Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Hector among the stars

Published:Friday | July 24, 2015 | 7:00 AM
Jamaica’s Darren Mattocks (centre) is embraced by teammates Rodolph Austin (right) Michael Hector (second right) Je-Vaughn Watson (left) and Adrian Mariappa (second left) after Mattocks scored a goal against the United States in the CONCACAF Gold Cup semi-final on Wednesday.

ATLANTA, Georgia:

The measure of any good team is its strength off the bench.

Having earned a chance through the misfortune of a teammate when Jermaine Taylor got injured at the seventh minute of their group contest against El Salvador in Toronto, Michael Hector is proving that to be true.

The towering central defender was a man-mountain in Jamaica's historic Gold Cup semi-final 2-1 win over the United States on Wednesday. It was the Reggae Boyz's first win over the United States on American soil, thus becoming the first Caribbean team to do so since Haiti at San Diego in 1969.

It is also the first time that Jamaica has qualified for the CONCACAF Gold Cup final.

"The team has taken to me," Hector beamed with glee after the win on Wednesday night at the Georgia Dome here which thrust the Reggae Boyz into their first Gold Cup final.

"I've been on the bench for the first few games. It was hard for me to sit and watch, but we had done so well defensively in our first two games, so I couldn't really sit and moan about not playing," he observed.

"When I did get my chance, I think I've realised I had to take it, and I thought, 'I've done well to keep my place'."

Hector's contribution has enabled the Jamaica team to maintain its powerful performance at the tournament, conceding only twice in five matches, winning four times and drawing once.

"The defence has been great - even the goalkeeper! Obviously, he made a mistake, but he still made some great saves after that, and he kept his head and kept us in the game," Hector noted of Thompson, whose spill led to the US goal.

Like Hector, Thompson got his run off the bench this Gold Cup at BMO Field in Toronto when starting keeper Dwayne Miller got injured against El Salvador.

- A.B.