Jamaica Hitman Aiming To Fire On All Cylinders 

Author: Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rüdd

Montego Bay seems perfect stage for star Mattocks to shine 

Darren Mattocks is no doubt delighted that Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz will return to the Montego Bay Sports Complex for their next competitive game on Saturday.

The striker, who plies his trade in the USA’s Major League Soccer with the Washington club DC United, was on the scoresheeet in recent outings for the Boyz at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.

Suriname are Saturday’s visitors in the CONCACAF Nations League and should be in the firing line after the Boyz kicked off the competition by beating the Cayman Islands 4-0 in Kingston and then thumping Bonaire 6-0 in Curacao.

Mattocks bagged a brace against the Caymans, and tends to tear teams apart at Montego Bay. He scored in all three group games for Jamaica at Montego Bay when the Boyz won the 2014 Caribbean Cup, and followed it up with goals with a 2-1 triumph over Venezuela (2-1) and Cuba (3-0) in back-to-back friendlies played at the same venue in March 2015.

Forward Malique Foster, loaned out by Portmore United to Costa Rican club Liga Deportivo Alajuelense, has been recalled to the national squad and could play alongside Mattocks.

Having made just one appearance for the Boyz, scoring a 72nd-minute equaliser against South Korea in January’s friendly at Antalya, Turkey that finished 2-2, Foster will hope to be given some minutes to prove his worth.

And a trio of players from the parish of Montego Bay are included in the 21-man squad, namely Owayne Gordon (San Antonio FC), Fabion McCarthy (UWI) and Peter Lee Vassell (Harbour View). 

Head coach Theodore Whitmore has included 12 overseas-based players, although it was puzzling why Watford’s injured defender Adrian Mariappa was originally named. But Mariappa’s club requested that he is omitted in order to recover.

Jermaine Taylor, the veteran central defender who is without a club having last represented MLS outfit Minnesota United last year, is recalled.

He previously played for the Boyz at the 2017 Gold Cup finals, when Jamaica finished runners up for the second successive tournament.

The Boyz will be aiming to score as many goals as possible as they currently lie in sixth place in the CONCACAF Nations League qualifiers standings with maximum six points and a healthy goal difference of 10.

Saturday’s visitors kicked off the competition with a scoreless draw against Dominica before finding their scoring boots to demolish the British Virgin Islands 5-0.

Jamaica and Suriname last clashed in a Caribbean Championship two years ago, when the Boyz won a cagey contest 1-0 under coach Winfried Schäfer thanks to Burke’s strike.

But under Whitmore the Boyz are a different proposition and are both free flowing and attack minded, so home fans are expected to be treated to a flurry of goals.

Whitmore admitted: “Suriname will be a tough opponent. They have quality players and are treating their preparation for this match very seriously and have been in a training camp in Florida since last week.

“Unfortunately we’ve not been able to prepare the way I had requested and hoped for, as the JFF (Jamaica Football Federation) is struggling for funds, therefore we will have to do the best we can with the two days we will be together ahead of the game.”

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JAMAICA: Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union), Cory Burke (Philadelphia Union), Damion Lowe (IK Start), Ladale Richie (Mount Pleasant), Ricardo Thomas (Waterhouse FC), Amal Knight (UWI), Fabion McCarthy (UWI), Shaun Francis (Louisville City), Devon Williams (Louisville City), Kemar Lawrence (New York Red Bulls), Ricardo Morris (Portmore United), Javon East (Portmore United), Maalique Foster (Liga Deportiva Alajuelense), Je-Vaughn Watson (Charlotte Independence), Owayne Gordon (San Antonio FC), Peter Vassell (Harbour View FC), Darren Mattocks (DC United), Dane Kelly (DC United), Alex Marshall (Cavalier SC), Jamiel Hardware (Arnett Gardens FC), Jermaine Taylor (Unattached)

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