The Virgin Islands needed to score three goals and hold the United States Virgin Islands to zero in its second FIFA World Cup Preliminary Qualifying Match on Sunday at the A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds to advance to the next round.

But the VI would come up short as the USVI walked away with the victory, 2-1.

However, coaches and organisers were happy with the performance and chalked up the experience as invaluable.

“We came out and played a very good game, despite the loss,” VI Coach Avondale Williams  said.

The coach said the team stuck to its game plan of creating scoring opportunities, but unfortunately didn’t capitalise on them.

“It is a very young team,” Mr. Williams said.

The VI coach said he didn’t have enough time to hone the skills of his inexperienced team, but is optimistic about the territory’s chances at the next World Cup.

Mr. Williams was impressed with his team’s hard work, but highlighted the team’s captain Andy Davis. It was his second time competing in a FIFA World Cup Preliminary Qualifying Match. The captain acknowledged that the team is very young and inexperienced.

“My role is to really motivate the guys out there and lead by example,” Mr. Davis said.  “I keep some calm out there. There are some young guys out there with hot tempers.”

The USVI won the first match 2-0 in St. Thomas under wet conditions the week beofre. This meant the VI had to win at home by at least three goals.

USVI Head Coach Terrence Jones said scoring early in the match helped his team’s confidence. In the first minute, Dwayne Thomas scored from the left side of the field with a kick that spilt the defense and netted in the top right corner of the VI’s goal.

“It made it much tougher for the BVI,” Mr. Jones said. “The BVI had chances, but we had more chances, so I wasn’t scared. Once we scored early, I knew they would have to score more to beat us.”

The VI’s coach said the early goal was very hard on his team.

“It broke us down very much,” Mr. Williams said. “But we held on and equalised, but it was very frustrating to see an early goal like that.”

The match continued into the 37th minute when forward Trevor Peters scored the VI’s first goal. The first half would end in a tie.

The match was a good learning experience for the 21-year-old, he said. The forward found ways to get open against the bigger and stronger USVI team.

“I really had to use my head to move into a space, instead of just standing in one place,” Mr. Peters said.


See full story in the July 14, 2011 issue.