Jamaica vs. USA: Preview

DSC_8128The Reggae Boyz will tackle “Uncle Sam’s Army” of the United States in another critical World Cup Qualifier at “The Office” this Friday evening. It is game in which holds a greater significance for Jamaica as they only have 3 home games left to capitalize on points, the United States sits 4th in the table with 4 points from 3 games and Jamaica sits at the foot of the table with 2 points from 4 games. Since 1988, Jamaica has faced the Americans 19 times with Jamaica winning once, drawing 7 times and losing 11 times to The Stars and Stripes of America.

Despite the United States having a much better head to head record than Jamaica,  Jamaica can take to heart that just a shade under 9 months ago, they broke their ducks against the Americans and secured a historic and pulsating 2-1 win over the Americans at the National Stadium  on September 7th, 2012. With the situation that Jamaica is now in, only 3 points is the answer to keep our World Cup aspirations alive for Brazil 2014. For Jamaica to get the precious 3 points goals will have to be the 1st priority for Jamaica and Jamaica will have to keep things much tighter at the back.

DSC_8019The Americans will be carrying a number of new faces to their 3 World Cup Qualifiers. One in particular who is yet to face the Jamaicans is 6 foot 5 inch Central Defender Omar Gonzales.  The MLS Rookie of the Year for 2009, MLS Defender of the Year for 2011 and MLS Cup MVP for 2012 is robust, aggressive and provides a stern threat from set pieces. He is also a former teammate of Reggae Boyz Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts. Gonzales is expected to be the man to clean up at the back for the Americans and keep the Jamaicans quiet up front.

Looking upfront for the US, they will be hoping that Jozy Altidore’s purple patch of form continues into World Cup Qualifiers.  The Striker who is of Haitian descent scored 31 goals in 41 games for AZ Alkmaar in the Eridivisie this season and the brawny forward overlapped this form vs Germany in a friendly international as he scored a goal in a 4-3 win over the 3 time World Cup Champions.  Against Germany a few days ago he held the ball well with his powerful physique and proved to be a constant threat.

On the other hand, Jamaica does provide a threat of their own and through Theo Robinson. The 24 year old striker is a fine dribbler of the football and is the type of player that strikes the ball with firm power and accuracy. Off the bench he does bring another dimension to Jamaica’s attacking thrust and he is a player than can make magic in a matter of seconds. Without a doubt he is one to watch.

Another player the Americans will have to be weary of is 26 year old Reading Winger Garath McCleary, McCleary ended his season well with Reading scoring a brace in the last few games and providing key assists. McCleary is also known for his innovative movement where he cuts from the flanks into the middle and fires and puts pressure on the opposition.

With the Americans sitting 4th in the table, they will be looking to get back into that valuable top 3 spot and the Jamaicans will be looking for their 1st win of the Final Round of World Cup Qualifiers. The last time both teams met at The Office, Jamaica frustrated the Americans with their size and pace, also as a result of this, the Americans lost the ball far too cheaply in the middle of the field. If Jamaica is able to replicate this strategy, lightning could strike twice at the Office on Friday night. 3 points has to be on the outline for the Boyz. The Mission Continues !



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