Trinidad and Tobago, in their second game of the 2019 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, defeated Jamaica 3-2 in fiercely contested battle at the IMG Academy facility in Bradenton, Florida. Jamaica controlled the game for the first 20 minutes with Trinidad & Tobago having to defend, which they did intently. The young warriors, set up in a 5-4-1 formation, found it difficult to maintain possession and move the ball forward in such a defensive shape. Jamaica, a physically strong and athletic group, found no trouble recovering possession at this moment with T&T sitting so deep in their half.
Finally, Jamaica was rewarded in the 17th minute with a well-taken opportunity created by Dwayne Atkinson from the wide area, one which T&T defender Christopher St. Rose failed to clear. This left Cristojaye Daley unmarked in the box who volleyed it home from close range giving Jamaica the lead.
Trinidad & Tobago coach Stern John, responded with a change of formation (4-2-3-1), which saw T&T begin to play themselves back into the game slowly but surely. This change in formation resulted in T&T defending higher up the pitch and they were rewarded with a Jaiye Sheppard goal in the 34’. The goal scoring opportunity came when T&T forced a turnover in Jamaica’s half of the field and forward Justin Araujo-Wilson recovered the ball. He found midfielder Tyrese Pierre who found Jaiye Sheppard with a diagonal ball across the goal, leaving the Jamaicans wondering what went wrong. With the scoreline 1-1, the T&T player’s confidence grew and they took the lead in the 34’ when Ajani Fortune whipped a free kick into a dangerous area, Jerrel Nixon challenged, and it fell to Araujo-Wilson. Araujo-Wilson, who scored his third goal in two games, left Trinidad & Tobago with a 2-1 lead at the half.
As the second half started, T&T seemed to be growing from strength to strength with Ajani Fortune and the captain Zachery Welch battling the Jamaicans in midfield for control of the game (a battle they surely won as Jaiye Sheppard scored the third for T&T). Sheppard converted a brilliant cross from Jerrell Nixon with a brave header from about eight yards out.
The Jamaicans’ search for an answer became more difficult as the physical prowess they showed early on began to dissipate and the T&T players continued to grow in strength.
Jamaica was reduced to 10 men in the 85th minute when center back Dandre Miller received his second caution from referee Armando Villarreal of the United States and was sent off. With a man advantage, T&T failed to increase their lead, when Araujo-Wilson was denied his second by Jamaican goalkeeper Shamar Haffenden with a brilliant save.
The young Warriors’ midfielders were working to kill off the game by keeping possession. Their plan was undermined when defender Luke Savary attempted a long ball that was intercepted by the Jamaicans. Midfielder Dwayne Atkinson powered his way down the flank and crossed for substitute Isaac Scott to finish in the 90th minute.
The young Warriors were delighted to hear referee Armando Villarreal signaling the end of the game, putting them top of the group after two games with six points.