Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Whitmore encouraged despite defeat

Published:Sunday | February 5, 2017 | 2:00 AM
United States' Jordan Morris (left) is defended by Jamaica's Ewan Grandson during the second half of a friendly football match on Friday in Chattanooga. The USA won the game 1-0.
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Reggae Boyz head coach Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore said that despite losing 1-0 to the USA, his young team produced what he described as an encouraging performance.

The local-based Reggae Boyz returned to the island from Chattanooga, Tennessee, yesterday afternoon following Friday night's loss. Whitmore told The Gleaner that he is looking forward to getting the players back into training to build on the positives taken from their US assignment.

"I think, defensively, we were a bit organised and compact," he said. "We showed a lot of discipline defensively, but the negative I would take from the game is that there were a lot of individual mistakes. We have a lot to do in terms of marking players, but I think it's encouraging going forward."

Whitmore said that he was glad for the opportunity to have had the match in Chattanooga because it exposed the local-based players to different conditions.

"These are the sort of conditions we want to play in - a positive, good practice game," he added. "I think, basically, they stood up to it. For me, I think we gave up possession a lot in key areas of the field, and we have to go back and work on the line of marking and how we press, but, overall, I think it was encouraging."

GAME TALKING POINT

One of the talking points from the game was the introduction of Boy's Town's Shamar Nicholson and youngster Jourdaine Fletcher of Montego Bay United and Cornwall College, as second-half substitutes.

Nicholson is the current Red Stripe Premier League top scorer with 10 goals, and Fletcher had a standout season, winning the daCosta Cup and top scoring with 35 goals before signing for MoBay United, with many fans calling for them to get a chance in the national team.

"Both Shamar and Jourdaine came into the game young (and) hungry, but my advice to them is for them to just keep their feet grounded and to be humble. There's a lot in store for them," Whitmore said.

The Reggae Boyz will next be in action against Honduras on February 16 in Texas. Whitmore said that he had a chance to speak with their coach, Jorge Luis Pinto, ahead of the match.

"Honduras is on a high now," he said. "Nonetheless, we expect a quality game with quality players to come out and display their skills. I spoke with the coach earlier at the airport and he indicated he had some players he wanted to look at to finalise his squad going into the next game as well. It's going to be an intriguing encounter again."