Trinidad and Tobago and Guatemala shared the spoils, drawing 1-1 in their final match of the 2021 Gold Cup.
An injury during warmups caused Trinidad and Tobago to adjust their lineup, replacing defender Neveal Hackshaw with Jelani Peters.
In the 12th minute, T&T right back Alvin Jones rampaged up the field on a quick counterattack then crossed to Reon Moore. Moore made a run on the right side of the goal and hit a hard, low shot past young Guatemalan goalkeeper Kenderson Navarro that found the goalpost and bounced in for the goal.
Attempting to manage the game, Trinidad and Tobago showed patience, especially in allowing Guatemala to take rushed shots from outside, but closing them down effectively and at times physically when any players entered the box.
In the second half, as Guatemala fought harder to find the equalizer, Trinidad and Tobago’s defense cracked under the pressure from Guatemala in the 77th minute, when Ceballos served in a corner kick. Gerardo Gordillo rose high in the box to meet the ball, heading it in well past Marvin Phillip, the Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper and captain.
The tenor of the game changed as both teams, hungry for an outright win, traded half-chances on both ends of the field. T&T’s Jones had a shot go off the post in the best possibility for either team.
After the frantic final minutes counted down, the split points left the Trinidad and Tobago squad, as well as Guatemala’s, eliminated. Despite the elimination, both teams can be proud of their effort.
Trinidad and Tobago manager Angus Eve, the team’s most-capped player in their history, knew the team didn’t completely control its destiny in Group A but believed his squad could hold their head high no matter the outcome if they played well.
“We are very confident,” Eve said.
The team rewarded his belief, playing a smart match to hold an early advantage for most of the game. Yet Guatemala was brave in its own right, fighting back to find an equalizer and ensure they left the Gold Cup with at least one positive result. As Guatemala’s coach, Rafael Loredo said before kickoff, “If we want to grow, we need to have international competition.”
It is both sides’ participation and matches like this that make the Gold Cup special.