Jamaica and El Salvador are tied on four points at the top of CONCACAF Gold Cup Group C after the two played to a 0-0 draw in Houston, Texas on Friday night. 

Group C leaders Jamaica have made two changes to the team that defeated Honduras on June 17 for their match against El Salvador this evening at the BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Jamaica Reggae Boyz head coach Theodore Whitmore insists the team will have to be wary of complacency heading into its second CONCACAF Gold Cup, against Curacao, on Friday.

The Jamaicans got their campaign off to a solid start on Monday, as a brace from Dever Orgill anchored a 3-2 win over Honduras at Jamaica’s National Stadium. 

Despite securing the positive result, however, Whitmore admitted to having concerns with the performance, particularly with the nature of the goals conceded.   

“At times it’s not always about the pretty football.  It is about results. Overall I think complacency got the better of us, especially when we were leading by two goals to nil, it definitely got the better of us and that is unacceptable,” Whitmore said.

“Going forward there are a few things to fix, in terms of putting pressure on the ball and cutting off the passing lanes much quicker,” Whitmore added.

The Jamaicans might well have reason to be cautious, despite the fact that they are unbeaten in their last two games against El Salvador, the latest encounter coming in a 2-0 win in the CONCACAF Nation’s League, the team has lost four of the last six games.

The teams will face off at the BBVA Compass Stadium, in Houston.

Jamaica history-making goal scorer Havana Solaun does not believe a 4-1 spanking at the hands of Australia was a fair reflection of the team’s final performance at the FIFA Women’s World Cup on Tuesday.

The lopsided result, the third for the Reggae Girlz meant the team conceded 12 goals in three matches, a total just behind Thailand’s 18.  Despite the result, the performance was in truth, the team’s best to date.

Just as they had for most of the tournament, the Jamaican’s struggled at the defensive end and the Australian’s were let off the hook after the team conceded two soft goals.  After 180 plus minutes, however, it was a proud moment for Solaun who became the first Jamaican woman and second Jamaican to score at a World Cup tournament.  Robbie Earle netted for Jamaica’s men at that team’s debut at the 1998 World Cup.

“It was a bitter sweet moment.  It’s not the result we wanted but I think as a team we are growing every game and I think that’s the goal,” Solaun said.

“Every game on the world stage is a good game.  Every game is a battle.  I don’t necessarily think the score line reflected the game but every day you have to come out,” she added.

 

Jamaica national women’s team coach Hue Menzies has called on the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) to better help prepare the team if they are to be competitive at the FIFA World Cup.

The team’s maiden appearance at the global football showpiece ended on Tuesday.  It was a chastening experience.  The national team ended the campaign with a 4-1 loss to Australia, which meant that they had conceded a total of 11 goals in four games.  The results had also included a 3-0 loss to Brazil and a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Italy. 

The team’s final appearance against the Australians was, however, by far its most promising as slick passes around the pitch, particularly in the second half, created several scoring opportunities. It was one of those chances that saw Havana Solaun make history as the first women to score for the country at the World Cup.  Despite several lopsided results, after finding themselves in a tough group, Menzies insisted he was proud of the team’s performance, especially in the curtain closer.

“We never gave up.  We gave it the tallawah effort and that we knew that could do,” Menzies said following the match. 

“Our game plan worked but we just had to execute better.  We gave up some sloppy goals in the second half,” he added.

In order to make an impact at a tournament of the scale of the World Cup, however, Menzies believes the team’s preparation needed to be a lot better.

“Our preparation is important.  How do we prepare?  The Federation has to understand that this is not something that we just go out and we play Caribbean teams.  We have to play teams in Europe in order to get to this stage.”

The Jamaicans were the first English-speaking Caribbean team to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

 

Jamaica two-goal hero Dever Orgill has expressed delight with getting the national team off to a flying start at the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old forward found the back of the net early and then late in the first half to give the home team a comfortable 2-0 lead by half-time.  A furious second-half rally saw the Hondurans grab early and late goals of their own, before succumbing to a 2-0 defeat. 

“It was very important for me to score these two goals today because I have been playing for the national team since I was under-15 and I hadn’t scored a goal for the senior team.  It was nice to score in front of these fans,” Orgill said in an interview with SportsMax.tv.

The goals marked the first time the forward was finding the back of the net for the senior team. 

As one of the country’s brightest youth prospects, Orgill made his debut for the national team, under Whitmore, nine years ago.  The forward, however, fell off the radar for several years and was limited to sporadic appearances until the current spell.  Based on the evidence so far, however, Orgill has certainly fought for and deserves a spot in the current squad.

 

“I think being out of the national team for a little while helped me to get back in.  I felt like I deserved to be in the national team but there is a time and place for everything," Orgill said

"Those times that I wasn’t a part of it I think it wasn’t my time but I continued to play well in my club teams and here I am today with the chance to come here and show that I deserve to be here with the group of guys and the coach Theodore Whitmore who gave me my first call up for the men’s senior team."

 

 

Newly-minted senior Reggae Boy Leon Bailey is confident of putting in more dominant performances for the national team, after a lukewarm debut against Honduras in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Monday.

The 21-year-old Bayer Leverkusen winger played a crucial role in Jamaica’s first goal, which ended in a 3-2 win over Honduras but aside from that struggled to impact the game in a significant fashion. 

It was, however, the player’s deft touch that set up a through ball to Peter-Lee Vassell, whose shot was then parried by the goalkeeper before being headed into the back of the net by Dever Orgill. 

In the second half, Bailey seemed just short of connecting with substitute Shamar Nicholson on a few through ball attempts.  The performance was perhaps to be expected, with the player admitting he is yet to gain full fitness after recently recovering from an injury.

“It was very difficult for me and in my opinion the pitch was terrible.  It was very dry and I’m not used to pitches like that.  On the plus side, I think my game was ok but I know I can do much better than that," Bailey told members of the media following the match.

 “It was my first game in two months after recovering from an injury, so I wasn’t expecting a whole lot.  I was glad to be here for the supporters.  I’m feeling good now and I just have to look forward to the next game,” he added.

Orgil added another goal to his 15th-minute opener in the 41st, but the team found itself pegged back when Antony Lozano netted a close-range response in the 54th minute.  Damion Lowe leapt high to restore the team’s two-goal lead with a powerful header two minutes later, but a battling Honduras made for a nervy finish after Rubilio Castillo scored in time added on. Despite being pleased with the team’s overall performance, Bailey had issues with their lapses in concentration.

“I think it was a game of two halves and both teams were pressing.  In the first half, we had a lot of control of the game but less so in the second half.  We have to keep our concentration until the whistle is blown.  We were a bit sloppy in conceding the goals but in the end, we got the three points.”

 

The nation of Jamaica helps kick off the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup with a stellar match that features its national team square up against Honduras in Group C action at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica.

The two are no strangers, as Monday’s encounter marks the 24thoverall meeting between the nations. This will be the fifth Gold Cup meeting, with each side holding two wins.

After finishing second in 2015 and 2017, Jamaica will hope third time’s the charm and could not ask for a better start than to play in front of its home fans.

Goalkeeper Andre Blake and defender Kemar Lawrence return to guide the sixth-youngest squad of the tournament.

One of Jamaica’s promising additions comes in the form of 21-year-old Leon Bailey, who has scored 14 goals with Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen.

Honduras will have plenty to say about its own title hopes as it looks to reclaim the consistency that took it to semifinal appearances at the 2005, 2009, 2011 and 2013 editions.

After failing to generate a team goal at the previous edition, Honduras will lean on the attacking trio of Alberth Elis, Romell Quioto and Anthony Lozano to make its mark at this year’s event.

Jamaica Olympic champion Omar McLeod expressed disappointment with a stumbling fifth-place finish at IAAF Diamond League, in Rabat on Sunday.

After getting off to a trademark quick start, it was McLeod who led the race most of the way.  He was, however, always under pressure from Sergey Shubenkov who close quickly as the Jamaican lost his form over the final two barriers.

McLeod tripped on the final barrier and in the process also clearing out the feet of Shubenkov.  The Russian was as a result, however, catapulted clear over the line.  Having lost all momentum, the Jamaican rolled over the line in fifth spot.  Shubenkov stopped the clocked at 13.12, with Great Britain’s Andrew Pozzi next over the line in 13.30.  Brazil’s Gabriel Constantino was third in 13.41.  McLeod was recorded with a time of 13.48.

 “I am not really satisfied with finishing fifth as I was aiming to win. The race was very quick and tough. I was running very fast but unfortunately I fell at the finish line,” a dissatisfied McLeod explained.

 

Jamaica women’s football coach Hue Menzies believes the team was badly hurt by its inexperience on the back of a 5-0 drubbing from Italy, at the FIFA Women’s World Cup on Saturday.

A hat-trick from Cristiana Girelli (12th, 25th and 46th) and a brace from Aurora Galli left the Jamaican team searching for answers once again, particularly defensively, after another heavy defeat.

Girelli got the Italians going from the penalty spot in the 12th minute after defender Allyson Swaby brought down Barbara Bonansea.  The shot was, however, only converted on a second attempt as Jamaica goalkeeper Sydney Schneider was penalised after a VAR review for moving off the line.  Girelli doubled the lead after latching on to the corner and beat Schneider to a header early in the second half.

  “Our inexperience showed.  We went out there and gave up a cheap goal.  I think it started from the first half with the penalty, it just bringing down the emotions of the players but hopefully, we can learn from this.  Hopefully, we can get more resources and play these types of games more often,” Menzies said.

“Italy played with a lot of class a lot of commitment and a lot of discipline we need to take a page out of their book.  They are a well-coached team so a lot of respect goes out to them,” he added.

 

Jamaica men’s football national coach Theodore Whitmore has admitted to being awed by the talent of the Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey but more so the player’s positive attitude and work ethic.

The 21-year-old underwent a tumultuous couple of years relating to his involvement with the national, as a dispute with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) kept him off the field.  All that seems to be firmly behind the parties involved, however, as by all accounts, the player has fit into the Reggae Boyz squad with little fuss.

“We've been very impressed with Leon Bailey from day one as his attitude around the group has been simply fantastic. He's definitely a team player and the group has embraced him very well. This was important given all the noise over the past few years around his selection to the national team,” the team’s head coach Theodore Whitmore told the Jamaica Observer.

Bailey was expected to make his debut for the national team in a friendly against the United States but did not play due to an injury.  According to Whitmore, however, the player is not ready to go.

“On the pitch, Leon has been sizzling. He is now fit and raring to go. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, he should line- up at the start of the game on Monday. We still have a few more sessions to go, but his production at all the sessions has been spot on,” Whitmore said.

“He is ready to make his international debut for Jamaica and will play with not only his talent but also his heart. This is what I sense in him since his arrival to the group… he's a really talented young man and very coachable.”

 

Jamaica’s sprint hurdles queen Brigitte Foster-Hylton has come out in praise of Janeek Brown, who broke her 16-year-old national record on Saturday.

Decorated Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce sounded a warning to her rivals after registering an impressive season's best and meet record to claim the women’s 100m title at the Racers Grand Prix meet, in Kingston, on Saturday.

In trademark style, the pocket rocket, as she is commonly known, blasted away from the field before stopping the clock at 10.88.  Fraser-Pryce led wire-to-wire and finished a third of a second ahead of second place Jonielle Smith and Michelle-Lee Ayhe who both clocked 11.20.

The win was the third in a row at the meet for the diminutive Jamaican but more importantly, she believed the result puts her in good shape ahead of the country’s national trials.

“This is my third victory here and honestly I’m happy with the time of 10.88 as I’ve always wanted to lower the meet record to under 11 seconds,” said Fraser-Pryce. “I couldn’t have asked for more and I’m really looking forward to the national trials in two weeks.”

In the men’s equivalent, Great Britain’s Zharnel Hughes just about covered the field to win the men’s 100m in a season’s best of 9.97 (0.9m/s) ahead of Yohan Blake 10.01 and Kendal Williams 10.13.

Bahamian quarter miler Shaunae Miller-Uibo was admittedly displeased with her performance at the Racers Grand Prix meet, despite destroying a quality field to claim the women’s 400m title in Kingston, on Saturday.

In just her second race in the event this season, Miller-Uibo clocked a respectable 49.54 seconds, not as fast as her opening run of 49.05 set in Florida, back in April, but more than good enough for a new meet record.  The time bettered the previous best of 50.52 set by American Allyson Felix in 2017.

 In fact, Miller-Uibo finished more than a second ahead of reigning World Champion Phyllis Francis, with the American crossing the line in 50.85.  Jamaica’s Chris-ann Gordon was third in 51.83. 

The reigning Olympic champion just proved to be a different class than the rest of the field on the day and had the World Champion Francis well covered by the 100m mark.  She proceeded to leave the American and the rest of her opponents fighting for the minor places by the top of the stretch.  The Bahamian, however, seemed to have been expecting a better performance.

“I think today wasn’t really a good run,” she said following the race.

“I’m working on a lot of things trying to perfect my race but I’m happy I finished healthy which is important.”

Jamaica women’s football team coach Hue Menzies is already plotting a quick recovery for the national team following a 3-0 loss to Brazil, on their FIFA Women’s World Cup debut, on Sunday.

The Reggae Girlz put in a creditable performance against their noted South American opponents but were in truth short of any real answers, on the heels of a three-goal blitz from Cristiane Rozeira.  The result put the Jamaicans at the bottom of a tough four-team Group C, hardly the ideal start, but the coach was quick to insist the team has plenty yet to play for.

“We’re still in it.  We just have to look at fixing our back line and let’s get Bunny (Khadijah Shaw) more involved,” Menzies said.

Shaw the team’s top scorer was indeed mostly a fringe figure, with sporadic touches on the ball throughout the fixture, but proved to be a menace when she did manage to get possession. 

The forward’s fierce 30th-minute strike was just tipped over the top by Brazilian goalkeeper Bárbara and she saw a 50th-minute header drift just wide of the target.  Menzies insisted the loss would not be a major setback and pointed to the fact that the team recovered from a tough situation to seal it historic qualification for the World Cup.

“We’ve lost games before, we just have to pick it up and get after it.  We lost to Canada got back and beat Costa Rica. So we just have to pick it up and get back in the business.”

Jamaica will next tackle Italy on June 14 at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims.

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