WCQ: Teenager Levi Garcia strikes twice to lift Soca Warriors over St Vincent / Grenadines

​Dutch-based attacker Levi Garcia

St Vincent / Grenadines 2     Trinidad & Tobago 3
Myron Samuel 45’ pen          Joevin Jones 58’
Shandell Samuel 77’             Levi Garcia 71’
                                              Levi Garcia 82’

Saturday 26 March 2016

Dutch-based starlet Levi Garcia has entered himself into the history books of Trinidad and Tobago football after scoring a game-winning double against hosts St. Vincent and the Grenadines in FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying on Good Friday.

The 18-year-old Garcia, who plays for Dutch Eredivisie club AZ Alkmaar, was used off the bench by T&T head coach Stephen Hart and scored twice in a space of eleven minutes to lift the “Soca Warriors” to a 3-2 win over St. Vincent at Arnos Vale, becoming the youngest T&T player to score in World Cup qualifying and only the fifth teenager to do so for the twin-island republic.

At the end of the day’s play, the victory pushed T&T, who must welcome St. Vincent (0 point) at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Trinidad on Tuesday, atop Group C with 7 points but only a point ahead of Guatemala who defeated previous leaders United States (4 points) 2-0 at Mateo Flores in Guatemala.

Guatemala, who got early goals through Rafael Morales (7th minute) and Carlos Ruiz (15th minute), must next travel to the USA on Tuesday to face the hosts at the Columbus Crew Stadium.

T&T were penalised by Panamanian referee Jose Kellys, ruling that goalkeeper Marvin Phillip had brought down David Pitt, before Myron Samuel clinically converted from the spot to put the hosts 1-0 ahead in the 45th minute.

Hart was without the services of first choice goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams, defender Radanfah Abu Bakr and attacker Cordell Cato due to injuries, while English-born midfielder John Bostock was unable to make his debut due to not being properly processed to represent the “Soca Warriors” after having represented England at the youth international level.

But T&T, who were denied twice in the first half by St. Vincent goalie Lemus Christopher, levelled the score 1-1 in the 58th minute when Seattle Sounders full-back Joevin Jones found the back of the hosts’ net in a play that started from a right side corner.

Hart introduced Garcia just over the hour mark and T&T were in front for the first time on the 71st minute. Goalscorer Jones headed on for Garcia, who did enough to get beyond defender Akeem Williams before firing past goalkeeper Christopher for a 2-1 lead.

St. Vincent responded six minutes later through substitute and former North East Stars and San Juan Jabloteh forward Shandell Samuel, who made it 2-2 from close range.

But St. Vincent, the whipping boys of Group C before kick-off, conceding 10 goals in their opening two games, were unable to hold out for a point, let alone a win.

Garcia, after latching onto the feed over the top from another substitute Neveal Hackshaw, fired in T&T’s 3-2 winner in the 82nd minute.

Trinidad and Tobago (4-2-3-1): 1.Marvin Phillip (GK); 5.Daneil Cyrus (16.Levi Garcia 62nd minute), 4.Sheldon Bateau, 18.Yohance Marshall, 2.Aubrey David; 8.Khaleem Hyland, 14.Andre Boucaud (6.Neveal Hackshaw 80th minute); 13.Justin Hoyte, 10.Kevin Molino, 9.Kenwyne Jones (Capt.) (11.Willis Plaza 86th minute), 3.Joevin Jones

Unused substitutes: 24.Adrian Foncette (GK), 7.Hughtun Hector, 12.Sean De Silva, 17.Mekeil Williams, 19.Shahdon Winchester, 20.Trevin Caesar, 23.Jomal Williams

Coach: Stephen Hart

St. Vincent & the Grenadines: 1.Lemus Christopher (GK); 14.Akeem Williams, 5.Shawn Benjamin, 3.Roy Richards (Capt.), 16.Jolanshoy McDowall, 4.Jarrel McMaster, 6.Shemol Trimmingham, 10.Oalex Anderson, 17.Emerald George (7.Kyle Edwards 83rd minute), 21.David Pitt (19.Shandel Samuel 66th minute), 9.Myron Samuel

Unused substitutes: 22.Kevan Henry (GK), 8.Darren Hamlett, 15.Kevin Francis, 20.Durwin Ross

Coach: Cornelius Huggins

Referee: Jose Kellys (Panama)