Trinidad and Tobago open its 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign with a match against Panama at the Allianz Field in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Trinidad and Tobago and Panama are bracketed in Group D along with defending champions and hosts the United States and Guyana. The top two teams in Group D will advance to the knockout round. In the quarterfinals, The Group D winner will face the 2nd placer in Group C while the Group D runner-up will meet the Group C winner. Both quarterfinal games will be played on June 30, 2019, at the Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The winners of those matches will advance to the semifinals on July 3rd at the Nissan Stadium in Nashville.
Below is the full schedule of fixtures for Group D:
- Panama vs. Trinidad & Tobago (Allianz Field, Saint Paul; 7.30 p.m. ET)
- United States vs. Guyana (Allianz Field, Saint Paul; 10 p.m. ET)
- Guyana vs. Panama (FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland; 5.30 p.m. ET)
- United States vs. Trinidad & Tobago (FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland; 8 p.m. ET)
- Trinidad & Tobago vs. Guyana (Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City; 6.30 p.m. ET)
- Panama vs. the United States (Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City; 9 p.m. ET)
For now, let’s take a look at the Group D opening match between Trinidad and Tobago and Panama:
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago enter the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup as FIFA’s 93rd ranked team in the world and the 11th in the CONCACAF rankings at the start of the tournament. They qualified for this tournament via the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying Hexagonal where they finished in 6th place. This will be Trinidad and Tobago’s 10th appearance at the Gold Cup and 16 overall, including the CONCACAF Championships. Their best finish in the competition was the 2nd place finish in 1973. The Soca Warriors were also made it to the semi-finals in 2000.
This is Dennis Lawrence’s final squad:
- Goalkeepers: Adrian Foncette, Marvin Phillip, Greg Ranjitsingh
- Defenders: Leland Archer, Daneil Cyrus, Curtis Gonzales, Alvin Jones, Carlyle Mitchell, Mekeil Williams
- Midfielders: Cordell Cato, Levi Garcia, Kevan George, Neveal Hackshaw, Akeem Humphrey, Khaleem Hyland, Joevin Jones, Nathan Lewis, Kevin Molino, Duane Muckette, Leston Paul, Jomal Williams
- Forwards: Lester Peltier, Shahdon Winchester
Trinidad And Tobago
Odds from Topbet.eu as of 6/12/19
Panama’s football team is ranked 74th in the world according to FIFA. Heading to this tournament, they are the #5 team in the CONCACAF. The Canal Men booked their entry to the 2019 CONCACAF World Cup via the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying Hexagonal where they finished in third place. Panama will be making its 9th Gold Cup appearance and their 10th overall including the CONCACAF Gold Cup. La Marea Roja finished this competition second place in 2005 and 2013.
Here is Julio Dely Valdes’s final squad:
- Goalkeepers: Jose Calderon, Orlando Mosquera, Luis Mejia
- Defenders: Erick Davis, Kevin Galvan, Fidel Escobar, Adolfo Machado, Harold Cummings, Michael Murillo, Francisco Palacios, Roman Torres
- Midfielders: Armando Cooper, Jose Luis Rodriguez, Marcos Sanchez, Edgar Barcenas, Anibal Godoy, Alberto Quintero, Omar Browne
- Forwards: Jose Fajardo, Rolando Blackburn, Abdiel Arroyo, Valentin Pimentel, Gabriel Torres
Trinidad and Tobago are coming off a 0-0 tie against Japan last June 5th in an international friendly held at the Toyota Stadium in Aichi, Japan. Including that match, The Soca Warriors are 1-3 with one draw in their last five matches played across all competitions. Trinidad and Tobago defeated the United Arab Emirates 2-0 in a friendly held last September 7, 2018. They have not scored a goal since then while dropping games to Thailand, Iran, and Wales before their draw against Japan.
On the other hand, Panama heads to this match winless in their last five matches played. The Canal Men finished 2018 with a 1-2 loss to Ecuador and opened 2019 with a 0-3 defeat at the hands of the United States. They held Brazil to 1-1 draw last March before dropping back to back 0-3 defeats to Colombia and Uruguay in a pair of Gold Cup tune-up games last week.
Head to head, these teams have played a total of 24 times before. Trinidad and Tobago have won a dozen times while Panama has 7 wins and these teams figured in a tie five times. In their last five meetings though, Panama has won thrice, lost once and held to a draw once. Panama defeated Trinidad and Tobago 1-0 in an international friendly on April 18, 2018.
The Canal Men are the soccer betting favorites in this match. Despite the absence of longtime stalwarts Blas Perez and Felipe Baloy due to retirement, Panama still has plenty of familiar names in their lineup. Michael Murillo of the New York Red Bulls is one of the region’s top defenders while Omar Browne of the Montreal Impact will be the player to watch on offense after torching Toronto FC in the CONCACAF Champions League. Forward Gabriel Torres of Colombian club Atletico Huela is also in the Panamanian squad. Manager Julio Dely Valdes who steered the team to the final in 2013 will also handle this year’s squad.
Trinidad and Tobago missed the 2017 Gold Cup but are looking for redemption this year with a lineup that has an experienced midfield and defense. With Joevin Jones, Alvin Jones and Daneil Cyrus anchoring the back plus Khaleem Hyland and Kevan George leading the midfield, this is a solid team that can compete in every single game. All the names mentioned, except for Joevin Jones, have experience in defeating Team USA in competitive matches. However, with the retirement of Kenwyne Jones, the Soca Warriors are left without a go-to scorer when the need arises. Their forward lineup was held scoreless in their last three friendlies and that could prove to be disastrous in the Gold Cup.
Panama has gotten the better of Trinidad and Tobago in recent years. They also have the better line-up in this competition. Both teams have good experience but Trinidad and Tobago’s deficiency at the forward position could stall them not just in this game but in the tournament in general. I’m picking Panama to defeat Trinidad and Tobago on 6/18/19.