The Under-20 Barbados national team fell to St Lucia last night going down 2-1 in their second matchup at the IMG Soccer Complex in Bradenton, Florida.
The young Bajan Tridents threatened St. Lucia early, gaining the first goal-scoring opportunity courtesy a free kick by Niall Reid-Stephen which went too high and another two before the first 15 minutes of play had elapsed.
St Lucia lost 1-0 to Haiti in their opening encounter, while Barbados conceded a 2-0 loss to Costa Rica in the Group E match-up.
Striker Dishon “Eto” Howell appeared to be off his game as he failed to convert two headers which skimmed the top of the net, and another opportunity which came in the form of a clear path with goalie Vino Barclett off the line. But with no one to pass to, he kicked the ball into the side of the crossbars much to his frustration.
The St Lucians took the lead via a cross from Aaron Richard with the follow through by Nangee Philip into the back of the net in the 14th minute, after goalkeeper Liam Brathwaite was unable to recover.
This move seemed to rattle the local lads’ nerves. As soon as St Lucia scored, the game turned in their favour as they dominated having complete control.
As the second half action continued, Howell went out and substitute Ray Francis came on. The midfielder wasted no time in levelling the playing field for Barbados as a long cross from Reid-Stephen across the field saw Francis cut on the inside and deposit the ball into the top of the net from the top of the box.
Not five minutes later, the St Lucians converted a penalty taken by Sebastian Ribot, who deposited the ball comfortably into the back of the net, to seal the deal for them and giving them their first win of the tournament.
While Barbados maintained the better ball possession, they failed to capitalise on their many scoring opportunities, giving St Lucia the opportunity to build up their defence throughout the game, turning the pressure up full throttle.
With ten minutes left in the game, Brathwaite came off the mark missing the ball completely and giving St Lucia the opportunity for a clear shot, which they also failed to capitalise on as players from both teams were taken off the field injured.
Barbados currently sit slightly above Bermuda on goal difference, however, they trail behind St Lucia, Haiti and Costa Rica in that order.