Don't read too much into Trinidad and Tobago's win over El Salvador in the 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championship: the Salvadorans knew they were qualified for the next round of the tournament and made several changes to what had been a pretty settled lineup for the back-to-back wins that advanced them out of the Group Stage.
Nonetheless, this was a somewhat frustrating result for the Soca Warriors, who won their first game at this tournament when it was essentially too late to salvage their hope of progressing in the competition. T&T and El Salvador traded chances, but the Caribbean team struck first through captain Jabari Mitchell in the 47th minute. In the 50th, Jose Contreras - who might have had a hat-trick on another day - equalized. The arrival of substitutes Noah Powder and Kathon St. Hillaire midway through the second half tipped the balance of the game in the Soca Warriors' favor. St. Hillaire scored almost as soon as he entered the game, and T&T held on for the 2-1 win.
But the Trinidadians needed to get very lucky indeed to get to the Classification Stage: Bermuda would have to beat home team Costa Rica in the final game of the group stage (but only by one goal) to see the Soca Warriors advance on tie-breakers.
Improbably, Bermuda threatened to deliver the required result, opening the scoring against Los Ticos in the 26th minute of the final game of the tournament's Group Stage. But Costa Rica found two quick goals - one on either side of half-time - to secure the result most observers expected. With a 2-1 win, the home team would continue to play in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship beyond the opening round.
Costa Rica heads to the Classification Stage; Trinidad and Tobago heads home.
For New York Red Bulls fans, T&T's exit should at least mean the question of whether Noah Powder - a product of RBNY's Academy - turns pro as a Red Bull is resolved shortly. Powder is not yet known to have made a commitment to a professional contract, but he is expected to do so this season. He has played at the pro level with NYRB II in USL, and was very effective for the Red Bulls' reserves last season. But he explored options in Europe over the winter, and his plans for 2017 have yet to be revealed.