Mexico shatter Girlz's dream
Gordon Williams, Gleaner Writer
WASHINGTON, DC, US: Jamaica's Reggae Girlz put up a spirited fight, but eventually lost 3-1 to Mexico yesterday, bowing out of the CONCACAF Women's Championship (CWC) and dashing their bid for first time World Cup qualification.
In a match wired for tension and drama at RFK Stadium, with Mexico needing only a draw and Jamaica in must-win mode to advance to the CWC semi-finals, a brilliant strike in the 14th minute by Donna-Kay Henry gave the Girlz the early lead.
But Mexico struck back with a goals from Sandra Stephany Mayor in the 29th minute and a double strike from Veronica Charlyn Carrol, in the 59th and 76th, to finish second in Group B behind Costa Rica.
The Reggae Girlz made two changes from the team which lost 2-1 to Costa Rica last Saturday. Midfielder Omolyn Davis, originally announced to return from injury and bolster Jamaica's starting line-up, began on the bench. Shaneka Gordon and Jodi-Ann McGregor were included at the expense of Nicole Campbell-Green and Shanoska Young.
Getting the right mix
Both teams started out facing the dilemma of how to mix attack with defence, with more pressure on Jamaica to score. Conditions were not made easy after a steady drizzle pelted the field for most of the game.
The slippery surface and difficult cool 60 temperatures did not, however, dampen the players' enthusiasm.
It was Jamaica which drew first blood. A lovely pass by Christina Murray found Henry on the right side of the penalty box. She cut inside and sweetly curled the ball past Mexico's goalkeeper Pamela Tajonar into the top corner of the net.
The goal ignited the match into a frantic pace as Jamaica looked to catch El Tri on the counter attack and Mexico hunted the equaliser. It came after Jamaica's goalkeeper Nicole McClure spilled a cross from Monica Ocampo. Sandra Stephany Mayor stepped in to score.
Jamaica would get another scare just before the entertaining half ended. A low cross eluded a cluster of defenders, but Ocampo's rising shot kissed the crossbar with McClure beaten.
The second half started where the first ended. Rampaging Mexico pressed forward and were soon rewarded. A cross from Teresa Noyola was met with a smashing volley by Corral, which gave McClure no chance and Mexico the lead.
It soon widened. Corral cut inside Sherona Forrester and hammered a left foot shot into the far corner to seal Jamaica's fate.