Former Grenada coach Shalrie Joseph perhaps says it best when he offers that the Concacaf Nations League (CNL) has “revolutionized football in the Caribbean”.

Few, if anyone, would disagree with him.

The success story of Grenada in the inaugural 2019-2020 season of the Confederation-wide competition is mirrored by other islands, which have found a new lease on life with the arrival of CNL.

“I think us in Grenada, one of the many islands in the Caribbean, absolutely benefitted from the new format, which is the CNL, which has revolutionized football in the region.

“Now countries and FAs are going into competitions with a stronger belief that their countries can now qualify for tournaments, like the Gold Cup and the World Cup because of the way the CNL is structured,” Joseph told Concacaf.com.

Joseph said that the CNL’s impact on smaller members of the 41-member Concacaf is felt as much as it seen.

“I think the dreams of fans and players are being realized in this tournament, and if the CNL did not have this format, a small country like Grenada would not be able to play these different teams and would not be able to get this far.

“I think it is important that Concacaf continues to do things like that, especially for a small island like Grenada, where we got to play different countries and visit different places, got to meet new people and have new experiences… We wouldn’t be able to do that if the competition was formatted differently. 

“I also think it’s ideal that these games are scheduled during the international window, which allows the overseas-based players to come back and play for their country,” Joseph expressed.

The former New England Revolution standout was able to help navigate his country of birth to the top of Group A of League B unbeaten. 

As a result of the Spice Boys’ eye-opening performance --- winning four games and drawing two --- they earned promotion to League A and a spot in Concacaf’s marquee national team championship, the Gold Cup.

“We won our group and were undefeated in the competition, so I absolutely loved the outcome of my team in the competition. I thought we were very outstanding in every aspect of the games. I believe the team was extremely hard-working and did everything right from the perspective of following what the coaching staff expected of them,” Joseph noted.

In its Group A run, Grenada’s results in home and away play read: Saint Kitts and Nevis (2-1, 0-0), Belize (2-1, 3-2) and French Guiana (0-0, 1-0). 

For Joseph, the CNL campaign gave rise in confidence and self-belief among the more youthful players in the squad.

“We had some individual players who were standouts who gave their all defensively and offensively. We also got to play some young players and gave them their first caps nationally and gave them their debuts in the CNL, which will be fond and everlasting memories for some of these kids with some of them just turning 19 and 20 years old. 

“So overall, I thought it was a great experience for me and the staff, but more importantly for the players. The experience of coaching in the CNL was great, enjoyable, fun, outstanding and every adjective you can find to describe the experience,” said the former Seattle Sounders midfielder.

Joseph, 41, said it is not easy to zoom in on one factor that led to the team’s success, opting to pin it down to a collection of things.

“It’s hard to pinpoint one thing being the key to Grenada’s success in the CNL. I think there were a lot of contributing factors, but one of them is the brilliant play we brought to the field every time we stepped out.

“We also had a bit of luck in a game here and there, plus we had some late winners in game which showed the character of the players on the team. I think, most importantly, we believed in each other and we believed we were going to win games, irrespective of what it took,” he asserted.

When it came to team tactics and general approach to matches, Joseph relied on a match-by-match strategy.

“Our strategies and tactics were different depending on the teams we played, some teams we pressed and other we allowed to build, but it was always all about us and how we wanted to play. 

“In some games we would play a more open style in terms of our front three, and some games we would play narrow, but it was always us trying to implement our style on the opponent,” he explained.

Joseph reasoned that the balance of overseas-based professional and young starry-eyed talent lent itself to the depth and range of the team.

“The team was a mix of local and overseas players, and a country like ours we need to have overseas players to bring that professionalism. They also inspire the younger players, give them belief and let them know that they are important to the success of Grenada’s football and where it’s going,” Joseph concluded.

Puerto Rico closed League C Group C play with a 3-0 victory over Anguilla on Tuesday at the Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico opened the scoring in the 56th minute. Rodolfo Sulia tried a long-range shot that was deflected by Anguilla goalkeeper Ryan Liddie. However, Puerto Rico captain Sidney Rivera sprinted forward and knocked in the rebound to give his side the lead.

Rivera doubled his total in the 67th minute, converting from the penalty spot by shooting a low shot to the goalkeeper’s left after Anguilla was whistled for a handball in the box.

Things went from bad to worse for Anguilla minutes later, with defender Kion Lee seeing his second yellow in the 70th minute and taking Anguilla down to 10 men. They also had to replace Liddie, with the captain making a diving save on a set piece but making contact with the post and suffering an injury that required Kareem Burris come in and replace him.

Devin Vega chipped the ball over Burris in the 82nd minute to extend the lead to three, getting on the end of a ball over the top from substitute Jan Mateo.

Guatemala topped the group with a perfect record, while Puerto Rico managed to get six points. Anguilla will go into the next edition of the CNL still looking for its first-ever points.

El Salvador finished Group B of League B of the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League with authority by topping the Dominican Republic 2-0 on Tuesday night at the Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador.

The 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup and League A-bound Cuscatlecos finished the group with a 5W-0D-1L record, while Dominican Republic were third with a 2W-1D-3L record.

Carlos Portillo picked up where he left off from last Saturday’s win over Montserrat, as he gave La Selecta a 1-0 lead in just the 15’ with a fantastic solo effort.

Portillo received a pass down the left flank and after his initial cross deflected high up in the air, he caught the ball right as it was landing and launched a right-footed volley that rippled the net.

The Central Americans were brimming with confidence and Oscar Ceren looked set to double the lead in the 31’, but his shot from point-blank range was well-saved by Dominican Republic GK Miguel Lloyd.

The Dominican Republic looked to climb back into it, but El Salvador would seal the three points in the 87’ with a goal from Pablo Punyed, whose right-footed finish off a cross from the left completed the 2-0 scoreline.

Montserrat have qualified for the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup playoffs after posting a 1-0 win over Saint Lucia in Group B of League B of the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League on Tuesday night at the Darren Sammy Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia.

The result vaulted Montserrat into second place in the group over the Dominican Republic.

Montserrat started strong as they pressured the Saint Lucia defence in hopes of a first-half goal.

Their efforts would be handsomely rewarded in the 35’ when Joseph Taylor curled in a perfect cross from the right-wing and a surging Nathan Pond smacked the header into goal for a 1-0 Montserrat lead.

Saint Lucia had a chance themselves in the first half through Antonio Joseph but was unable to finish. They then had a second great look at goal in the second half in the 69’ through Jevick McFarlane, but the striker could not land his shot on target.

Montserrat GK Corrin Brooks, who was excellent against El Salvador on Saturday, then became a hero for the visitors with a massive stop on a Kieran Monlouis shot in the 88’ to secure the clean sheet win for Montserrat.

In their final match of the first edition of the Concacaf Nations League, Saint Martin travelled to the US Virgin Islands and picked up a 2-1 victory.

The best chance of the first half for the home side came in the 27th minute when Jimson St-Louis made a fantastic move on the right side of the box and sent a rocket into the far post that nearly put the Dashing Eagle in front.

In the 39th minute, Saint Martin grabbed the first goal of the match when Andy Felsina sent in a beautiful ball onto the head of a diving Yannick Chevalier.

Rakeem Joseph was shown red in the 47th minute, and Yannick Bellechasse immediately capitalized on the man advantage by scoring a long-range curler to put Saint Martin ahead 2-0 in the 49th minute.

Showing great spirit, Ramesses McGuinness breathed life back into the home team with a perfectly placed shot inside the post during the 69th minute. Despite the home side’s best efforts, an equalizer never came.

The result was Saint Martin’s third win in their past four games, and they finish the group stage in third place with nine points. The US Virgin Islands finish fourth in the group with three points.

Barbados earned their most significant win in recent history when they edged out the Cayman Islands 3-0 on the Wildey Astroturf on Tuesday night.

It had all come down to the final match in League C Group A, in which Barbados needed a victory on home turf to achieve the coveted promotion to League B.

The Turtles took the game to the hosts in the early goings, employing a high press and keeping most of the action near the Bajan goal in the opening 20 minutes.

But after surviving the initial assault, Barbados grew into the game and eventually struck first in the 32nd minute when Hallam Hope poked a header into the far corner.

The Tridents got a boost of momentum from the goal and really took control of the game from that point on, though the Cayman Islands continued to threaten on numerous set pieces as the night wore on.

Armando Lashley scored the dagger in the 86th minute, a clean finish just under the crossbar. Hope added a third in the 90th.

Barbados finish in first ahead of the Cayman Islands on goal differential, with both teams ending the group stage with 12 points.

The United States confirmed its place in the summer 2020 Concacaf Nations League Final Four with a 4-0 victory over Cuba at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in George Town, Cayman Islands putting the U.S. atop Group A of League A.

The management team of the Reggae Boyz have expressed disappointment at the performance against Guyana at the Montego Bay Sports Complex on Monday night.

French Guiana picked up a 3-1 win over Saint Kitts and Nevis on Sunday in Group A of League B in the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League at the Stade Municipal Dr. Edmard Lama in Cayenne, French Guiana.

Tyquan Terrell opened the scoring with his first international goal to put the visitors ahead in the 11th minute.

Jessy Marigard leveled things with his first goal of the tournament for French Guiana in the 19th minute, snapping a three-match goal drought in CNL for the home side.

Marigard would extend the lead for the hosts with his second goal in the 28th minute and become the nation’s leading scorer in CNL play.

Joel Sarrucco made it a 3-1 lead for French Guiana with a header in the 76th minute.

Saint Kitts and Nevis goalkeeper Julani Archibald stood out for his team with five saves on the night.

With the win, French Guiana momentarily takes second place in the group. They will advance to the qualification phase for the 2021 Gold Cup if Belize fails to get a win against Grenada.

The loss assures Saint Kitts and Nevis the last place in the group and relegation to League C.

Grenada took a 3-2 win over Belize on Sunday in the final match of Group A of League B in the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League at the Kirani James Athletic Stadium in St. George’s, Grenada.

The hosts took the lead in the scoreboard first thanks to a Jamal Charles header in the 14th minute.

Ian Gaynair responded with a header of his own to level the score for Belize in the 32nd minute.

The visitors would take the lead with a goal by Michael Salazar in the 55th minute.

That lead would only last four minutes as Charles completed a brace to draw the score in the 59th minute.

Charles extended Grenada’s lead to 3-2 in the 68th minute of the match. The hat-trick increased the Grenadian’s total to six goals in CNL play.

With the win, Grenada finish the group stage with an undefeated 4-2-0 mark. Grenada also gains promotion to League A as the head of the group.

Belize finish third in the group with the loss and French Guiana’s win earlier in the day. French Guiana finishes second and advances to the first round of 2021 Gold Cup qualifying as a result.

Honduras had already clinched a spot in the Nations League finals next summer heading into the final match of group play, but they didn’t let up in the closer against Trinidad and Tobago, putting up an impressive 4-0 win.

Jonathan Rubio got Los Catrachos off to a flying start, sending a powerful strike from 20 yards out past a diving Marvin Phillip in the 5th minute.

Honduras continued to dominate the early proceedings, culminating in a 20th minute goal from Brayan Moya to double the lead.

Moments before the halftime whistle, Rubio was brought down for a penalty, and Alberth Elis converted in the 45+2 minute.

The second half was more of the same story; Elis netted his second of the day in the 53rd minute to complete the scoreline.

Trinidad did have some shots on goal, but none got past Luis Lopez who ended the day with four saves.

The victory means Honduras finish the group stage with 10 points, and are likely to enter the knockout round as the #2 seed. On the other end, the defeat means Trinidad and Tobago have been relegated to League B and will enter the Gold Cup qualifiers in the second round.

El Salvador have qualified for the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup thanks to a dramatic 1-0 victory over Montserrat in Group B of League B of the Concacaf Nations League on Saturday night at the Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador.

Carlos Portillo scored a header in the first minute of stoppage time to clinch a first-place finish in the group for the Cuscatlecos, who have also earned promotion to League A.

El Salvador had the bulk of the scoring chances throughout, but found it nearly impossible to beat Montserrat GK Corrin Brooks.

Rodolfo Zelaya almost broke the deadlock early with a shot that glanced off the crossbar in the 3’, before Brooks denied chances from Ibsen Castro, Zelaya and a point-blank effort from Marvin Monterroza.

Montserrat started gaining a foothold and on the hour mark Spencer Weir-Daley had the best chance for the Emerald Boys, but his volley missed over the crossbar.

Monterroza had a second crack but could only shake his head in disbelief after another fine stop from Brooks, but there was nothing the Montserrat stopper could to prevent Portillo heading in Castro’s cross in stoppage time to give El Salvador the 1-0 winning scoreline.

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz cruised to a 2-0 win over Antigua and Barbuda in the CONCACAF Nations League at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, in St John’s, Antigua and Barbuda on Friday.

In the lively Group C fixture, it was the visiting Jamaicans who looked the more menacing team early on but were plagued by inaccurate passes and poor finishing in the final third.  Despite being good value for a lead, when they did take one in the 34th minute it was somewhat fortuitously.  Maalique Foster emerged from a thicket of players to knock the ball into an unguarded net after Antigua goalkeeper Molvin James had spilled an Alvas Powell shot from a tough angle.

The Jamaicans continued to enjoy dominance in possession, but the hosts also put positive spell together, despite lacking a cutting edge in the final third. 

The Reggae Boyz doubled their lead in the 58th minute after Ricardo Morris slammed the ball high into the roof of the net after being played through from a well-weighted Shamar Nicholson pass.  The Benna Boys threatened to at least get a consolation goal late on but D’Andre Bishop saw his 82nd minute shot charged down by the Jamaica backline.

The win saw Jamaica extended their lead to a perfect 15 points with 5 matches played in the group and secured their spot to the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup.

 

 

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz have reportedly settled into a new hotel in Antigua following the embarrassing scenario on Monday when the team was met by deplorable conditions at the Starfish Halcyon Cove Resort.

Page 1 of 2
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.