Tridents out to finish off USVI
Barbados Tridents will be hoping for a second victory in succession when they take on the United States Virgin Islands Dashing Eagles in their Concacaf Nations League Group A return fixture at the Bethlehem Sporting Complex in St Croix, tonight.
Nick Blackman’s second-half free-kick was all that separated the sides in a close game on Saturday night and although the striker returns to club duty with Israeli champions Maccabi Tel-Aviv and misses today’s encounter, Tridents coach Russell Latapy was confident about his team’s chances.
“These are the players we work with and trust. These are the players we share special moments with and that we have to believe in,” Latapy said when quizzed about the impact of Blackman’s absence.
“We’ll go out there, stand up and be counted, trust in the process and the philosophy and if we can do that then we have as good a chance as the other team.”
USVI’s Brazilian head coach Gilbert Damiano was equally as buoyant about his team’s chances in St Croix despite their loss.
“We now know how we can explore Barbados. We know how to stretch them and we’ll try to take the best result out of the next game,” the Brazilian said.
“I am expecting a consistent Barbados team. I know they didn’t have a few players because of suspension but we will be ready for them.”
USVI captain J.C. Mack took a few positives from Saturday’s defeat and was equally optimistic about his team’s chances in front their own supporters.
“We’re on the right path. We’re definitely not scared and we’ll be ready for the team Barbados is bringing to us,” he said.
It remains to be seen if suspended players Carl Hinkson and Keason Trench will make the trip for the Tridents.
Latapy named a 22-man squad on Saturday and said he will be taking a squad of 18 to 20 players.
Regular captain Rashad Jules was dropped to the bench for the clash over the weekend and instead, his Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme teammate 22-year-old Akeem Hill wore the armband, playing at centre back.
Speaking on his decision, Latapy confirmed it was made in conjunction with his staff to nurture the leadership skills of key players.
“We know we have a lot of good young players and part of the process in helping them mature is giving them responsibility,” he said.
“I think as we grow we will put different players at different times to develop their leadership qualities.”
The Tridents have a similar record to Cayman Islands in Group A of League C, with two wins and one loss but Cayman Islands lead the table by virtue of their 3-2 home win over Barbados last month.
Barbados have kept two clean sheets while scoring seven goals and without Blackman’s quality leading the line, the chance is there for a star to be born in St Croix. (NM)