Trinidad & Tobago shock Costa Rica with 2-1 extra time victory

Jay Hipps
Date Published: 

Costa Rica vs Trinidad & TobagoCosta Rica vs Trinidad & Tobago

On a day that featured both sudden downpours and sunny skies, it turned out to be a beautiful day for Trinidad and Tobago as they defeated Costa Rica 2-1 in extra time in the Gold Cup quarter final. The day offered all the emotions ranging from joy to frustration and, for the Trinidadians, joy again.

The action started early as Costa Rica created the first scoring opportunity in just the second minute. Wilmer Lopez played a through ball which Pablo Wanchope ran onto in the right side of the penalty area. His low shot to the far post beat the keeper but went just wide.

Trinidad and Tobago didn't wait long to challenge the Costa Rican goal, though. They worked the ball through the midfield, moving the ball out to defender Angus Eve, making an overlapping run into the corner. His hard shot was too much for Costa Rica goalkeeper Hermidio Barrantes to handle, but he was able to punch it out of play to end the threat. Barrantes was called into action just a minute later when Jerren Nixon was freed in a similar manner, this time on the left side. His angled shot was parried dangerously by Barrantes, the ball deflecting straight up the middle of the penalty area. It came tantalizingly close to Arnold Dwarika, but the Trinidadian couldn't get off a shot as defenders converged on him. The ball squirted out across the top of the box and was fired back in, but a Costa Rican defender blocked the shot.

The action continued end to end throughout the opening 25 minutes, with both teams alternating in their dominance of midfield. The game was shaping up to be quite an offensive display, the question being not if a goal would be scored but how soon and how often. Russel Latapy, Trinidad's "Little Magician," nearly broke the deadlock in the 24th minute, taking a free kick from 25 yards out just about 10 yards off center. His shot rocketed off his boot and over the wall, bound for the upper reaches of the Costa Rican net. Only an athletic leap by Barrantes kept the match scoreless.

Costa Rica's reprieve was a short one, however. Just three minutes later, Latapy made a run down the left side, crossing the ball into the area about 15 yards out. Barrantes rushed out to field the ball only to have it headed away by one of his own defenders, Pablo Chinchilla, and the ball landed at the feet of Dwarika as though it had been passed to him. With the goalkeeper out and only a defender to beat with his shot, Dwarika finished with ease to give Trinidad and Tobago a 1-0 lead.

The goal led Costa Rica to redouble their efforts and, combined with Trinidad's desire to protect their lead, created some good opportunities for the Ticos. The 32nd minute saw a buildup into Trinidad's penalty area, giving Wilmer Lopez an open shot from just 12 yards out. His first-time shot was mis-hit, however, and goalkeeper Clayton Ince easily stopped it. The Ticos threatened again in the 34th minute, but Harold Wallace's hard, bending shot from the right side curled just wide of the near post. Despite their chances, though, Costa Rica was unable to score and the half ended 1-0.

Costa Rica again pressed forward after the interval. Though the Ticos were able to find space down the wings, their crosses failed to connect with their front runners. A sequence in the 51st minute was typical, where Austin Berry was freed down the left wing. He first put in a low cross that was cut out by a defender, but the ball deflected back to him. He took it deeper into the area and floated in a cross, but it was misplayed and sailed over the heads of his teammates in the box. Hernan Medford ran it down on the right side, but his cross landed in a cluster of Trinidadian defenders and was cleared easily.

T&T saved its offensive efforts for counterattacks which, though infrequent, looked dangerous. In the 58th minute, Latapy, Dwarika, and Jerren Nixon led a rush up the field, with Latapy squaring up and walloping a shot from the edge of the 18 that went over the top. They scored a goal in the 63rd minute when Dwarika took a through ball, dribbled the keeper, and put it home, but the linesman's flag held aloft made it all for naught.

The back-and-forth action continued in the 64th minute when Wanchope nearly converted Costa Rica's best chance yet. This time, the Ticos' interplay in the area clicked, sending Wanchope in on the right side. Wanchope got everything he wanted out of the shot with perfect placement and power, but Ince's reflex dive to his right got enough of the ball to slow its momentum and cause it to trickle across the goal and out of play.

Costa Rica threatened again minutes later when, in the 72nd minute, Medford beat his man on the left corner and moved in to fire a rocket from 10 yards out. His aim was off, though, and the ball dented only the side netting.

With time running out, the Ticos' desperation was building and Trinidad's counter attacks became more frequent. Latapy again showed off his powerful shot in the 76th minute, ripping a ball from 22 yards out that Barrantes could only parry. The 81st minute saw an opportunity for Dwarika, who held up the ball at the edge of the area in a two-on-two to fire a carefully-aimed shot off the far post. Costa Rica was still alive, though, and their assault on the goal continued.

Time and again, the Ticos would play the ball into the area, only to see it cleared by the tenacious defense, shot with little power, or simply fired close, but wide. It looked as though Costa Rica was simply suffering from a jinxed effort, one of those games where no matter how many chances are created, the ball will simply not go in.

Mickey TrotmanMickey Trotman

Just before the final whistle, however, they finally broke through. With what seemed like every player on the field in the Trinidad penalty area, William Sunsig booted a low shot from about 16 yards out. Ince dove to his right but the ball was deflected before it reached him, and he was lying on his stomach as the ball rolled, seemingly in slow motion, behind him and into the net. The referee blew the whistle immediately after the restart and the teams took a moment to catch their breaths before extra time.

It was going to be a difficult tast for Trinidad, due both to the crushing last-second goal and to the fact that their midfield genius Latapy had been substituted in the closing minutes of regulation time as they sought to protect their lead.

Costa Rica created the first real opportunity of extra time, when Wanchope received the ball with his back to goal just 12 yards out. He fired a low shot on the turn, but placed the ball directly at the goalkeeper whose heart must have skipped a beat before making the stop.

Following the narrow miss, Trinidad began to take a more conservative approach, often playing with Dwarika as a lone front runner. It was clear that they were playing for either a counterattack or favored the idea of taking the match to penalties.

It turned out to be the counterattack. Dwarika took a long ball at the edge of the area and flicked it sideways to Trotman, who held off a challenge by Mauricio Wright, turned, and shot. The kick probably would have been an easy save for Barrantes, but the ball took a deflection off of Victor Cordero as he attempted to block it and bounced into the net past a helpless keeper. Trotman, in celebration, sprinted off the field and into the players' tunnel, his jubilant teammates following him.

Trinidad and Tobago will meet the winner of this afternoon's match between Mexico and Canada in the semifinal to be played Thursday night in Los Angeles. The game, along with the rest of the Gold Cup, will be broadcast live on

Costa Rica: Hermidio Barrantes; Harold Wallace, Mauricio Wright, Victor Cordero, Pablo Chinchilla; Austin Berry, Walter Centeno, Wilmer Lopez; Hernan Medford, Paolo Wanchope, Jeaustin Campos.

Trinidad & Tobago: Clayton Ince, Angus Eve, Ansil Elcock, Stokely Mason, Russell Latapy, David Nakhid, Anthony Rougier, Arnold Dwarika.