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.

Having been plagued by injuries in recent times, Trinidad and Tobago’s Levi Garcia recently made a return to competitive action for his club AEK Athens and is now eagerly looking forward to representing the Soca Warriors in their bid for Copa America qualification.

Garcia, who only featured in five previous games for reigning Greek champions AEK Athens this season, made a brief appearance in the club’s 1-1 stalemate away to AE Kifisia in the Super League on Saturday.

With that blow out run now under his belt, the 25-year-old, who assisted AEK to the Greek double last season when he scored 18 goals across all competitions, said he is working his way back to peak form, as he intends to do what he does best, give his all for both club and country.

"I have been working really hard lately to get fit so things have been going well," Garcia told T&T Newsday.

Garcia missed Trinidad and Tobago’s four group stage matches in the Concacaf Nations League, as they placed second in Group A of League A, which secured them a spot in the upcoming quarterfinals of the tournament.

The pacy attacker is hoping his Soca Warriors teammates can continue the steady work as he continues to work his way back to full fitness.

"It’s been really good to see the guys performing and hopefully we can continue to do positive things for ourselves and future players,” Garcia stated.

Angus Eve’s Trinidad and Tobago outfit are set to contest a pivotal Nations League quarterfinals encounter against the United States, the first away on November 16, with their home leg at the Hasely Crawford Stadium falling on Garcia's 26th birthday on November 20.

With the prospect of qualification for Copa America 2024 in the air, Garcia is ready for the grand occasion.

"It's a big game against the US and we're all looking forward to it. I think everyone is (optimistic about our chances of qualifying for the Copa America 2024). That will be a great platform to showcase ourselves but first we need to take it one game at a time,” he noted.

The four teams advancing from the quarterfinals will qualify for both the Nations League semi-finals and the Copa tournament. The four losing quarterfinalists will have a second opportunity to qualify for Copa 2024 through a single-match, direct elimination play-off in March next year.

Roberto De Zerbi congratulated his Brighton players in the dressing room for their performance despite losing 3-2 to AEK Athens on their European debut.

Despite dominating the ball and dictating the shape of the game in wet and difficult conditions at the Amex Stadium, Brighton were undone by an AEK side who made the best of what little they created and were clinical when their moments came.

First, the right-back Djibril Sidibe dashed into the box unmarked at a corner and flew into a superb diving header that nestled in the corner.

It was a lead they twice should have doubled when striker Levi Garcia went through on goal, first denied by goalkeeper Jason Steele then sliding the ball beyond the post as two glorious chances were wasted.

Brighton hit back through a penalty from Joao Pedro after a VAR check, the same means by which they levelled for a second time after the break. In between, Mijat Gacinovic had restored AEK’s lead, sliding in at a free-kick to finish from near the penalty spot.

Brighton were missing the injured Lewis Dunk in defence and his absence was felt again when substitute Ezequiel Ponce was given space on the counter-attack to win it for the Greek champions late on.

“We conceded three goals,” said De Zerbi. “Two goals in set pieces and one incredible goal, the third. We made some mistakes in the (final third) of the pitch, for example the chance of Joao Pedro in the second half, or the chance for Igor in the first half. But in terms of quality of play we played a very good game, I think.

“I’m really proud for the performance. I think we showed not the right experience, or maybe not the same experience as AEK Athens.

“But for the rest I think we played with personality and with the right attitude. We controlled the game, we dominated the game. And we are sad for the result.

“We are sad because we couldn’t make happy our fans, ourselves, our club. But we have to analyse the performance and the performance was good.

“We can learn. We have to learn. We can improve, but it’s difficult to accept this defeat. I congratulated the players 10 minutes ago, because I can’t be happy when we win at Old Trafford and sad today if the performances are both good performances.

“We have to know, and we knew before the game, that AEK had two situations where they could score; set-pieces and counter-attack. And when we’re defending set-pieces against this team, we have to be more focused, more with the right attitude, more smart to defend the set-pieces.”

De Zerbi confirmed that Dunk and striker Evan Ferguson had been ruled out of contention earlier on Thursday.

“Dunk couldn’t play because after the game with Man United he felt a problem,” he added. “This afternoon Evan had a temperature, he is ill.”

AEK manager Matias Almeyda reflected on a win which he hoped will help cement his team’s reputation as a serious European force this season.

“We work on the basis of playing a type of football based on team work,” he said. “I live my life the way I manage the team. I like to respect people and I like to be respected. We want to be respected in Europe and we wanted to get a result to gain that respect.

“We have been working together for over a year. We came here in order to play our usual game. The opposition on a number of occasions forced us to play a different kind of game. But it’s spirit of the team, a fighting spirit, and that’s what we have managed to achieve. To keep on fighting.”

Trinidad and Tobago’s Soca Warriors secured a 2-0 win over St. Vincent & the Grenadines as Group C action continued in the Concacaf Nations League B at the Arnos Vale Stadium on Friday.

Defender Neveal Hackshaw, who represents USL Championship club Indy Eleven, opened the scoring in the 17th minute before AEK Athens winger Levi Garcia got the second and final goal for T&T.

Trinidad and Tobago are now second in Group C with six points after three games, one behind Nicaragua who moved to seven points after securing a 2-0 win over the Bahamas at the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium in Nassau.

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