Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Watson: Team showed character

Published:Monday | July 13, 2015 | 7:00 AM
Jamaica’s captain and midfielder Rudolph Austin waves to the crowd after Jamaica defeated Canada 1-0 in a CONCACAF Gold Cup match last Saturday in Houston. Austin scored in stoppage time.

HOUSTON, Texas:

FOR the Reggae Boyz, only one result mattered against Canada.

So having not got their goal in the full 90 minutes, they kept pressing until captain and central midfielder Rodolph Austin burst through to meet Garath McCleary's cross and make the perfect finish - in the second of three minutes added for stoppages - to win their Group B CONCACAF Gold Cup football match at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday evening.

"I think the team showed character. We knew we needed three points tonight to go to the top of the table to move on to the next leg," said Je-Vaughn Watson of the unrelenting effort from the Reggae Boyz.

"We want to win the tournament, so we had to come out and work for the three points. It was hard, but we dug deep, and we found a goal in the last minute."

21 shots

Jamaica had 21 shots in total and started directing traffic basically one way from approximately 20 minutes against the fast-starting Canadians.

"We just were not finishing," Watson remarked. "These guys want to win and show the country that we're a good team. We've got a good thing going on."

Despite their shot count, the Boyz appeared destined to come up empty-handed, until Austin's determined last-ditch effort brought the success they so craved.

"It was a beautiful run," said Watson, the man of the match and Austin's central midfield partner. "It was the second time that Rudi (Rodolph Austin) was going forward, so I guess he can smell the goal because he just took off to the box.

"He said I should go for the ball. When I looked, he was in the box, and it was an excellent finish," observed Watson.

From the beginning of the second half, Watson, who was playing at his Houston FC home ground, appeared very inspired and drove the team forward with a number of solo dribbles from deep.

one of the leaders

"Before the game and even before the second half started, Jobi (Joel McAnuff) was, saying, 'Hacker, you know that if you press everybody will follow behind you; you're one of the fittest guys on the team; you're one of the leaders'," he related.

"So going out in the second half, I knew I had to pull my weight - to make some dribbles and put in some tackles because I knew the guys would follow. I tried to lead from the front."

The 31-year-old Watson, who got drafted into the national unit as a teen while representing Sporting Central Academy, said their shot-to-goal ratio highlights the difficulties with scoring.

"We worked so hard to bring it (ball) forward and then get the goalscoring opportunity. I just think that's one of the hardest things on the field to do, to finish," he admitted. "But I think we're getting better."

- A.B.