“Be proud of this special group,” Ben Waldrum, stated via Twitter, just before Trinidad and Tobago’s women football team flew off to Chicago from Kansas City. Functioning as T&T’s assistant coach, the son of head-coach Randy Waldrum, made the remarks immediately after T&T held world’s No.1 USA to only one goal, in a one-nil loss on Wednesday night in Kansas City, in their opening match of World Cup qualifying.
Right after the match, the Soca Princesses left for the airport and arrived in Chicago at 2 a.m. (yesterday), before checking in at the Marriot Midway. T&T was due to have its only training session in Chicago at 4.30 p.m. yesterday, before facing Haiti today (6 p.m. T&T time) in an all-important second Group A match.
Trinidad and Tobago’s result against the mighty US constitute something of an upset, considering that the No 1-ranked Americans are unbeaten in 88 matches at home, and have handed down 8-0 whippings to both Russia and Mexico, earlier this year.
The Soca Princesses were defensively well organised and Tobago-born goalkeeper Kamika Forbes put in a heroic performance, keeping T&T in the match with 11 saves. The Americans attacked often, but were stopped by either bunkered T&T defenders, or the outstanding Forbes between the uprights.
Watching on, former T&T goalkeeper Shaka Hislop, tweeted: “A fine Shaka Hislop impression by Trinidad & Tobago goalkeeper Kimika Forbes.” Despite the loss, the close score very likely puts Trinidad and Tobago in the driver’s seat if second place in the group comes down to goal difference. It also gives them confidence going into today’s all important match against Haiti.
“Everyone came out with that positive mindset. We said we going all or nothing.... everyone is going to give until the can’t give no more,” T&T goalkeeper Forbes said. “I was one of the leaders on the team and they needed me badly. So, I kept positive energy and the team feed off of my positive energy.”
“I must admit this is one of the biggest games I have played and first time against the US national team,” Forbes continued. “This comes like a win to us, against the US, the might giants of Concacaf. It is very positive for us going into the next two games. We had a positive result coming out of this game. The next game we have a different approach, a different game plan. We not going to go with the same game plan that we had for the US.”
Christine Rampone, US national team captain, said: “I think Trinidad and Tobago did an awesome job. The keeper did an excellent job. They disrupted us, we didn’t get into the flow, the tempo, but we had a couple of other games to go. “
“We had scouted them. We knew they were athletic and quick. They got a lot of numbers behind the ball, they played five back which makes it difficult,” continued Rampone, who was not surprised how well the Soca Princesses played.
“I’m not surprised. It actually exciting and encouraging to see that Concacaf is growing. They put on a good performance and (we) only won one nothing. It’s (Concacaf standard) is growing and that a credit to soccer.”