You win some, you lose some, and sometimes you get a stalemate.
Trinidad and Tobago did not get the win last night, ending their 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign with a 1-1 draw against Central American rivals Guatemala at the Toyota stadium, Frisco, Texas.
Still it was not too bad a tournament for T&T interim head coach Angus Eve, whose five-match Gold Cup run included victories over French Guiana and Montserrat, stalemates against giants Mexico and Guatemala and a single 2-0 loss to El Salvador. However, there was the sense that T&T let one get away last night.
Goal-scorer Reon Moore agreed.
"I think we could have done better. Happy for the goal, but I think we could have come out with the victory," he said.
T&T could only have moved onto the quarter-final stage with full points and a wide margin of victory against Guatemala, combined with Mexico losing to El Salvador. Mexico won 1-0, while the Soca Warriors just held on at the end, after looking comfortable for most of the night.
Defence Force striker Moore (12th) banged in Alvin Jones' sumptuous through ball from the right side for the opening goal, while Gerardo Gordillo (77th) rose high to head Guatemala level in the 78th minute from a corner-kick.
Eve chose a peculiar starting line-up again, leaving regulars Kevin Molino, Ryan Telfer and goalkeeper Nicklas Frenderup on the bench. He was also forced to bring in youngster Jesse Williams as a late change after Neveal Hackshaw 'was injured in the warm-up. Guatemala appeared to play their full team except for including Kenderson Navarro, the nervous debuting goalkeeper.
Navarro conceded his first international goal when Moore calmly stroked a low left-footer to the far corner. Jesse Williams’ long-range shot also forced the 19-year-old Navarro to concede a corner and Andre Fortune just failed to curl in Moore's pass to the back post past the half hour mark, as T&T went close again after controlling most of the first half.
The Soca Warriors had 55 per cent possession and effectively shut off the wide positions which Guatemala were intent on penetrating. Missing though, was that raw intensity and T&T never looked a team still with an outside chance of getting to the quarter-finals, but rather one preferring to manage the game before them. The approach simply backfired.
El Salvador only got their first shot on goal in the 60th minute when keeper Philip turned aside Rudy Barnento’s long-range effort. Midfielder Jorge Aparicio also got close with 20 minutes to go, when forcing Phillip into a low save, as a continually disappointing Andre Fortune turned his back on the shot.
Eve , though, was very conservative with his substitutions and by the time he began making them, the Soca Warriors had lost control. It was therefore no surprise when Guatemala pulled level and with a little luck might have won.
Jones, though, almost clinched it for T&T with a few minutes left, when his tremendous long-distance free-kick came off the crossbar.
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: Marvin Phillip (Captain); Alvin Jones, Aubrey David, Mekeil Williams, Triston Hodge, Noah Powder,.Reon Moore, Hashim Arcia,.Andre Fortune II,.Marcus Joseph, Jesse Williams
Substitutes: Nicklas Frenderup (GK), Adrian Foncette (GK), Jelani Peters, Curtis Gonzales, Radanfah Abu Bakr, Ryan Telfer, Kevin Molino, Isaiah Lee, Justin Garcia, Ross Russell Jr, Duane Muckette, Neveal Hackshaw , Jesse Williams.