Cuba looks to bounce back against Trinidad

Action from the CONCACAF Gold Cup match between Cuba (white jersey) and Mexico on July 9, 2015, in Chicago. (Photo: Mexsport)

GLENDALE, Arizona – After absorbing a six-goal loss to Mexico, Cuba captain Yenier Marquez promised one thing would be different for its next Group C match in the CONCACAF Gold Cup: fans will see a motivated team against Trinidad & Tobago on Sunday.

“I said it after the game against Mexico that we were a bit wounded,” Marquez said of Thursday’s setback. “We didn’t expect that type of game. But that game is in our past. We’ve talked among ourselves and that game is erased.

“Our guys come in with plenty of conviction and a will to win. It will be a different team.”

Assistant coach Walter Benitez echoed Marquez’s sentiments.

“There will be a change because we can be more offensive with one of our best forwards [Maikel Reyes] would be playing,” he said.  “We can count on him.”

Cuba also can count on its players to have more confidence against the Soca Warriors at the University of Phoenix Stadium. Both teams know each other well from regional competitions.

“I don’t think there is a course or speech that the coach can give them to change them,” expressed Benitez. “They have to look within themselves and I am sure they will look within to make that change.”

Trinidad head coach Stephen Hart, whose team recorded a 3-1 win over Guatemala Thursday, expects to see a more focused Cuban team. The regional rivals met in the group stage of last year’s Caribbean Cup finals, a scoreless draw.

“I think Cuba played very differently (against Mexico),” said Hart. “They know us well. We’ve played each other quite a few times the last few years and they will come out with the belief they can get three points from the game.

“I think it’s extremely important to get the result from the game. After you come off a victory, it is always a dangerous game to play. You have to look to manage these emotions well understand the value of this game and what it means to us to get into the knockout stage.”