Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz will have to head back to the drawing board after finding themselves at the bottom of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers final round group, having played three matches. – Ricardo Makyn
Jamaica fell to last in CONCACAF Final Round World Cup Qualifying (WCQ) after losing 2-0 to Costa Rica at the Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica last night.
“I’m a bit disappointed,” Jamaica’s head coach Theodore Whitmore, said. “But we have to remain focused, we have seven more games to go. This is just one of the results we weren’t looking forward to so we have to accept it and move on.”
Michael Umana (22nd minute) and Diego Calvo (81st) scored the goals for the home team, who moved off the bottom of the six-team standing to four points, the same as Honduras, who lost by a similar margin to Panama in Panama City. Panama are at the top of the group with five points.
Honduras, who started the day in the front-running position, remained on four points, while Costa Rica now have four. The United States also have four points after tying goalless at The Azteca Stadium with Mexico, who have three points. All the teams have played three matches and have seven more to go in this round-robin elimination series.
Following a foul by Rudolph Austin, 10 yards outside the box on the right flank, Jamaica conceded the game’s opening goal off a set play, for the most part due to sloppy marking. Alvaro Saborio was left unmarked to collect Ariel Rodriguez’s spot kick, then fed a pass inside for Umana to tap into the net from six yards.
Second half substitute Calvo made his own goal with a brilliant play on the left after central defender Jermaine Taylor cheaply sold himself with a sliding challenge, which gave up the inside position. Calvo took the ball inside, then shimmied past two other defenders, desperately rushing to block a shot that never came. He eventually curled a shot into the far post that goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts could not save. In a fairly even battle, both teams got good chances to score more goals in the game.
Jamaica had the clearest openings in the first half, but after taking a pass off Luton Shelton at the fourth minute, Jermaine Beckford’s angled finish was blocked behind goal. Shelton was also involved in Jamaica’s other goal chance inside the first 45 minutes, but he had his shot charged down by the goalkeeper Keylor Navas after dribbling too much to lose the angle and chance to pass to teammates.
Rudolph Austin was also denied a goal, after smashing a free kick from 35 yards. Navas went full stretch to deflect the ball away from the net.
“We got our chances, especially in the first half, where we could have led or equalised and it would have been a different game,” Whitmore said. “I think it (missed chances) affected us because if we came in 1-1 at half-time it would’ve been a different game,” he added. “Looking at the Costa Rica team you could see a bit of fear and when they got that second goal it killed off the game.”
With its central midfielders staying in the middle of the park, Jamaica played with more cohesion in the second half and had their best effort, a 20-yard shot from effective substitute Jermaine Johnson, stopped by Navas’ diving save. Costa Rica went to scoring on a couple occasions through Joel Campbell, who also fed a pass across goal that was missed by Saborio.
Johnson and Taylor picked up yellow cards in the game and will miss the next match, against Mexico at the National Stadium on June 4.
“We got our chances, especially in the first half, where we could have led or equalised, and it would have been a different game.”