Kevin Molino’s newfound confidence to find the back of the net on a regular basis has continued on the international stage as of late, with the midfielder scoring several crucial goals for Trinidad and Tobago in recent matches.
After a stellar season with the Lions – in which he broke the USL PRO single season goal scoring record – Molino was called up by the Soca Warriors earlier this month to play a key role in his native country’s journey to qualify for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Heading into the qualification process, it was decided that Molino would wear the number 10 shirt for the red and black – a sign of trust from the coaching staff in Molino’s ability to flourish as the team’s playmaker.
Previously worn by the likes of legendary Trinidadian footballer Russell Latapy – who made over 80 appearances in 21 years for T&T – the number 10 shirt carries a heavy burden.
When Molino provided the spark in Trinidad’s opening qualifying contest against the Dominican Republic on October 8 by scoring a hat-trick in the first half, the comparisons quickly began to arise.
“He’s (Latapy) definitely an inspiration to me as a player,” said Molino on the comparisons. “I came into the national senior team under him, and I’ve followed his style of play. I don’t think it’s time to compare me with him, but I feel good about being able to wear the number 10 shirt and perform for my country.”
As the group stage progressed, City’s first MLS signing guided the Soca Warriors through as the number one seed, tallying four goals in three matches.
“Every player wants to be outstanding and to score goals,” added Molino. “I’m happy I was able to contribute to the team in this round, but the bigger focus is the Finals and the Gold Cup next year. I think the team is showing good signs and we’re trying to get it right for the World Cup qualifiers.”
Since then, the midfield maestro has been re-called by Trinidad and Tobago for the CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup Finals, the remaining roadblock to Gold Cup qualification. The Soca Warriors will open group play on November 10 against Curacao, before facing French Guiana on November 12 and Cuba on November 14.
The top four teams from the tournament will receive automatic qualification into the 2015 Gold Cup.