Cayman’s hopes of winning Group B and advancing in the World Cup qualifiers have taken a hit, after the national team lost their opening match on 24 March against Suriname.
“Suriname are a team full of players playing at the top level,” Cayman’s national head coach Ben Pugh told Cayman Compass. “In this squad we have no professional players and a young group; Justin Byles played 50 minutes and he’s only just turned 16.”
Cayman failed to score in the match, which finished 3-0 to the home side at the Dr. Franklin Essed Stadion in a game that saw Suriname dominate possession.
Shaquille Pinas of Suriname opened scoring 22 minutes into the game, with a goal by way of a header off a corner assist. A penalty was given to Suriname 16 minutes later, when Cayman’s goalkeeper David Lee was pulled up for holding. Ryan Donk capitalised on the opportunity, closing the first half 2-0.
Cayman’s defence held up during the second half for the most part considering the consistent pressure applied by the Surinamese players.
However, the Caymanian squad couldn’t get their attacking play going. The team came close to scoring in the 53rd minute but were unable to take advantage of the chance, when a free kick from Mason Duval missed the target.
Gleofilo Vlijter of Suriname scored the final goal of the game in the 76th minute, contributing to the first win in Group B.
“Going into the next game we must be more confident in possession and make better decisions on the ball,” said Pugh.
Cayman left Suriname on 25 March, to play their second match against Canada at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida on 28 March.