Trinidad and Tobago’s senior men footballers will have a one-hour session at Soldier Field, Chicago on Wednesday on the eve of their opening 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup encounter with Guatemala.
The Team arrived in Chicago at 3pm TT Time from Fort Lauderdale before settling in at the Marriot Magnificent Mile hotel.
Head coach Stephen Hart told reporters in Chicago that he is expecting Guatemala to pose a difficult challenge to the “Soca Warriors” but nothing that would be beyond Kenwyne Jones and his teammates.
“I think they will be a difficult opponent for us. We’ve had a look at them on tape and we saw also them against the US a couple days ago. The scoreline was flattering for the Americans because Guatemala also created a lot of scoring chances which they didn’t capitalize on. They have always been a decent team and I expect them to come at us,” Hart said.
“But I think we are also up for this challenge. Our immediate aim is to get out of the group stage which I think we are capable of doing and then of course we are here to go one step better than we did in 2013 which would mean us wanting to get to the quarter finals and then get into the last four,” Hart added before conducting a training session with the team at the University of Illinois Training field at 7pm on Tuesday.
Guatemala have recalled veteran forward Carlos Ruiz to their team for the competition.
T&T player Joevin Jones is back in familiar territory and would be more accustomed to the conditions here than most of his teammates having been with MLS club Chicago Fire for the past few months.
“It’s great to be here with the national team. I’ve been here playing for a good bit of time now and to be able to play with my country is special. We’ve been working quite hard over the past few days and hopefully we can show it on the field on Thursday,” Jones said.
“I have a few fans at the club here and hopefully they will be supporting us in the match on Thursday. It would be wonderful to taste victory with Trinidad and Tobago here in Chicago,” Jones added.
The T&T players and staff had its welcome meeting with CONCACAF and the Gold Cup General Coordinator at the Marriot on Tuesday evening. The Players also engaged in the official photo and television shoot for the tournament. CONCACAF also advised that Thursday's match is almost sold out.
Slovakia-based winger Lester Peltier was the final player expected to join the team on Tuesday, coming in from Slovakia.
This coming weekend, football enthusiasts will have the opportunity to witness the top women’s football teams in the country showcase their dynamic talent as they compete for the Shanghai Cup and the grand cash prize of $10,000.
The tournament is hosted by the Women’s Premier League and sponsored by the Shanghai Construction Group. According to Senator the Honourable Brent Sancho, Minister of Sport, “This tournament allows equal play for all”.
Registration is open until Thursday July 9, 2015 to all clubs in the Women’s League Football (WoLF) and Women’s Premier League (WPL).
Those wanting to be a part of the sporting action and see their favourites from the WPL can come to the Fatima College Grounds from 10am on Saturday July 11th and Sunday July 12th.
The Appleton Estate Jamaica Tallawahs eased to victory over the St Lucia Zouks in the Hero Caribbean Premier League thanks to yet another innings of note from Chris Gayle. The Tallawahs captain combined with Chadwick Walton to reach the required target of 159 with four overs to spare.
The Zouks would have been very confident of defending their total that was set up by a brilliant innings of 83 from Kevin Pietersen as the St Lucian side recovered well from the loss of three early wickets. Gayle had other ideas.
Krishmar Santokie, the leading wicket taker in CPL history, was at it again in the Zouks Powerplay as he removed the in-form opening pair of Johnson Charles and Andre Fletcher. Charles was dismissed when he missed a full ball that bowled him. Fletcher was brilliantly stumped by Chadwick Walton.
The Zouks were in further trouble when Ross Taylor spooned a catch to Chris Lynn at mid-wicket off Jerome Taylor to leave them reeling at 30-3 at the end of the first six overs. Kevin Pietersen combined with Henry Davids in a stand worth 52 runs to rebuild the Zouks innings.
The partnership was broken when Davids played a ramp shot only for the ball to catch a leading edge, the ball ballooning to point. Mahela Jayawardene had so long to take the chance that the bowler, Andre Russell, was already celebrating the wicket before it was taken.
Pietersen stood firm to record his second half century in two innings, making 83 off 57 balls as he was the only batsman for the Zouks that came to terms with a Sabina Park pitch that was a bit two-paced. He was joined by his captain, Darren Sammy, at the end of the innings as the St Lucian all-rounder hit two sixes on his way to 29 (23).
Pietersen could have departed on 42 when Walton failed to collect a sharp chance high to his right and the Englishman made the most of his good fortune as he recorded his highest CPL score. The partnership with Pietersen and Sammy saw the captain and star batsman push the Zouks to 158-4.
Sammy couldn’t make it all the way to the end of the innings, a blow on the glove from a Russell short ball meaning he had to retire hurt during the 20th over. Pietersen finished the innings off in style with three more boundaries to leave the Tallawahs needing 159 to win.
The Zouks would have been pleased with their batting efforts but Chris Gayle went about showing the visitors how to score runs at Sabina Park. He scored 64 (42) as he made his third match winning half century of this year’s CPL and his second against the Zouks. But for once the Jamaican captain was playing second fiddle at the top of the order.
Chadwick Walton was in brutal form scoring 76 runs in 48 balls as the Zouks found it impossible to make any inroads into this Tallawahs batting line-up. The last time these two teams met the Tallawahs won by 10 wickets and it was a very similar result here.
The only moment of success for the Zouks came when Walton tried to play a front foot pull shot but found the top edge off the bowling of Fidel Edwards to be caught by Kemar Roach. The breakthrough could have come earlier when Gayle skied a ball when on 28 but it went so high in the air that it swirled on the way down and Sammy couldn’t take the catch.
When Walton departed Gayle took up the boundary hitting mantel as he smashed 32 runs off the last seven balls he faced to take his side home with ease. This innings by Gayle is just the latest in a remarkable sequence of T20 scores that has seen him make 571 runs in eight innings at an average of 190 becoming the first man to make 8000 T20 runs in the process.
This is the highest successful chase at Sabina Park in the CPL and the Tallawahs did it with ease as Gayle once again showed his importance to this side – if he succeeds his team wins.
This victory keeps the Tallawahs in touch with the early leaders. The Zouks remain in second place but the Tallawahs are now only one point behind them.
Stamatopoulos started in place of Canada's No. 1 goalkeeper Milan Borjan, who will miss the tournament because of his Bulgarian club commitments.
Both teams had their best scoring chances of the Group B match in the first half.
Jamaica's Reggae Boyz and Costa Rica played to an exciting 2-2 draw in their opening Group B match of the CONCACAF Gold Cup at the Stubhub Centre here on Wednesday evening.
Reading FC's Garath McCleary had given the Jamaicans the go-ahead goal in the 13th minute, but the Central Americans got back on level terms in the 33rd courtesy of a Roy Miller goal.
Four minutes later, Costa Rica took the lead as goalkeeper Dwayne Miller was slow in reacting to a long ball launched from deep inside the Costa Rican half, allowing David Ramirez to lob him.
Jamaica fought back gallantly on the resumption when Leighton Orient's Jobi McAnuff took things into his own hands and dribbled inside the 18-yard box to poke home in the 48th minute.
Jamaica's next game will be against Canada in Frisco, Texas, on Saturday.
Joe Root led an England fightback with a glittering century against Australia on the opening day of the 2015 Ashes series.
Coming to the crease with his team in trouble on 43-3, the Yorkshire batsman attacked from the off on his way to 134 from 166 balls in Cardiff.
Gary Ballance added a battling 61 and Ben Stokes a rapid 52 as England reached 343-7 by the close.
While Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood shared six wickets, Mitchell Johnson toiled on an unresponsive pitch after England won the toss and chose to bat.
The left-arm paceman, England's tormentor-in-chief during the 5-0 Ashes whitewash down under, conceded 87 runs from his 20 overs as the hosts shaded the balance of an enthralling day's play.
St Lucia Zouks captain, Darren Sammy, has been ruled out for four weeks, and will miss the remainder of the Hero Caribbean Premier League, after sustaining an incomplete fracture to his left hand.
He will be replaced as captain by Kevin Pietersen and Keiron Cottoy has been called up to the St Lucia Zouks squad.
All-rounder, Sammy, has scored 81 runs and taken six wickets for the Zouks in CPL 2015.
He suffered a fracture on his second metacarpal when facing a short ball from Andre Russell in yesterday’s match against the Appleton Estate Jamaica Tallawahs.
He will continue to travel with the St Lucia Zouks squad for the remainder of this year’s tournament.
Tom Moody, Director of Cricket, Hero CPL, said: “It’s a real shame for Darren, he’s one of the biggest names in the CPL and a great leader for the Zouks. We wish him a speedy recovery, and knowing the kind of guy he is, I’m sure he’ll continue to be an inspirational part of the squad for the rest of the tournament even though he won’t actually be out in the middle.”
Hero CPL 2015 began on 20th June, with global superstars including Kevin Pietersen, Jacques Kallis and Shahid Afridi joining the Caribbean’s finest cricketers, like Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo, and exciting up-and-coming local talent.
The tournament has already provided plenty of excitement, with packed crowds, an unrivalled party atmosphere, thrilling finishes, and some outstanding batting and bowling performances.
The competition will feature 33 matches in all, with the final, at the Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad, taking place on 26th July.