Early morning showers left puddles in spots on the field as the preliminary round of the New York Caribbean Cup soccer tournament came to an end at the Thomas Jefferson High School field last Sunday, July 31.
Team Antigua and Barbuda opened the afternoon’s triple-header kicking toward Egan Street and in the fifth minute, the Benna Boys won a corner kick that set the tone for the game. Dave Carr’s kick evaded all the defenders as the ball fell at the feet of Eugene Kirwan who guided the ball home.
Following the goal, the game developed into end to end action and Team Trinidad and Tobago may have equalized or even gone ahead but for poor decision making by Conrad Smith.
The Benna Boys doubled their lead in the 25th minute by way of an Okeem Challenger penalty kick after Tnoy Andrews was brought down inside the 18-yard box. There was no further scoring as Team Antigua and Barbuda went to the break with a 2-0 lead.
It was obvious very early in the second half that the Soca Ballers had not corrected their defensive faults as their wing backs continued to play too high and their center backs failed to cover the long passes down their wings.
Kirwan got his second goal of the game when Peter Byers picked him out with a long ball down the left side and he was able to race away on goal to easily beat Dlyan Allum.
The final goal of the game came when Tnoy Andrews crossed a ball to Dave Carr whose shot was brilliantly blocked by Allum, unfortunately for Allum, the ball fell at the feet of a lurking Kimoi Alexander who tapped home from inside the six-yard box.
At the final whistle, the Soca Ballers were spent as they squandered an opportunity to get into the playoff. Final score Antigua & Barbuda 4, Trinidad & Tobago 0.
Game two on a dreary overcast Sunday afternoon turned out to be a rough and tumble game. A draw would have safely placed Team St. Lucia into the playoffs, while Team St. Vincent and the Grenadines needed a win.
For the first 20 minutes or so, the game was evenly matched when things went bad for the Vincentians in the 22nd minute. The Vincentian defense was caught napping as Rashid Duncan raced through their middle to give the Lucians a 1-0 lead they never relinquished.
St. Lucia goalkeeper Chad Amari Phillip almost gave away his one goal advantage very late in the half when he left his line to intercept a high cross but was a little too aggressive and was carded. Fortunately for the Lucians, Chris Myers’ nonchalant side footed penalty shot bounded off the right post and was cleared by the defense.
The Duncan goal turned out to be the only goal of the game. However, the second half got a little chippy that saw three players being given their marching orders. Rayvon Jack and Aaron Hope for the Vincentians and John Perry Joseph for the Lucians. This was Joseph’s second game dismissal for the season.
The feature game between Team Haiti and team St. Kitts and Nevis turned out to be just that when it got started.
Once again, Team Haiti showed up late for their game and it appears its beginning to wear thin on both fellow teams and fans and it’s about time the Caribbean Cup organizers take some corrective action.
Les Grenadiers opened the scoring in the 28th minute when Sugar Boys goalkeeper Akil Byron hesitated about leaving his line to try and block or intercept a pass through the heart of his defense. The moment of hesitation allowed Kevin Morency to get to the ball first and knock it over the head of the advancing keeper.
Ten minutes later, Byron was carded for an overly aggressive hit on Louis Robenson and Benshy Estama, playing in his first game for Les Grenadiers, stepped up to double the score from the penalty spot.
Despite losing Jean Gary Rubin midway through the second half, the Haitians playing intelligently in defense were able to hold on to their lead without further damage.
Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016, Mid-Season Classic
Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016, is the annual New York Caribbean Cup Mid-Season Classic. There are three games scheduled beginning at 1:30 pm, 3:15 pm and the 5:30 pm inaugural President’s Trophy game.
Gates open at 1 pm and the day’s festivities will include the usual Mid-Season Classic Caribbean Cup back-pack giveaway to youngsters with their families, ages 3 to 12 years old, along with other giveaways and festivities.