Jamaica To Tackle USA Before Gold Cup Kick-Off
Friendly offers Reggae Boyz chance to fine-tune their rhythm
Jamaica have been given an opportunity to iron out their flaws ahead of this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup thanks to a hastily arranged friendly against the mighty USA in June.
The two teams tackled each other in the fiercely contested 2017 Gold Cup final, with Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz edged out 2-1. Yet the Boyz were fearless in the previous tournament and shocked the US by delivering the knockout blow at the 2015 semi-final stage.
Head coach Theodore Whitmore, who is on the prowl to strengthen his squad with England-based players following recent insipid displays, is aiming to make it a hat-trick of finals in the biennial Gold Cup competition.
He said: “It’s an excellent game to assess the quality of the squad assembled.
“The timing is good, just 12 days before our first game in the tournament, and the opponent is perfect.
“So it’s now down to fine-tuning all aspects of the preparation, and that is what we are currently doing.”
The pre-tournament friendly will be the first meeting between the nations since the USA claimed the 2017 Gold Cup crown at the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
The sides are set to face off at the Audi Field in Washington (6pm ko, Jamaican time), for what will only be their third meeting jn the US capital. The Boyz previously pulled off a big upset with a 1-1 stalemate in a FIFA World Cup qualifier back in 1997, but fell 2-0 victims in their 2011 Gold Cup quarter-final tussle.
Yet over the years the Boyz have proved to be a bogey side for the US, and are one of only two teams – along with Brazil – to defeat the USA in a Gold Cup semi-final.
This summer’s Gold Cup shall primarily be hosted in the US and for the first time, Costa Rica and Jamaica will be hosting double-headers in the first round of matches in groups B and C, respectively.
The Boyz have been drawn into Group C with minnows Curaçao, El Salvador and Honduras.
Jamaica play host to Honduras at Kingston’s National Stadium on 17 June, tackle El Salvador in Houston four days later, then complete their group matches when they face Dutch Caribbean outfit Curaçao in Los Angeles on 25 June.
The Boyz are currently in an on-going renovation stage, but when they reached the previous two Gold Cup finals were unlikely finalists before the prestigious tournament kicked off.
Maybe some reinforcements will be unearthed by Whitmore to bolster the ailing squad and as a result the Boyz could make it third time lucky should they unexpectedly reach another final.
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