'We had a bad 10 minutes'
A brief lapse in concentration. That's what Reggae Boyz deputy head coach Miguel Coley thinks was chiefly responsible for their 2-2 draw with Costa Rica in their opening Group match at the StubHub Center on Wednesday evening here.
Garath McCleary (13th) and Joel (Jobi) McAnuff, with his first goal for Jamaica, netted for the Boyz. Costa Rica's conversions came from Roy Miller (33rd) and what appeared to be an own goal by central defender West Morgan, that was credited to David Ramirez (37th).
"I think we had a bad 10 minutes. We lost concentration for 10 minutes and we gave away two goals - one on a well-executed free-kick," he lamented of a span in which Los Ticos netted their goals four minutes apart.
The first emanated from a free-kick on the left side of the penalty area about 10 yards from the box. Bryan Ruiz played a left-footed pass along the turf to David Ramirez on the right side of the box. Ramirez lifted a one-time towards the back post and Miller arrived unchallenged to head past his namesake in the Jamaica goal, Dwayne.
Coley said: " ... For the second goal, we could have done much better."
A long diagonal pass was floated over Morgan's head to Ramirez cutting in. The latter then lobbed the ball over Miller.
After watching his team battle back to equalise then miss three clear chances to win the match - two coming inside the final 10 minutes - Coley credited his team for their resilience.
"It was a good performance overall. This team showed a lot of character, a lot of fight," he said. "They kept their discipline, they kept their shape and that was very, very important."
The result left both teams tied atop the group with one point, the same as Canada and El Salvador, which tied 0-0 in the nightcap.
El Salvador were more dangerous but Canada had the game's best chance, when Cyle Larin dribbled past the goalkeeper but stunningly shot over the wide open goal.
That goalless finish ensured Jamaica and Costa Rica lead the group on goal difference.
Jamaica and the rest of the Group B teams travelled yesterday to Houston, Texas, where they will resume Group B action tomorrow against Canada, when El Salvador battle Costa Rica.