Photo: Kemar Lawrence (left) and Damion Lowe will need to be at their best tonight to keep out the USA in the Concacaf Gold Cup quarterfinal at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington
The stage is set for Jamaica to become the first Caribbean team to make four consecutive Concacaf Gold Cup semifinals appearance as they prepare to take on the United States at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington in a quarter finals match up today. If this is to be a reality the Reggae Boyz will have to do what they failed to do in 2011 when they were beaten 2-0 in the quarterfinals by USA after winning group B.
As night follows day, it would not be a Concacaf Gold Cup, without a clash between these two powerhouses. The two nations have tussled in four of the last five tournaments, all in the knockout stage (Jamaica lost 0-2 in 2011, Jamaica won 2-1 in 2015, Jamaica lost 1-2 in 2017 and 1-3 2019).
The Jamaicans have become a force to be reckoned with in Concacaf over the past quarter century. Despite not winning the group they are expected to at least make it to the semifinals, anything less would be considered a failed mission.
This is the 29th meeting between the teams with USA leads the series, 17-3-8, outscoring the Reggae Boyz, 48-19. They first met during a home-and-away series for the 1990 World Cup. After playing to a scoreless draw in Kingston on July 24, 1988, the Americans rolled to a 5-1 victory at St. Louis Soccer Park, in St. Louis on Aug. 13.The USA holds a 5 wins 1 loss 0 tie advantage in the Gold Cup.
Jamaica managed convincing victories in their first two group games in the Gold Cup but slumped to a narrow 1-0 defeat against Costa Rica last week. The Caribbean outfit has impressive players in their ranks and will need to be at their best in this fixture.
The USA on the other hand are one of two teams to finish the group stage with a perfect 3-0 record (Costa Rica being the other), though their struggles in Sunday’s 1-0 against Canada should give Jamaica confidence that it is possible to defeat them, especially with starting defender Walker Zimmerman ruled out for the rest of the tournament due to a hamstring injury.
Bobby Reid has recovered from the coronavirus and should now be available for selection against the USA. Jamaica made a few changes to their team against Costa Rica and will have to field their best players for this important encounter.
Jamaica has a team mixed with Players who plies their trade in Europe, Far East and MLS and they can be lethal on their day and have proved their mettle in two of their three Gold Cup games so far. However, USA are the better team on paper and being the recent Concacaf Nations League champions they hold the upper hand in this fixture.
There are a lot of ways that Theodore Whitmore can go with his lineup, but this seems to be what is most likely to occur out of a 4-3-3. Andre Blake is Jamaica’s number one goalkeeper and will be back between the sticks after sitting out Costa Rica’s game.
The back line has 4 players this time, with Kemar Lawrence at left back and Alvas Powell at right back and Liam Moore and Damion Lowe forming the centre back pairing. In the middle, Whitmore goes with the players he trusts to help neutralize the USA attack and send the ball moving foward.
Michael Hector operates as the 6, with Blair Turgott playing as the 8. Daniel Johnson is in the hole and hopes that he can spark the attack. The front three are Leon Bailey right and Bobby Reid left out on the wings, with Corey Burke playing through the middle.
If the Reggae Boyz turn up this could be an epic battle. The winner of this game will play the winner of Qatar and El Salvador game in the semifinals on Thursday.