Belize’s national football team won two international friendly matches against Tigrillos of Quintana Roo, Mexico, and Real Platense of Honduras at the Football Federation of Belize Stadium in Belmopan on Friday and Sunday, January 4 – 6, when national team coach Leroy Lewis tested the readiness of his players in preparation for the CONCACAF Copa Centroamericana in Costa Rica next week January 18-22.
Belize won 7-0 over the Mexican fourth division club, Tigrillos, on Friday evening. Harrison “Kafu” Roches scored first, Dion MccCauley scored a second goal and Evan Mariano added a third to lead 3-0 at intermission.
McCauley scored a fourth goal in the second half. Jerome “Jaro” James added a fifth and Russell Casanova came off the bench to add two more goals for the 7-0 win.
Belize won just barely: 1-0, over Honduras’ first division club, Real Platense, on Sunday afternoon.
Belize’s only goal came from Belize’s top scorer from the 2011 qualifying matches for World Cup 2014 Brazil, Dion McCauley, in the 28th minute of play.
Belize’s goalkeeper Woodrow West proved the deciding factor, coming up with a number of brilliant saves as the visitors dominated the play in Belize’s half of the field for most of the game, winning free kicks and corner kicks.
Yester Alcerro’s shots forced West to tip the ball over the crossbar twice.
Marvin Sanchez and John Beaumont also tested West repeatedly. Even when a second yellow card saw Bryan Johnson sent off with a red card, Belize could not exploit the numerical advantage to get a second goal.
Saturday’s heavy downpour had left the field soggy, with patches of water that slowed the progress of the ball. Ground passes did not work, but had the field been dry, it would have been a different tale and Coach Lewis’ selection might not have come away with the win.
Another heavy downpour made the field soggy for Tuesday’s match with the 2012 Premier League Champions, the Belmopan Bandits, but the national team posted comfortable 5-2 win.
Again Harrison Roches scored the first goal to lead 1-0 at intermission.
Dion McCauley replaced Jerome James in the second half and scored two more goals before Kevin Rodriguez scored a goal for the Bandits.
Dion completed his hat trick and scored a fourth goal with a header to lead 5-1 before a late penalty conversion by Floyd Jones gave the Bandits a second goal before the long whistle.
Team Belize travels on Wednesday, January 16, and takes on Costa Rica in their first game on Friday, January 18.