After being outplayed and literally outmanned due to a 65th minute red card ejection, Trinidad &Tobago rallied back and earned a 1-1 draw with familiar CONCACAF foe Costa Rica on a Stern John penalty kick goal in injury time in front of12,235 fans at the Orange Bowl Sunday.
"If I was coach of a national team of a country with a high level of self-esteem in the culture, I would tell you, 'That's okay. It's a draw.'", said T&T head coach Rene Simoes, when asked if he and the team felt fortunate to earn the draw in the last seconds of the match. "But when you coach a Caribbean team, there are some things in the Caribbean that you have to adhere to. You have to play good and lift their self-esteem and self-confidence. And that game lifted their self-confidence."
Costa Rica had the majority of the possession throughout the match and used a great individual effort by speedy midfielder Mauricio Salas to set up what appeared to be the winning goal in the 59th minute. Salas used the left flank to attack the T&T defense, drawing two defenders as he snuck in the penalty area and played the ball back across the box ashe neared the endline.
Fonseca, who scored and assisted in the Ticos 2-0 win over Martinique on Friday night, timed his run through the box and finished easily past T&T goalkeeper Shaka Hislop. Fonseca is now tied with Canada's Kevin McKennafor the Gold Cup 2002 scoring lead with two goals after the tournament's six matches.
"It was a shame. It was a shameful result, but the game we played was much much better than the first game. I think that the logical result was a win for Costa Rica, but some circumstances did not favor us in the end. But I feel that my players and the whole team did very well."
Costa Rica, one of three CONCACAF nations to qualify for the 2002 World Cup this summer in Korea/Japan, leads Group C with four points and will likely advance to the quarterfinals on Saturday night.
Trinidad & Tobago, who finished last in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying but are undefeated in their last four matches(2-0-2), will face Martinique Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at the Orange Bowl.
"The last four games we played have been excellent," said Simoes, who guided Jamaica to the 1998 World Cup. "We beat Honduras at Honduras, we tied against the U.S. 0-0, we beat Grenada and we tied Costa Rica, so the self-esteem of the team is very high and that's very good."
Haiti used an early own goal from Ecuador, an unrelentling counter-attack, and the passion of its many flag-waving fans to shock special tournament invite Ecuador 2-0 in the second day of FC Gold Cup 2002 action at the Orange Bowl in Miami today.
"26 players and nine days together as a team, today we finally saw the fruition," said Haiti head coach Jorge Castelli, whose team dropped their opening game Friday 2-0 against Canada.
A pair of players wearing the number 19 on their jerseys accounted for the scoring on the day. Ecuador's Edison Mendez inadvertantly redirected a cross into his own goal in the 7th minute, giving the Haiti team all the hope they needed to maintain the lead and push for more goals.
A crucial second goal came in the closing seconds of the first half, as Haiti Charles Alerte, Jr.'s scored on a header after Jean-Jacques Pierre's header off a corner kick was redirected back across the mouth of the goal.
Haiti spent the second half staving off a determined Ecuador team that ended up outshooting the opponent 8-6 and earning a whopping 11 corner kicks, but could not break through.
"There are no surprises in football," said Ecuador head coach Hernan Gomez. "We cannot look upon Haiti's victory as any less than what it was. They played a tremendous game, and we're not playing well. It's as simple as that--we are not playing well."
Ecuador, who finished second in a very difficult World Cup qualifying in South America, is headed to its first World Cup when they compete at Korea/Japan 2002 this summer. This is also the first Gold Cup appearance for Ecuador, whose professional league is currently in the off-season.
"We have about seven or eight players that have not played for a long period of time, and I think it was rather evident in certain reactionsby certain players," said Gomez. "The conclusion we can take away fromthis is that we did not play well, we're not playing well and Haitiplayed a great match."
Ecuador will be looking to rebound and possible still slip into the quarterfinals when they meet defending Gold Cup champion Canada on Tuesday at 9 p.m.
Haiti sits in second place behind Canada on goal differential (+2 to their even) with three points and could advance to the quarterfinals on Saturday if Canada earns a win or tie. Haiti can also advance if Ecuador defeats Canada by three goals or more.
"I would like to take it one step at a time," said Castelli, after an overzealous Haitian journalist suggested that Haiti is well on its way to being one of the top teams in the world. "Our first objective is t oput together a team that would qualify for Germany 2006. As far as Haiti being one of the top teams in the world, let's take it one step at a time."