dribbling. This may have been due to a lack of proper ball supply to him from midfield as well as Stern John’s lack of running off the ball. Cornell did not play his type of game, somehow he tried to play as a ‘post up’ player with his back to the goal. This is not where he is at his most dangerous. Unfortunately at this juncture, Cornell is simply not fit enough to start, as he cramped up badly with 28 minutes to go in the match.

Stern John —

The old Warrior is badly out of form. He is a pace too slow and not as sharp around goal as he ought to be. His control is still remarkable, especially on the chest. However his scoring drought has left him a bit goal-shy. His work rate needs to improve drastically, especially off the ball. Again, I repeat, we need a 100 percent fit and hungry Stern John if we are to qualify for Germany 2006.

[Substitutes]

Hector Sam —

Always a dangerous player. He came on and tried to spark a sputtering offence but simply did not receive enough of the ball in his cameo appearance to be effective.

Nigel Pierre —

The new-look “crock” is truly making a case for a starting position up front. He has lost (by my estimation) approximately 11 pounds. This has enabled him to add a work rate to his existing skill level. He is no longer a statue, waiting for the perfect pass. He is moving well and creating havoc in the opponents defensive third. He also added much needed defensive pressure up front against the Costa Ricans, which made them panic in the back.

Leslie Tiger Fitzpatrick —

Entered the match in midfield and had a solid game. As usual, his tackling was top class. He still needs to improve on his crossing and his confidence level on the ball. The older players must encourage this young man, rather than scream at him on the pitch.

Return To SOCAwarriors Online.
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