KENNYA CORDNER put in a 74th minute header and captain Maylee Attin-Johnson converted a 83rd minute penalty, as Trinidad and Tobago’s national women’s footballers came away 2-1 winners over Guatemala in Washington, DC, yesterday to put themselves in prime position to progress to the final four of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship.
Outplayed for much of the match, Guatemala got a consolation goal a minute into added-on time, when 20-year-old midfielder María Monterroso beat late T&T substitute Ayanna Russell to a lofted ball into the 18-metre box, and put a glancing header past inexperienced Soca Princesses goalkeeper Teneshia Palmer.
For the second consecutive match, striker Cordner was on the end of a precise cross from Ahkeela Mollon when beating the Guatemalan keeper at the back post, and also won the decisive penalty when taken down while driving between two defenders.
The win made the Soca Princesses almost certain to move on to the final four of the Championship. To stop them, Caribbean third-placed finishers Haiti would have had to accomplish the greatest upset in the tournament’s history, by beating the world No.1 ranked Americans in last night’s later match.
With ambitions of becoming the first Caribbean team to qualify for a FIFA Women’s World Cup, the Soca Princesses finished their Group A programme with six points, and are highly likely to advance as the second-placed finishers to the group leaders United States and advance to the knockout round, where they would meet Costa Rica in Pennsylvania on Friday, for a spot in both the CONCACAF final and the World Cup.
Today, Caribbean runners-up Jamaica have their fate in their own hands, and need to beat Mexico to advance to the final round.
The first three CONCACAF finishers qualify automatically for the 2015 FIFA Women World Cup to be played next year in Canada. Should they finish fourth, at minimum, T&T will earn a two-leg playoff against Ecuador for another World Cup spot, the route which took the men’s team, the Soca Warriors, to the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
The first leg is carded for November 8/9 in Ecuador and the return between November 22/23.
Yesterday, T&T dominated a goalless first half, but, rather than build on their superior possession in the second half, the Princesses became very scrappy, particularly in the midfield.
However, Cordner’s goal lifted them. And the penalty she earned provided the needed insurance.