T&T's Moore, Hackshaw exude confidence ahead of tough US quarter-final clash

By Sports Desk November 15, 2023
Reon Moore (left) and Neveal Hackshaw. Reon Moore (left) and Neveal Hackshaw.

If the confidence exuded by Neveal Hackshaw and Reon Moore is anything to go by, then Trinidad and Tobago are poised to give United States a tough run in the Concacaf Nations League quarterfinals.

Both Hackshaw and Moore, declared the Soca Warriors intentions of taking a positive result off their highly-fancied opponents in their first-leg encounter at the Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas on Thursday.

The return-leg fixture is scheduled for four days later at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.

The Angus Eve-coached Trinidad and Tobago secured their quarterfinals berth after they finished second in the six-team Group A on nine points. Their last two meetings with United States ended in 0-6 and 0-7 losses.

Despite the United States holding a significant advantage over Trinidad and Tobago based on those scorelines and others in the past, both Hackshaw and Moore rate their chances of upsetting the applecart, highly.

Hackshaw, who has 39 caps and two goals for Trinidad and Tobago, first expressed satisfaction with the preparation heading into the encounter.

“These sessions have been very important as we try to get match fit with these games we have been playing here and I think the guys are playing and doing pretty good. Now we're just waiting to meet up with the rest of the guys and I think it's going to be fun,” Hackshaw said prior to their departure.

“I think with the bunch of guys we have now; I think we're going to give them (United States) a good fight. It's not going to be easy both ways for us and for them, and I think we are going to do good.

“This team we have here is a fighting team. It's a younger group, but I think everyone is always up for the fight, and with the addition of Levi (Garcia), I think we are going to do great,” he added.

Should they pull a surprise in Texas, the midfielder pointed out that it would be a significant boost to ensure local fans are entertained when they return home for the second leg.

"It's not going to be easy for us, but we are going there to give them a show, and we are not going to step short, and we are going to go full hundred,” Hackshaw declared.

Meanwhile, Moore, 27, who has scored seven goals in 24 appearances, echoed similar sentiments.

“I think we will do well in Texas. The training session with the boys have been high intensity so far, we are fully enthusiastic about the task at hand, and we are going to go there and show that we have what it takes to beat the USA,” he stated.

The striker also welcomed the return of captain Levi Garcia, who missed all four matches for the Soca Warriors in the six-team League A qualifiers.

“It will be a big plus for all the guys and the technical staff to have Levi back in the team because what he brings to the table for us is great,” Moore noted.

The other quarterfinals fixtures will see Canada against Jamaica, Mexico against Honduras, and Panama against Costa Rica.

At the end of the two-leg ties, the four winners will progress to the Nations League semi-final in March next year, as well as the Copa America tournament.

The four losing quarterfinalists will engage a single-match direct elimination play-in for the final two spots to next year’s Copa America, which will be hosted in the United States.

Related items

  • Alexander-Arnold says Lineker's Euro 2024 criticism of England was warranted Alexander-Arnold says Lineker's Euro 2024 criticism of England was warranted

    Trent Alexander-Arnold admits England's players agreed with Gary Lineker's controversial description of the Three Lions' Euro 2024 performances as "s***".

    Lineker hit out at England's display in a 1-1 group-stage draw with Denmark on his podcast, The Rest is Football, in comments that attracted a fierce response from captain Harry Kane.

    Kane responded by saying former England players in the media had a "responsibility" when it came to discussing the national team, calling on them to be more supportive.

    Alexander-Arnold, however, says many in the camp agreed with Lineker's criticism and feels some used it as motivation as the Three Lions grew into the tournament, finishing as runners-up to Spain.

    "We had all seen it and heard it and felt it," the Liverpool ace told The Daily Mirror. "We all knew that we could be playing and performing better. 

    "It is never nice for someone to point that out but everyone deep down knew it within ourselves, too.

    "It was something we were already thinking about, we knew we needed to be better. We had to add that to our performances, some players may have used that as motivation."

    England created chances worth just 6.15 expected goals (xG) in their seven games in Germany, with only Scotland (0.32), Serbia (0.7), Slovenia (0.81), Albania (0.82) and Italy (0.84) averaging a lower xG figure per game than their 0.88.

    The Three Lions needed a stoppage-time overhead kick from Jude Bellingham to overcome Slovakia in the last 16, a penalty shoot-out to advance against Switzerland in the quarter-finals and a last-minute Ollie Watkins winner to beat the Netherlands in the semi-finals.

    After England's dramatic run ended with a 2-1 final loss to Spain, manager Gareth Southgate announced his resignation following eight years at the helm.

    Alexander-Arnold believes the Three Lions' aim for the 2026 World Cup must be to finally get over the line, promising the squad will give their all for Southgate's successor.

    "Everyone has a high expectation with England now and rightly so, it is true of us as players," he added.

    "We feel we should be winning tournaments, that is the goal and standard we have set ourselves. That will be there for the new manager."

  • Bayern sporting director Eberl suggests Kimmich future in doubt Bayern sporting director Eberl suggests Kimmich future in doubt

    Bayern Munich sporting director Max Eberl has suggested Joshua Kimmich's future at the club could be in question, saying no player is guaranteed a regular starting place.

    Kimmich has entered the final 12 months of his contract with Bayern, who he joined in 2015 and has helped win eight Bundesliga titles and one Champions League.

    Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Manchester City have all been linked with a move for the 29-year-old, who endured a difficult 2023-24 campaign.

    Kimmich reportedly had a strained relationship with former Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel, as the club saw their 11-year stranglehold on the Bundesliga title ended by Bayer Leverkusen.

    Speaking to Welt am Sonntag, Eberl hinted every player in the Bayern squad must prove themselves ahead of Vincent Kompany's first season in charge.

    "Joshua is a very good player, but it is generally true that professional football is a competitive sport," Eberl said. 

    "We cannot say to any player; 'Hey, you are the one who is going to play.

    "I'm just saying what applies to everyone. We have exciting players in all positions and therefore many alternatives."

    Bayern strengthened their midfield options by clinching a deal for Fulham's Joao Palhinha earlier this month, having already signed Michael Olise from Crystal Palace.

  • Defensive dynamo: Roxanna McLean eyes continued growth after standout performances at Americas Netball World Youth Cup Qualifiers Defensive dynamo: Roxanna McLean eyes continued growth after standout performances at Americas Netball World Youth Cup Qualifiers

    In every tournament, there is always that one individual that sticks out among their peers. Not in a negative way, like the proverbial sore thumb, but because of their skillful plays and standout performances.

    Jamaica's Roxanna McLean is one such individual who excelled among her peers, as her name echoed with every game in which she served as a defensive pillar at the recently-concluded Americas Netball World Youth Cup qualifiers in Guadeloupe.

    Not only did the 20-year-old defender and captain lead Jamaica to victory in the Under-21 tournament, but she also earned the prestigious titles of Best Defender and Player of the Tournament, which solidified her status as a rising star in netball. 

    While the accolades were a testament to her hard work, dedication, and the impact she had throughout the tournament, McLean attributed the success to her coaches—Phyllis Thompson and Nicole Aiken-Pinnock—and teammates.

    “I’m incredibly honoured to receive these awards, which are just a testament to our hard work. Every time I go out there on court, I ensure to stay disciplined but hungry to get as many tips, gains, or intercepts as possible,” a beaming McLean told SportsMax.TV.

    “But these awards are not just mine; they belong to the entire team because it has been a challenging journey, but with the support of my teammates and coaches, we achieved something special,” she added.

    That special something for McLean, who had a stint with the senior Sunshine Girls against England Roses last year, is the fact that they entered the tournament with high hopes and a determination to secure their place in next year’s Netball World Youth Cup in Gibraltar, and they achieved it.

    Guided by strategic gameplay and team cohesion, the young Sunshine Girls navigated the qualifiers with poise and precision as they went unbeaten throughout, with crucial 40-33 and 54-29 victories coming against Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados in the semi-final and final, a feat that McLean believes underscored their dominance in the region.

     “Qualifying for the World Youth Cup is a big accomplishment for all of us. We worked incredibly hard going into tournament, which basically prepared us mentally and physically for the challenges that we faced from teams like Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados. We now have the opportunity to represent our country on the world stage, which is an even bigger honour,” McLean, who found her passion for netball at Denbigh High school, shared. 

    Still, the bubbly player, who possesses an exceptional ability to read the game, knows all too well that the young Sunshine Girls’ defensive strategy and attacking plays were not all that polished. As such, McLean’s focus is already on continuous improvement with hopes of achieving greater feats.

    In fact, though her personal accolades are motivation, the Moneague College student declared that the ultimate goal remains the success of her team.

    “One of my biggest goals right now is to really hone my skills. There is a lot of room for improvement in my game and a lot more for me to learn, so that is my main focus going forward, as I always want to be at my best to make my coaches teammates and country proud,” McLean stated.

    “So, I will definitely be putting in a lot of hard work, both individually and with the team, at our training sessions. Because we have a lot of work to do before Gibraltar, so we will continue to train hard and develop our game, and we have two of the best coaches with us to see to that. So I’m excited for what’s to come,” she ended.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.