September 6, 2011
Vincy Heat beaten, but not disgraced

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Senior Men’s team Vincy Heat returned home last Saturday night, following their sojourn to Guatemala, when they were downed four nil by the hosts in the first leg of their second round of Group E of the CONCACAF Qualifiers.{{more}}

However, Manager of the local team, Theon Gordon has commended his charges for a commendable performance, given the circumstances, especially taking into consideration the youthful nature of the team and the raucous Guatemala crowd. Speaking to SEARCHLIGHT soon after the team touched down last Saturday night at the ET Joshua Airport, Gordon said: “It was a humbling experience for the players as they got a taste of what to expect at this level of the game, and showed them where they are and where they need to get to.”

The Vincy Heat Manager said that apart from recalled Captain Cornelius Huggins, who is also the team’s Assistant Coach, and Shandell Samuel, the other members lacked the experience of playing under such conditions.

Gordon, 25, who is believed to be the youngest manager of a senior St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football team, said that the fielding of many Under-23 players is in keeping with the policy of the Executive of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation and current Technical Director Colwyn Rowe.

“We are looking towards the future and building for the next four years,” said Gordon, who graduated last March from the Universidad Deporte del Sur, formerly the Universidad Iberoamericana del Deporte, in Venezuela after a five-year stint.

The Guatemalans’ first goals came from Marco Papa in the 14th minute when, according to Gordon, the right side of the Vincentian defence lapsed at a crucial moment.

The Vincy Heat Manager revealed that the Vincentians took about ten minutes to settle down, coping with the altitude and the swift short passing of their opponents.

“When we did though, we were able to match them (the Guatemalans) somewhat and adapted to the conditions,” Gordon, a former St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Under-17, Under-20, Under-23 and senior player recalled.

Yony Flores stretched the hosts’ tally in the 30th, to end the half 2-0.

Second half substitute Mario Rodriquez made it three in the 52nd minute and Freddy Garcia, who also came on during the second stanza of the match, added the fourth in the 71st.

Gordon said, from a technical standpoint, two of the four goals should not have been, if the players had been switched on.

The Vincentians had to play the latter part of the match with ten men, after Devon Browne was red carded.

Last Saturday’s results meant that St. Vincent and the Grenadines is yet to score on the Guatemalans, having suffered a 4-0 defeat in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 1996.

Also at the Under-16 level, Guatemala beat St. Vincent and the Grenadines by the same score line in a Caribbean Cup Quarter Final in Trinidad and Tobago in 2005.

Vincy Heat next meets Grenada here on Sunday, September 18, as CONCACAF action resumes for both countries. Grenada went under to Belize 3-0 last Friday in Grenada.

Gordon is urging the Vincentian public to rally behind their team, despite their loss, and wants them to fill the Arnos Vale Playing Field on that Sunday afternoon.

Vincy Heat’s starting Eleven were: Dwaine Sandy, Roy Richards, Keith James, Reginald Richardson, Devon Browne, Cornelius Huggins, Wendell Cuffy, Chad Balcombe, Emerald George, Shandell Samuel, Myron Samuel.

Norrel George replaced Emerald George in the 50th minute and Cuffy was substituted in the 54th minute by Gregson Hazell.

The substitutes not used were Winslow Mc Dowald, Durwin Ross, Reginald Payne, Darren Hamlett and Geroni Peters.

Pacey striker Cornelius Stewart did not make the trip, as he jetted off to Finland for a tryout with a club there.