Monday 18 November, 2019

Reggae Boyz and Mexico battle tonight for spot in Gold Cup final

Jamaica’s Shaun Francis (#7) goes to celebrate after scoring against Canada during their CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal on July 20, 2017, in Glendale, Arizona, USA. (PHOTO: CONCACAF.com).

Jamaica’s Shaun Francis (#7) goes to celebrate after scoring against Canada during their CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal on July 20, 2017, in Glendale, Arizona, USA. (PHOTO: CONCACAF.com).

Jamaica's Reggae Boyz, with the odds against them, will try to find a way to get to the final of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup in the USA when they face defending champions Mexico in the second semi-final on Sunday.

The match will take place at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California at 6:00 pm (8:00 pm Jamaica time).

The game is a rematch of the 2015 decider, which Mexico won 3-1 and will be the second time the teams are meeting in this year's tournament. Both teams battled to a 0-0 draw over a week ago in the preliminary round.

Jamaica finished second behind Mexico in the preliminary round to earn a quarter-final date with Canada, which they won 2-1 to get into the semi-finals.

The Mexicans defeated Honduras 1-0 in their quarter-final fixture to set up the repeat showdown with Jamaica.

With a roster missing all of the England-based standouts from two years ago when they made it to the final, expectations were tempered.  Yet, the Reggae Boyz are back in the semi-finals.

"It was big for us," said goalkeeper Andre Blake, who made several big saves down the stretch to thwart the Candians.  "A lot of people don't believe in us, but that's OK as long as we believe in each other."

The Jamaicans had many heroes in the quarter-final fixture against Canada.  Romario Williams and Shaun Francis netted once each, while the relentless Darren Mattocks set up both goals.

"We know what we're capable of as a group," Williams remarked.  "We have all of the confidence of each and every guy in the locker room."

In going unbeaten in four Gold Cup games (2W-2D-0L) and conceding only two goals, this Jamaican side is noticeably focused, combining a solid defense and a pacey counterattack.

“That's our mentality. make it hard for everyone to score against us,” commented defender Kemar Lawrence, who played in the 2015 final.  “We were not going to give away anything.”

So, how far can Jamaica go?

"The sky's the limit," Blake finished.  "We're going to push ourselves as much as possible."

 

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: