Mon | May 29, 2017

Watson: Boyz did well against strong team

Published:Monday | June 22, 2015 | 6:00 AM
Watson
Argentina’s Lionel Messi (left) changes his shirt with Jamaica’s Joel McAnuff at the end of the Copa America Group B match at the Sausalito Stadium in Vina del Mar, Chile, last Saturday.
Argentina’s Lionel Messi (left) shakes hands with Jamaica’s captain, Rodolph Austin, at the end of the Copa America Group B football match at the Sausalito Stadium in Vina del Mar, Chile, last Saturday.
Jamaica’s DeShorn Brown takes a selfie with Argentina’s Lionel Messi at the end of the Copa America Group B match at the Sausalito Stadium in Vina del Mar, Chile, last Saturday.
AP Argentina's Carlos Tevez (right) fights for the ball with Jamaica's Jermaine Taylor during a Copa America Group B match at the Sausalito Stadium in Vina del Mar, Chile, last Saturday.
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VINA DEL MAR, Chile:

REGGAE BOY midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson has hailed his teammates for their showing against Argentina in the Copa America, even though they went down 1-0.

"I thought the Boyz did well tonight against a good Argentina team, with a player who is the best in the world," he said, referring to their captain, Lionel Messi.

The Jamaicans rose from a shaky start, which saw Gonzalo Higuain scoring at the 11th minute in the Group B match played at Sausalito Stadium.

"I believe in the first half we were giving away the ball.

"Playing against a high-quality team like this, I guess we went in the game a little timid because we didn't want them to win the ball too close to goal, so we were just trying to play in their half. But they have so much quality, so the ball just kept coming back, so I guess we found out we couldn't do that for the 90 minutes of the game," he argued.

Besides Messi, Argentina, the No. 3 team in the world, contain some of the game's biggest stars in Angel di Maria, Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano.

Watson said a combination of calls made by the man in the middle and the strength of the Argentines forced them into defending for the first half, with a lot of long kicks up the field.

"The game plan wasn't to go long because we knew that in the first 15 minutes they were going to press us and try to get a goal ... but after that, we came into our own and started to play, and we saw where we were getting success with Deshorn (Brown) up high and Jobi (Joel McAnuff) going forward," he noted of the second half.

" ... The referee had a big part in it; as soon as we touched them, the referee would blow his whistle," he said.

"We tried to play, and if we lost the ball, we tried to get behind it and hit them on the counter attack.

boost of confidence

"As the game progressed, we found out that we had the ability to play against them. So I guess in the second half we didn't have anything to lose, and we tried to dig for a goal," added Watson, whom the referee approached after a challenge from behind on Messi.

Jamaica, after battling much pressure, took over the game in the last 20 minutes, and Watson, who plays for Dallas FC in the United States MLS, said the improvement earned them respect.

They break, then regroup soon for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the United States and Canada. Watson said their performance at Copa has inspired the Reggae Boyz for the Gold Cup.

"It's a good confidence booster, even though we lost the three games 1-0. We could've done better, because when you look at it, the goals weren't high-quality goals that were scored against us, even the second and this game," he said.

- A.B.