“We are not afraid” says Gordon with his Defence Force side set to visit North East Stars

​Photo: Defence Force players celebrate scoring against North East Stars in the final of the 2016 First Citizens Cup en route lifting the trophy at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Dec. 2, 2016.

Defence Force head coach Marvin Gordon is after a third straight Pro League when his side visit leaders North East Stars on Saturday from 4pm at the iconic Arima Velodrome – which has been favourable to Derek King’s men.

The Stars are unbeaten in five games -- four of them ending in wins -- at the Arima Velodrome since calling it home at the start of the current season and leads the PL standings with 24 points, albeit only one point ahead of a W Connection (23 points) side which must tackle third-positioned Club Sando (18 points) from 3:30pm on Sunday at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium.

“North East Stars might have some home advantage with the people coming out and supporting them but we are not afraid to play anywhere including the Arima Velodrome,” insisted Gordon, whose side sits fourth on the PL table with 15 points.

“The game is played on the day. We are soldiers and sailors and we are after the points. We want to win. We have set ourselves the goal of focusing on wins each game at a time to try and finish higher up the table. So we have one goal on Saturday and that is to go and get three points.”

The Army/Coast Guard combination that have struck recent form, amassing four straight wins in all competitions and unbeaten in five including a 10-0 thrashing of Eastern Football Association side Trinity Rangers in FA Trophy play last Sunday.

Gordon credits a newfound comradery within his team for the recent run of form. He said senior players such as Devorn Jorsling, Jerwyn Balthazar, Kerry Joseph and Christopher Durity are taking the lead in helping the younger players better understand and accept what the coaches are trying produce from the team.

“Good things will come once we believe in one another,” said Gordon, whose side will attempt to defend the First Citizens Cup later this month beginning with the quarterfinal round.

North East Stars are a star-studded side undefeated in their last six games in all competitions, and King will look to maintain both his side’s unbeaten form at home and their place at the PL summit.

“Playing at home is always good especially with the support we have been receiving from the Arima people,” said King, an Arima native.

“The support we get in Arima really helps the team. The fans really play a 12th-man and we want to maintain the good form that we have at home, not just for the team but for the supporters as well.

“But Defence Force are a team that can come out and be perfect on the day. So it is important that each of our players give solid performances individually and as a team.”

North East Stars edged Defence Force 2-1 when both sides met in Round One on June 27 at the Ato Boldon Stadium and with the seven regular league games left this season and Connection biting at their heels, King wants nothing less than three points on Saturday.

“It is very important that we win game. Connection play Sando next and whatever that result, it is vital that we pick up three points. We have to keep focused on the task at hand because we are responsible for whatever happens at this stage [of the league title chase],” said the Stars’ coach, whose side whipped three-time defending league champions Central FC 6-0 in their previous league outing on Sep. 22.

Central (10 points), seated seventh and winless in their last ten games in all competitions, will look to rebound away to ninth-positioned Point Fortin Civic from 6pm at the Mahaica Oval on Saturday.

Civic have lost their last three league outings with their latest a 1-0 result against Morvant Caledonia United in front of home fans at the Mahaica Oval on Sep. 26.

The sixth-positioned Morvant Caledonia (13 points), in search of a third straight league win, will also be in action on Saturday when coach Jamaal Shabazz’s Eastern Stallions visit crosstown rivals San Juan Jabloteh (14 points) from 4pm at the Barataria Oval.

On Sunday, cellar-placed MIC-IT St. Ann’s Rangers will host Police FC from 3:30pm at St. Augustine Secondary School Ground.

Trinidad and Tobago Pro League 2017
Round Two Match Day Three
(Saturday 7 October 2017)
North East Stars vs Defence Force, 4pm, Arima Velodrome, Arima.

San Juan Jabloteh vs Morvant Caledonia United, 4pm, Barataria Oval, Barataria;

Point Fortin Civic vs Central FC, 6pm, Mahaica Oval, Point Fortin;

(Sunday 8 October 2017)
Club Sando vs W Connection, 3:30pm, Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella;

MIC-IT St. Ann’s Rangers vs Police FC, 3:30pm, St. Augustine Senior Secondary School Ground.