Cayman girls will bounce back

The Cayman Islands women’s football pool is tiny compared to other countries in the CONCACAF region, and although the hosts lost all three matches in the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship, at least they know what they need to do to be more competitive in the future.

At the Truman Bodden Sports Complex on Tuesday, Cayman needed a confidence-boosting win after defeats to Mexico (6-0) and Trinidad and Tobago (4-0), but Honduras thwarted that ambition. Watched by many vocal Hondurans living here, the visitors won 3-0.

Honduras finished third in Group B following setbacks to first-place Mexico and runner-up Trinidad and Tobago.

Cayman conceded 13 and did not score a goal in their Group B games, but to their credit, they showed fighting spirit throughout. They fielded one of the youngest and least experienced teams in the competition, many of whom were making their international debuts.

Marcos Tinoco, Cayman Islands women’s football technical director, was disappointed but nevertheless extremely proud of his young charges.

He admired how focused and disciplined the squad was for months in hard training. “The coaching staff have nothing to complain about over their attitude,” Tinoco said. “We were very impressed with how committed they were.

“We don’t have the same resources as the big teams and this was our first official CONCACAF tournament. All the other seven teams had the experience of playing in qualifying games to get here.”

He added that they played for a win against Honduras and not just to stifle them, but fell short. “The girls were upset after the game but we told them it was not a bad result against an experienced side who are Central American champions.”

Tinoco is looking forward to future women’s tournaments, particularly the U-15 CONCACAF this summer, again at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex, because five Caymanians in the U-20 squad will still be young enough for it. “That gives us a lot of hope,” he said.

Linda Moncada netted her first three minutes into the second half for Honduras.

Nine minutes later, Cayman’s Neesah Godet shot from 30 yards that goalkeeper Kelin Palma gathered without difficulty. That was one of few attempts Cayman could muster against a well-organized Honduras side whose passing and movement was often exemplary.

Moncada gathered from a congested Cayman box to shoot past keeper Kristina Seymour in the 81st minute for her second. Johana Lopez sealed the emphatic win late into added time.

The tournament resumes on Friday with a semifinal doubleheader. Mexico will meet Costa Rica in the opener at 4 p.m. followed by the United States facing the Trinidadians at 7 p.m.

The eventual finalists, along with the winner of the match for third place, will earn a berth to the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada this summer.

Mexico defeated Trinidad and Tobago 3-0 in Tuesday’s earlier game to take maximum points from their three Group B games.

Paloma Zermeño scored the first for Mexico, and Paulina Solis headed her first goal before smacking home a penalty to earn herself the Woman of the Match award.