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Edwards eager for Colorado training camp
T&T veteran midfielder Carlos Edwards believes the team’s two-week training camp in Colorado, USA in preparations for the June 8th World Cup qualifier against the United States, is a exactly what is needed in order to give them a decent enough chance to pulling off a result.
Edwards has lined up against the US on more than five occasions in World Cup qualification and knows what it is to face them away from home. Edwards will travel to Colorado on Tuesday with the provisional squad to prepare for the encounter.
“I’ve had the opportunity to play against them maybe four or five times both home and away and it is always a situation where have a fair chance but the result is hard to come by. Even the last time we played them, we went there thinking that a result was possible but we conceded four goals,” Edwards said.
“The key to us getting a good result is strong preparation and I think by going there this early is definitely vital for us. The decision by Dennis (Lawrence) to go in there to help us settle early is a good step,” added the former Sunderland player.
Edwards looked ahead to the match itself, saying it would come down to the team that plays right to the final whistle.
“We have to take our A-game to Colorado. If we start well and weather the storm and enter the second half without conceding or at least level, we have it in us to pull it off. We have to be patient but very cautious as well because once they get on top of us, then we could have problems. But now we have a squad with experience, obviously with some of the players knowing what it is like to play in the US, we have the skill and the desire that I think can take us through. A positive result will be brilliant for us at this stage of the campaign,” Edwards said.
Atlanta leaning on Kenwyne
Atlanta United continue to place their hopes on Kenwyne Jones in a lone striker position in the absence of the injured Josef Martinez.
Head coach Tata Martino tried to explain his reasoning behind using Jones despite his different style of play to Martinez.
“When we have Kenwyne playing, he’s very good in the air and we try and take advantage of his physicality and ability to win balls in the air,” Martino said on Thursday. “Josef, when he plays, not only is he a great finisher but he’s also able to participate in the team’s movements and can circulate the ball.”
Jones has started four games and hopes to keep pushing on.
Martinez has already passed the six-week timeline initially established by the club for his return after he suffered a leg injury during international duty in March. Martino says he’ll stick with one center forward once Martinez does return.
“When both players were healthy and able to train and play, Martinez was the starter and Jones was on the bench,” Martino said. “Outside of special circumstances in which we use both players, what we’ll keep doing is play with one lone center forward.”
Tito Villalba has been the third option as a lone striker, with speed matching or exceeding Martinez’s that could present a similar danger to opposing backlines. Villalba scored two goals against Toronto in his best game as a lone striker, and created dangerous opportunities against Seattle.
“I think the team adapts to whoever is playing in that position and, right now, Kenwyne is occupying that position,” Villalba said.
Altidore anxious to face T&T
With the June 8th World Cup qualifier fast approaching, American forward Josie Altidore seems very excited to take the field at Dick’s Sporting Goods to face T&T.
“We know that now is the time to deliver and we are ready to do that,” Altidore told USA Today Sports.
The US suffered a frustrating start to this qualifying phase, losing at home to Mexico and 4-0 in Costa Rica, results that led to the firing of former coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Things quickly improved under Bruce Arena, with a 6-0 victory at home to Honduras in March being followed by a hard-fought 1-1 tie in Panama.
Altidore has a strong history against T&T, scoring a hat-trick in 2009 World Cup qualifying campaign, and then a double in the 4-0 win last year.
“We are moving in the right direction and we know these next two games are hugely important to what we want to achieve,” he said. “It is an exciting time. We are playing with more freedom and expression and we are ready to go.”
Joevin likes it in Seattle
Joevin Jones is being rated as the best left back in American Major League Soccer and has paid tribute to Seattle Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer. Jones has now played 27 games—including playoffs —Schmetzer as head coach. In those games, Jones has 10 assists and only two defenders in MLS history have tallied more than that in a single regular season and both of those instances were in 2000.
“Joevin Jones has been really good for us the entire time he’s been here,” Schmetzer said following Monday’s training session.
He added, “I think he’s the best left back in the league. I think he’s multi-faceted. If you think you can maybe pin him back and push guys on his side and push him back? Well, he’s fast enough in transition that he will beat your guy back up the field. He’s got a lot of things to his game.”
And the former W Connection man said the relationship with the Seattle coach was certainly blooming. EDITOR’S NOTE: Shaun Fuentes is the communications manager of the TTFA—[email protected]