Team Belize ReactsAnd now we have the reaction to Saturday’s loss in Salt Lake City where the heartbreak at such a narrow defeat was palpable but so was the sense of redemption. Jules Vasquez got reaction from all sides.
Ian Mork - Belize Head Coach
"Glad that we were able to prove to ourselves most importantly and to everyone what type of football we can play so it was good to see the team show up today. Things didn't go our way completely but I'm proud of the players."
Ian Gaynair - Defender, Belize
"It's unfortunate that we had to get beat 6-1 for us to show the world that we can play football but at the end of the day I feel good about my team and my country."
Everal Trapp - Defender. Belize
"We played damn great - better than the first game after we took 6-1 we came out and we showed the world that we could play football."
Elroy Smith - Defender, Team Captain Belize
"These kinds of loss really hurt worse when it's 0ne-nil. Like I said the man didn't intentionally do that but these are things that happen."
Dalton Eiley - Sub-captain, Defender, Belize
"I made one simple error of leading with my right foot instead of my left foot. I led with my right and I over reached and it touched my shin guard and it slipped in. It was an unfortunate break."
Evan Mariano - Defender, Belize
"Costa Rica didn't beat us, we beat ourselves because that one auto-goal and that was it. We got a penalty and they didn't call it and that's how the game goes and we have to bounce back and we never know what could happen with the next game."
"Now, right at the very end of the game there you all had an unbelievable opportunity to equalize, you must be so proud."
"Yes, very proud. We really needed to get a point out of this game though - three points would have been great but we knew that we needed to get a point to increase our chances to try and advance."
Travis 'Burger' Lennan
"What happened was the guys were challenging with the ball and when the ball came it was because it was already close to my face and that is why I pushed it towards the goal. If I was running coming to meet the ball then I would have caught it good but it just came in front of my face - I thought the guys would have bucked it and they missed it and that's how I got it, so they chipped it and I took it cross back but I didn't push it enough - the breeze was blowing hard. I didn't get it in full power like how I would buck usually."
"What's your feeling about Dion McCauley going doing just before half time? It appeard from our vantage point and maybe we are a little bias or a lot bias but we thought that he was muscled down - what do you feel?"
"I think it was a penalty and I think we need some breaks like that. It's not easy for us and against the US I thought they called a penalty with a handball that didn't exist but we can't worry about that. We have to create chances and we have to take advantage of them and we're not going to blame the referee but we definitely need breaks."
Dion McCauley - Striker, Belize
"If it was against us I think that they would have definitely called a penalty against us because the reaction of the fans and the people in the stadium told the whole story that it should have been a penalty."
Michael Salazar - Striker, Belize
"Right now it's just unlucky - some calls that should have been for us they got away with for example the penalty."
"From I was growing up I've been playing with the National Team, from I was 16, and we're always the underdog. They always give the other team the advantage over us and we are used to it because at the end of the day it's football we're playing. Just like how we can help them out with their match fixing - I think they should be more fair than that because if it was a penalty then give us the penalty. If we are to qualify and go further then let us go further and stop the politics thing in football."
Woodrow West - Goalkeeper, Belize
"I feel a little bit down because I know we could have won the game and we got a penalty that the ref didn't call. Just because they don't respect Belize like that we didn't get that penalty."
"We have to go on to the next match now and think about three points from Cuba."
"We just have to work hard this match against Cuba - I know that we could get a victory."
The Costa Rican Coach spoke favorably about Belize after the game. His team narrowly beat Belize a few months ago in the Copa Centroamerica, and Saturday’s Gold Cup win was off an own goal. He said he respects the Belize side.
Jorge Luis Pinto - Coach, Costa Rica
"It was not an easy game for us, it's not like people were saying that Belize doesn't know how to play. They are a very good team; they gave us a lot of hard time. I think at the beginning we were rushed a little bit to cross the ball on the field. On the second time we did the same and happily we got the goal. We wanted to score more goals but it didn't work out because that team is not that easy. Definitely Belize knows how to defend themselves and they were able to disrupt the rhythm of the game and also the referees allowed that to happen. I cannot believe that in the first half they only had two minutes and the second half - four minutes and we wanted to play but the other team was able to disrupt the rhythm and sometimes it looked like they didn't want to play. They are not a team that they just throw around the ball, they know how to play."
Belizeans “Represented” At Rio Tinto
At the top of the news we told you about the much applauded effort from team Belize in Utah at the Rio Tinto stadium. For that, it was rewarded with major love from its fans. You might have thought that with Utah being so remote and so far removed from the population centers where the Belizean Diaspora gather that only a few fans would show….but they were there plentifully. In fact, a lot of the folks we saw in Portland, also turned up in Salt Lake. Jules Vasquez spoke to them:…
Jules Vasquez reporting
In Salt Lake City, Belize was -as they say 'in the house', with flags, signs and an abundance of team spirit.
"We're here supporting our Belizeans, win,loose or draw - we are all here for them to support them 100% - 'this da fu we Belize!'
"We have to support our team and big them up, we have to follow them."
"From where did you come from this time?"
"You drove back?"
"Yes, I had to go to work."
"So how many hours have you logged?"
"Today - 15 again."
"We came here from LA."
"How long was the drive?"
"About ten hours."
"How does it feel to be here in Utah, Salt Lake City?"
"Well right now I'm just trying to show support because I know we have it this time because the US gave us a 'lick' but we're coming back."
"So why did you all feel it important to come all these hours driving?"
"Oh men, this is the best thing that has happened on the planet today. It's not everyday a Belize team gets qualified for the tournament - to play this kind of caliber game so we were very excited about it."
"How long have you guys been living here?"
"Oh, I've been here almost 40 years..Marie?"
"You all remember anything as significant as this?"
"I honestly think this is one of the biggest things in sports and we're really happy to be a part of this."
"Are you all prepared to go in there and make a sufficient level of noise?"
"We haven't been talking to each other all morning, because we want to preserve our voices and make a lot of noise - then again I want to big up my grand- nephew, he's playing with the team, Gaynair."
"You know Belize is always outnumbered with regards to the fans right?"
"Yes but we will overcome that."
"So you will represent in there?"
"Yes, we have our flag and we have support - they need it."
"It makes me feel proud because we've come along way and just that brought me out here."
"Now, you probably wouldn't have come to Salt Lake City - do you feel like a stranger out here?"
"No, I'm proud to come out here - I have my umbrella and my flags. I'm proud to represent my country out here."
"You know what, it's such an honor to be here because you know Belize hasn't been in these CONCACAF games since back in the 80's so it's awesome that they're up there and we got to support."
"We came here to support our team - win or don't win, we're 100% Belizean. We love them and wish them good luck."
"So why was it so important to be here for the game?"
"We gotta support the country because it's about time we do something."
"You feel proud to fly that flag today?"
"Feel very proud to fly the Belizean flag. In our hearts they are number one. We're good and we're going to win this game.
"We are just happy to be here to support them - win, loose or draw. We know that they're going to do their best and even if they don't win they are still winners to us."
"We're here to support the team - all the way"
"How much hours did you drive?"
"We did a pit stop at Vegas so I don't remember the hours anymore."
"So how will you all represent at today's game?"
"Well we will shout and we will pray for our selection, for our little country but hopefully at least a draw."
"I came from Denver, Colorado to come and see the Belize team play - excitement in the air."
"How do you feel at that moment when they take the pitch and when they come on the field and they announce Belize?"
"Words cannot express the feeling - I'm overjoyed to be here to see my boys, to see my flag."
"Why did you feel it important to come?"
"Very important because we have to come and support our players - they are number one for us."
People drove hours to get here – this group drove over a thousand miles – almost a full day on the road:.
"Where are you from?"
"I'm from Chicago, Illinois and I'm here to support my Belize Jaguars and my nephew McCauley. We're here to support the team we want them to do the best they can."
"I hope you all make noise in there."
"We will scream, we will jump - we are 100% Belizean."
"I've been here like ten years but this is where we're going do it."
"You know we lost the first game with the United States but nevertheless we still keep the hope alive - we have a very good team. We are very supportive and we're still winners eventhough we lost and we're always going to be winners."
"This is history for the country, we love our country no matter where we are in the world."
"Yesterday about 8:00 non stop we drove about 1400 miles."
"It's amazing too because what kind of odds is that they coming to play in Utah - they're not even playing the United States but they're here in Utah, 20 minutes away so we're all excited to be able to come and watch the game."
"My name is Sandra and I come from Cayo, San Ignacio and I live in Utah and I'm so exicted."
"Has this been a validation for you all - well we're here now."
"Yes we are here - everyday we talk about Belize to our American friends and now they know about Belize and they Facebook it. They gave the chance for the world to see Belize - we love you Belize - we're so excited."
"What does it mean to you to have your country playing in your home state."
"It's always a good thing to be here in my home state so it's always a pleasure to support my Belizean people here."
"I actually live here in Salt Lake city but I'm from Belize so yay for Belize."
"We never thought that we'd be able to be this close to our Belizean people and so it feel so good that we could be this close and be this close to home - this feels like home for us right now."
But once in the vast twenty thousand seat stadium, the Belizean crowd did not seems all that mighty - still they were seen and appreciated:
"Top seller so far is Belize - number one seller."
"Are you surprised?"
"No, Belize is a great country and everybody is coming to celebrate the game and we've sold a lot of t-shirts so far for this game."
"In all the games that we've been to so far - the Belizean support has been outstanding so it really carried us through today and the players left their heart and soul our there so we appreciate it."
Tomorrow, we’ll have more from Salt Lake as Jules will show you the win lose or draw after party at the hotel in Salt Lake.
But, tonight the news is the next game against Cuba. As we told you at the top, Belize needs a win and a convincing one to advance. For that, they will have Woodrow West in goal. Coach Mork today confirmed that to keep the momentum going, he will have West in Goal. In other news, HArrison Tasher is reported to have ongoing stomach discomfort and will not play.
Tomorrow’s game will play at 3:30 on channel 7