Canada 2 – 0 Trinidad and Tobago
Coming into their friendly against Trinidad and Tobago, Canada hadn’t scored twice since beating St. Kitts and Nevis 4-0 last November.
And after four games so far in 2012 with one goal or no goals scored, Canada got two and should have gotten a lot more as they took care of Trinidad & Tobago 2-0 at a quiet cricket oval at Central Broward Regional Park on Wednesday.
It wasn’t much of a performance from either side in the first half but in the second it was simply wave after wave of Canadian attack—some of which were repelled but on two occasions, goals came out of it.
Midfielder Will Johnson discusses Canada's 2-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago
First in the 57th minute, Tosaint Ricketts controlled a cross from the brilliant second half substitute Marcel De Jong at the right corner of the Trinidad 18-yard box and had the time to bring the ball down, look up and unleash a rocket of a shot.
“It was tough coming in. I’m kind of out of a club right now so the situation’s not so good for me,” said Ricketts who is still dealing with his soon to be former club in Romania. “I came in with a positive attitude and a positive mentality and I wanted to work and get this game in and get this result and I think we did that and we did well.”
Within minutes of going ahead, Canada gave up pretty much the solitary chance for the opposition as a cross came in that led to a scramble in the box but Andre Hainault got a leg in to block a Trinidad shot.
Midfielder Julian de Guzman discusses Canada's performance against Trinidad and Tobago
Canada then added a second when a Trinidad handball resulted in Canada winning penalty that Will Johnson converted from the spot.
Normally rather reserved, head coach Stephen Hart was full of praise for what was in truth was a roster that will be quite a bit different next month.
“Actually I was pleased with everything in the second half,” said Hart who flashed a rare smile on the sidelines after Johnson added the second from the penalty spot late in the second half. Hart claimed it was because of a joke that Ante Jazic made on the bench but given that performance in the second half, he had every right to smile.
“We defended well, we came up with the ball, we counter-attacked and we built attacks very well. Our left side was dynamic and mainly because the right side of the pitch was a bit damaged. I was very pleased at the second half.”
In what was a second half that Canada controlled from start to finish, Marcel De Jong made his return and newcomer Russell Teibert put in a fantastic performance.
De Jong was making his return to the Canadian lineup after being absent from the lineup for more than a year with a series of injuries. But coming on as a second half substitute for Ante Jazic, De Jong brought extra pace that caused havoc on an inferior Trinidad back line. His cross set up the first goal.
“He wanted to perform, he desperately wants to be back in the squad—it’s been over a year,” said Hart. “I think we’re reaching a stage where we can’t have any complacency. There’s a lot of competition for places.”
With a performance like that, certainly De Jong would be odds on to have that left back spot next month against Panama and with the possibility of the experience Jazic in reserve, left back may be all set for Canada.
Forward Tosaint Ricketts discusses his performance against Trinidad and Tobago
For Teibert, he’s seen four minutes of action with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC and that was on Saturday in their 2-1 win over Johnson and Real Salt Lake. Teibert was a handful and though he missed two glorious chances on goal, he provided his teammates with quality passes and generated opportunities with his pace. It certainly impressed the boss.
“He got into good positions. He played without fear for his debut game. I like that. I like that lot,” said Hart. “It was almost like he had a point to prove.”
For Teibert it was likely a point to prove for club just as much as it was for country and with an effort like that maybe more minutes are possible.
Added Johnson: “He’s been the sharpest guy in camp by far so it’s been awesome to see the young guys coming through. I thought he did really well. He was bright. He wanted the ball and got himself in some great spots and on another night he could have had one or two.”
Make no mistake, despite being just one spot below Canada in the FIFA ranks (which are a poor indication anyway) this was a very poor Trinidad side that was disorganized at the back and had little going forward. But at the end of the day, it’s a win and a good sign that other players could step in when the big names go down.