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Warriors aim to keep momentum with Mexican Test
T&T Soca Warriors will be looking to maintain momentum when they face Mexico in their closing Group C match of the Concacaf Gold Cup.
The team trained for 80 minutes at the Davidson College training facility yesterday and was also scheduled to have a light session at the match venue from 9 pm last night. The game is being played at the Bank of American Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, from 8.30 pm.
A draw for the Soca Warriors will see them top the group but Mexico will be gunning for three points after their 0-0 draw with Guatemala on Sunday. While T&T are already assured of a quarter-final place, head coach Stephen Hart does not intend to give Mexico an easy time.
“It’s still an important match because we don’t get to play teams of Mexico’s quality very often so when matches like these come around, we have to make use of it and by that I mean we will test our ability. “We will also use this as an opportunity to prepare against a top team from our region for what’s to come later down the road in the World Cup qualification,” Hart said yesterday.
“Additionally, nobody wants to lose a match and we have good momentum going which we want to keep. Of course our focus is the quarter finals and getting into the last four,” Hart added.
“The main thing is for us to stay focused. Our first objective was to get out of the group stage and we’ve done that. Now we’ll focus on the next match and also prepare for the quarter final stage. Despite whatever else is happening off the field, we will remain positive and all credit to the players also for being very professional and not letting anything distract them,” Hart added.
T&T will be without goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams who has sustained a grade one hamstring strain and is unlikely to see further action in the tournament.
A scan in Charlotte confirmed this yesterday. Midfielder Andre Boucaud will also sit out the game on two yellow cards.
Defender Sheldon Bateau is confident T&T can end the group on a strong note. “I’m a bit overwhelmed with my performance and that of the team so far. Especially as a defender your first job is just to keep the clean sheet but to score two in two is a great feeling,” Bateau said yesterday.
“We are confident and going into the Mexico game with this cushion is good for us. Mexico is always a big match and a strong opponent but the group is ready for the test and we’ll be looking to keep our form and get another positive result to finish the group stage,” added the Belgium-based player.
Bateau believes T&T can go beyond the quarter-finals. “I think when you look at how we’ve grown, you can see that we are capable of matching them and getting good results. With a good amount of time together, good preparation and the right belief, we have demonstrated what we are capable of and this is good for us looking ahead to the World Cup qualifiers later this year,” Bateau said.
The conditions here are much cooler than Phoenix with temperatures averaging 30 degrees celsius. There was some rain during T&T’s session yesterday morning.
T&T lost 1-0 to Mexico in the 2013 Gold Cup at the quarter-final stage and also previously lost 4-0 in their opening game in 2000 and 4-2 in 1998.
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