Tue | Aug 22, 2017

Team work the key for Schäfer

Published:Friday | July 24, 2015 | 7:00 AM
Jamaica's coach Winfried Schäfer (right) congratulating his players after they beat the United States in Atlanta on Wednesday.

ATLANTA, Georgia:

WINFRIED Schäfer  had credited his team's unity on and off the pitch for most of what they have achieved at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, following their historic 2-1 win over the United States in Wednesday night's semi-final.

"Our plus is team work and team spirit, and I hope we'll continue to do the same in Philadelphia," he admitted.

"I remember yesterday (Tuesday) I told you we want more, we want to go to Philadelphia, to the big stadium. I'm very proud of my team for what we did today, from the first minute to the 93rd minute," he said on Wednesday.

"It was very, very difficult because the United States is a physical team with big potential, very, very big potential. The players went over the limit, and I'm very happy about this."

The well-coached Jamaicans are headed to the Gold Cup final for the first time, being the first Caribbean team to make that landmark.

Strikers Darren Mattocks (31st) and Giles Barnes (36th) scored goals five minutes apart for Jamaica, while Michael Bradley scored for the United States at the 48th minute.

It was the first Jamaican victory over the US on American soil in 23 clashes between the nations.

Their record now stands at two wins, eight draws, and 13 losses.

"David won against Goliath and one German won against two German coaches - Klinsmann and Berti Vogts," Schäfer noted with a laugh. "No, no, no! They're my friends," he said.

Evidence of the Schäfer's team working hand in hand played out in the way they controlled key US midfielders Bradley and Kyle Beckerman, which forced the opponents to use the aerial option of many long balls to attack.

"Before we played against the States and Haiti, we made an analysis ... when number four (Bradley) and number five (Beckerman) go out of the match, this team can only play long passes. When both players are out, it's easy to win the match," Schäfer explained.

"All these long balls to our defence was easy and we have more space for our counter-attack," the 65-year-old German further observed. "The players need their (head) for playing, not only running."

The Jamaica squad travelled to Philadelphia yesterday for Sunday's final against Mexico, who got two penalty goals from AndrÈs Guardado to beat Panama in a hot-tempered second semi-final.

"Mexico are one of the best teams in CONCACAF and at the World Cup. They play fantastic football. I like this football, one touch, two touch," he admitted.

"We're not finished; we have one match more. We cannot make a party now. Bob Marley is after the match."