Soca Warriors schooled by Ecuador in Guayaquil

Trinidad and Tobago defender Triston Hodge, second from left, and midfielder Leston Paul during the Soca Warriors 3-1 loss at Ecuador in an international friendly in Guayaquil on July 26, 2017.

Trinidad and Tobago suffered a 3-1 defeated against Ecuador last night--in the first meeting at senior level between the two nations--in an international friendly at the Estadio George Capwell in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Carlyle Mitchell had levelled Trinidad and Tobago before the break after Juan Anangonó, who also ended with an assist, had put the hosts ahead. But the Soca Warriors fell behind again on a Fernando Gaibor converted penalty before Ecuador substitute Jacob Murillo capped off win with a half-volley strike deep in stoppage-time.

Trinidad and Tobago, like Ecuador, used the friendly encounter as preparations for home-based players ahead of the resumption of crucial FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia qualifying in about a month’s time, when Ecuador must visit Brazil on Aug. 31 and the Soca Warriors, bottom of the Concacaf Hex, host Honduras on Sep. 1.

“We used this game as preparation for our upcoming World Cup qualifier,” reminded Trinidad and Tobago head coach Dennis Lawrence after the game. “(…) and we’ll leave here with that in mind and obviously continue to do our work in relation to what is ahead of us,”

Lawrence handed starting debuts to left full-back Kevon Villaroel of North East Stars and forward Keron Clarke of Trinidad and Tobago second level league, while unseasoned internationals Jarod London, Nathaniel Garcia and Sean De Silva were used off the bench.

“I thought the first half was well contested by both teams and a little more even, especially in terms of how we got on the ball and how we played,” Lawrence told the TTFA media.

“There were some good moments for us but Ecuador produced a much better performance in the second half and they put us under some pressure. They took control of the game. We kept ourselves in the game but they got the penalty and of course a late goal. For us, the idea is to have the local players together and give them the opportunity to come to a place like Ecuador which has a very good team and make sure we get the experience.”

Ecuador, positioned sixth in South America final round of WC qualifying behind, in descending order, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, Chile and Argentina, grabbed the lead on 20 minutes when 28-year-old forward Anangonó hooked a loose ball into the back of the Trinidad and Tobago net following what seemed a bit of confusion between defender Mitchell, who had initially controlled off the ball his chest, and goalkeeper Marvin Phillip during an attacking move by Los Amarillos.

Mitchell, who only returned to the Soca Warriors for the first time since a groin injury in January, however redeemed himself five minutes from the beak, beating Ecuador goalkeeper Esteban Dreer from 17 yards out with an angled header off midfielder Jomal Williams' right side free kick to level the visitors 1-1.

Williams, attached to Mexico's Murciélagos, had earlier curled an attempt inches wide of Dreer's far upright from an acute angle just before half hour in a half that saw more attacking from the hosts, including goalscorer Anangonó dragging an attempt just wide of Phillip's far upright a minute after the Trinidad and Tobago equaliser.

Phillip, who plays for Point Fortin Civic in the Trinidad and Tobago top-flight Pro League, made two crucial interventions early in the second half but was unable to help his side after Peruvian referee Henry Gambetta Avalos pointed to the spot

Gambetta ruled a foul against defender Alvin Jones, of Trinidadian club W Connection, who upended Eduar Preciado in the box in a desperate attempt to clear danger.

Fernando Gaibor converted a cool finish past a fully stretched Phillip to put the hosts back in front, 2-1 on 74 minutes, and a sigh of relief for Ecuador coach Gustavo Domingo Quinteros Desábato.

Keron Clarke had earlier squandered the Warriors' best chance of the lead when on 66 minutes. The Santa Rosa forward directed his attempt straight at goalkeeper Dreer, who saved with his legs, after veteran midfielder Hughtun Hector through pass put the 31-year-old on goal with only the 'keeper to beat.

Clarke, who needed an expedited passport to travel to Ecuador, re-joined the national team in Guayaquil on Monday and looked enthusiastic in the opening moments, but was knocked around by the Ecuadorians and following his missed opportunity, was replaced with twenty minutes left by India-based former San Juan Jabloteh and Central FC forward Willis Plaza, who had a close-up effort blocked by Dreer.

Lawrence, who earlier replaced scorer Mitchell and Jomal with Nathaniel Garcia and Sean De Silva respectively, also tossed in Tyrone Charles, Jarod London and Hashim Arcia, replacing Leston Paul, Hughtun Hector and Nathan Lewis respectively, with a handful of minutes left.

By then though the hosts were enjoying almost all the possession which they converted into numerous raids on the Trinidad and Tobago goal, which included Christian Cruz rattling the upright in the 78th minute and substitute Romario Javier Caicedo forcing a low save from Phillip on 90 minutes.

Phillip however, was beaten by the pace of a left-footed half-volley by Murillo in the fourth and final minute of stoppage time following a feed into the area by opening scorer Anangonó as an understrength Trinidad and Tobago sunk to a 3-1 defeat.

International friendly
(Wednesday 26 July 2017)
Ecuador 3 (Juan Anangonó 20’, Fernando Gaibor 74’ pen., Jacod Murillo 90’+4) vs Trinidad and Tobago 1 (Carlyle Mitchell 40'), at the Estadio George Capwell in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
(Attendance: 15,000)


Ecuador: 12.Esteban Dreer (GK) (22.Hamilton Piedra (GK) 82nd minute); 6.Pedro Velasco, 15.Pedro Quiñónez (Capt.) (16.Jose Francisco Cevallos 64th minute), 8.Fernando Gaibor (20.Jordan Sierra 88th minute), 14.Darío Aimar; 10.Gabriel Cortéz (11.Matías Oyola 46th minute), 5.Luis Fernando León (Yellow Card), 7.Eduar Preciado (9.Jacob Murillo 80th minute), 19.Erick Castillo (17.Romario Javier Caicedo 74th minute); 4.Christian Cruz, 13.Juan Anangonó.

Unused substitutes: 1.Máximo Banguera (GK); 2.Luis Cangá, 3.Luis Segovia, 18.Luis Ayala Brucil.

Coach: Gustavo Domingo Quinteros Desábato

Trinidad and Tobago: 1.Marvin Phillip (GK); 15.Alvin Jones (Yellow Card), 5.Carlyle Mitchell (Capt.) (Yellow Card) (8.Nathaniel Garcia 46th minute), 3.Triston Hodge, 2.Kevon Villaroel; 6.Curtis Gonzales (Yellow Card); 23.Leston Paul (Yellow Card) (17.Jarod London 84th minute), 13.Hughtun Hector (14.Hashim Arcia 84th minute); 7.Nathan Lewis (20.Tyrone Charles 84th minute), 10.Jomal Williams (11.Sean De Silva 65th minute); 9.Keron Clarke (19.Willis Plaza 70th minute).

Unused substitutes: 22.Andre Marchan (GK); 18.Maurice Ford, 12.Neil Benjamin Jr.

Coach: Dennis Lawrence

Referee: Henry Gambetta Avalos (Peru)