Boyz stocks rise, fall at Carib Cup
Gordon Williams, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Jamaica's success at the 2014 CFU Caribbean Cup didn't come without ups and downs. Below is a look at players and coaches whose stock rose, stayed on par or fell during the tournament.
André Blake: The goalkeeper rarely played his rookie Major League Soccer (MLS) season, but showed little rust. Blake dominated his penalty area, made key saves, including two penalties, and commanded teammates' respect.
Kemar Lawrence and Hughan Gray: Neither fullback started the first game, yet both were consistent bright spots - solid in defence and eager to attack. Lawrence scored and Gray came close. Overseas opportunities beckon for these local-based players.
Alvas Powell and Jermaine Taylor: The central defensive pair was outstanding, after Powell was switched from right back the final three matches. His athleticism and growing maturity impressed. Veteran Taylor guided an inexperienced defence to three shutouts while taking on the best opposing strikers.
Rodolph Austin: The captain's physical presence and inspirational influence in central midfield were crucial for Jamaica. Europe already knows Austin, but he still added value.
Simon Dawkins: Jamaica got its first personal look at the smooth attacker. Most were impressed. Dawkins's ball control and touches under pressure exuded confidence. He added imagination to attack.
Darren Mattocks: Showed up big with three goals in three games. Final ended his scoring streak. By then Mattocks was established among the Caribbean's best strikers.
Jobi McAnuff: Blossomed into the ball dominating playmaker Jamaica needs in midfield. Used skill and drive to ease pressure while creating scoring chances.
Miguel Coley: Impressive juggling between Jamaica College duties and national assistant coach. Success follows Coley. Growing stature and influence has earned him respect among the Boyz.
Winfried Schäefer: Despite non-winning streak, claimed he could win Caribbean Cup given enough time with players. Schaefer proved it. Showed astute moves, including switching Powell, allowing McAnuff more influence, and injecting belief in players. Forged a squad committed to country.
Warren Barrett: If Blake's confidence was in question, it didn't show. Some credit, therefore, goes to the goalkeeping coach.
Je-Vaughn Watson: Like Austin and Taylor, Watson played plenty minutes. Heavy workload lands him on this list, but unlike his central midfield partner he didn't do his talent justice. Tired after exhausting MLS season, but his effort couldn't be faulted.
Dane Richards: His blistering speed posed a threat and work rate was impressive. But Richards was at times victimised by faulty control and passing.
Joel Grant: Confident, skilful player was asked to come off the bench. Needed more playing time to raise his stock.
Romario Campbell: Cameo appearance didn't hurt him.
Jamar Loza: Illness cost him at least one game. Didn't play after, so not much damage to his credentials.
Nyron Nosworthy: Committed central defender struggled for pace during the first game, his only start. Replaced by Powell. With Wes Morgan, possibly Adrian Mariappa and others lurking, Nosworthy's role is suspect.
Demar Phillips: Started the first game, but was then dropped. Final substitute's appearance revealed glimpses of old form. But Lawrence, for now, is Jamaica's left fullback and midfield is getting crowded.
Michael Seaton: Despite not starting a game, teenager still had chances to shine. Missed clear scoring opportunities, including a penalty in the final's shootout.
Deshorn Brown: Didn't make big impression in only tournament appearance, an opening match start. However, like other youngsters such as Seaton and, should get more opportunities.