The 2019 Cayman Islands Invitational U-15 Youth Football Cup kicked off Tuesday with four exciting matches.
In the Group 1 matches in Cayman Brac, Mount Pleasant Academy (Jamaica) and CD Victoria (Honduras) picked up wins, while Group 2 winners on the opening night in West Bay were Portmore United FC (Jamaica) and defending champions DC United (United States).
Games continue at each venue daily with 6:30-8pm kick-off times, with the semi-finals being held at Ed Bush Sports Complex on Friday and the third-place playoff and championship match on Saturday. The winner will lift the Winston Chung Memorial Cup.
Day 1 recap
Cayman Islands 0 – Portmore United 1
The opening match at the Ed Bush Sports Complex in West Bay featured the Cayman Islands National U-15 Team versus Portmore United FC, the third place finisher from a year earlier. Despite a few chances for either side, the game was scoreless at the half. The situation changed in the 52nd minute, when attacking midfielder Ruben Brown put his shot past Andrea Tognazzo in the Cayman goal to make it 1-0 for the visitors from Jamaica.
An enthusiastic crowd that included Minister of Sports Juliana O’Connor-Connolly cheered on the local boys as they pursued the elusive equaliser. Their efforts proved fruitless, however, and Portmore United picked up three points with the win.
Cayman Islands head coach Lovane Joven said, “It was not a bad game for us. I think in the end, we took our foot off the pedal, we got a little complacent and we gave the goal up.”
Joven, who is preparing his side for the CONCACAF U-15 Championships this summer, noted that he’s seen improvement in the boys since last year’s tournament. “We look a lot better. We just need to finish our chances,” he said, adding that competition like this provides valuable preparation for the Summer tournament.
DC United 3 – Cuba 2
The second match of the double-header featured a rematch of the 2018 finals between DC United and the Cuba National U-15 Team.
After feeling each other out for the first half an hour of play, it was DC United taking the advantage thanks to a strike by Gage Lyons (31st minute). Five minutes after the resumption of play, the Caribbean side equalised when Osmany De La Torres found the back of the net.
The Cubans picked up the energy and were rewarded in the 48th minute with a goal by Romario Torres Gutierrez. However the American side had no quit in them, as evidenced by a finish from substitute Jose Gutierrez in the 58th to pull things level.
Shortly after entering the game, Edwin Henriques provided the winner for the defending champs in the 64th.
Mt Pleasant 2 – Cavalier FC 0
In Cayman Brac, it was an all-Jamaica affair to kick things off. A pair of goals from Deandre Johnson in the 2nd and 44th minutes gave Mt Pleasant Academy the edge against their rivals from Kingston.
CD Victoria 1 – Tobago All-Stars 0
CD Victoria picked up an important three points against first-time competitors, Tobago All-Stars. An early goal by Carlos Rodrigues in the 7th minute was the difference.