Orlando City midfielder Kevin Molino, the reigning USL PRO Most Valuable Player, started for his country last night and had himself an evening.
Molino netted a hat trick in the first 24 minutes of the game, leading Trinidad and Tobago to a 6-1 victory over the Dominican Republic in second-round Caribbean Cup qualifying action in Couva, Trinidad. Before the Ato Boldon Stadium crowd had fully settled into their seats, the Lions’ star had scored twice, striking in the game’s third and fourth minutes.
He added a third goal in the 24th minute and could have had a fourth before the break, but instead he unselfishly set up T&T captain Kenwyne Jones with a sitter for the team’s fourth goal of the first 45 minutes. With his three goals and an assist, Molino was easily the man of the match.
The Soca Warriors added a fifth goal shortly after the break, with Jones firing again, on the first goal of the game in which Molino played no part. The Dominicans were truly done and dusted, but Trinidad and Tobago tacked on a 76th-minute goal by substitute Trevin Caesar.
The Dominicans pulled one back very late, capitalizing on a T&T defensive lapse, providing the final margin.
It was a promising start to the second round for Trinidad and Tobago, now 1-0 in round two. The Soca Warriors are back in action Friday night, facing 0-1 Saint Lucia, which fell 2-1 to Antigua and Barbuda last night.
Trinidad and Tobago are favored to advance out of Group 7 and reach the final eight-team competition stage in this tournament in November. The top four teams in the Caribbean Cup qualify for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
If Molino continues playing as he did last night, the Soca Warriors will make the Gold Cup.