After two easy victories in its opening games, Cayman got a reality check on Friday, losing 3-0 to Bermuda in a clash of Group A favourites.
The Cayman Islands started the CONCACAF Under-15 tournament with a pair of sizeable victories but Bermuda is a much stronger opponent than St. Maarten and the US Virgin Islands, which the host franchise defeated 12-0 and 8-0, respectively.
On Friday, Bermuda was able to subdue the threat of Leighton Thomas Jr., who scored eight goals for the Cayman Islands during the first two matches.
In front of a full house at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex, Bermuda’s Onego Lowe scored just before half-time and Osagi Bascome added a second minutes after the break. Jai Z. Smith Deshields sealed the win soon after.
Cayman’s technical director Ardin “Cheeky” Rivers said, “This is a development tournament and against Bermuda we got further experience in facing different styles of play.
“I think we took too long to adapt to their pace and physical strength. We had two individual errors in the second half and that didn’t give us the chance to win the game.”
Cayman was scheduled to play again Sunday night, against the Bahamas.
Rivers added, “The tournament is being well received. CONCACAF president Jeff Webb has done a great job bringing football into the communities and it is much appreciated.”
Aruba also remained undefeated in Group A on Friday, as Jean Pierre Van Der Linden scored six in a 10-0 victory over US Virgin Islands. That haul put Van Der Linden atop the scoring charts with nine goals. In the other Group A fixture that evening, Bahamas recorded its first win of the tournament, beating St. Maarten, 8-0, featuring seven different scorers.
On Saturday, in Group C, Guadeloupe defeated St. Martin, 2-1, at Ed Bush in West Bay to lead the group.
Honduras was well supported at the T.E. McField Annex where they recorded their second victory in outclassing St. Kitts and Nevis, 6-0. Local Hondurans came out in numbers, wearing national colours and waving flags.
In the first five minutes, Darixon Vuelto and Jorge Alvarez scored. Vuelto notched his second in the 37th minute, while Jeancarlo Vargas netted in the 53rd, 61st, and 69th minute. Vuelto earned the Man of the Match award.
Honduras are a joy to watch. Their passing movement is at times mesmerising, ably displayed by the likes of Diylan Andrade and Walter Rodriguez.
Honduras faces Guadeloupe on Monday in a game which may decide who wins the group.
There are five fixtures on Monday night. At the T.E. McField Annex, Curacao plays St. Kitts and Nevis (4.30pm), St. Vincent faces El Salvador (6pm) and Honduras is up against Guadeloupe (7.30pm).
At Ed Bush stadium, Puerto Rico face Haiti (4.30pm) then Martinique play Antigua & Barbuda (6pm). All matches are free entry.