Girlz thump USVI 7-0
Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz ended the Concacaf Group B women’s Olympic qualifiers in the same dominant fashion in which they started after defeating the US Virgin Islands (USVI) 7-0 in their final match of the round at the National Stadium last night.
It was another impressive scoring performance from the Reggae Girlz, with Khadija Shaw leading the way with five goals (sixth, 14th, 20th, 28th and 74th minutes), in the process becoming the nation’s outright leading goalscorer of all time with 40 goals, surpassing Luton Shelton’s 35.
Cheyna Matthews (eighth) and Trudi Carter (30th) also scored one each for the Jamaicans, who topped the group with maximum 12 points from four games, scoring 37 goals and letting in just one, to advance to the Concacaf championship final round.
Despite letting in six goals in the first half, USVI were resolute in the second half and kept the hosts off the scoresheet until the 74th minute, when Shaw netted from a free kick after she was fouled just outside the area. Jamaica created many other opportunities to add to the score but could not take advantage.
Jamaica’s assistant coach, Lorne Donaldson, is in charge in the absence of head coach Hue Menzies, who is overseas tending to a personal issue. Donaldson said that although this round of qualifying was fairly easy, they expect that things will be a lot tougher in the next phase and hope that they will have their best players available, as well as some competitive friendlies going into the tournament.
“The next FIFA date will be very important,” he said. “Hopefully, we can get all the girls in and we can get a decent (practice) match against one of the top European teams. That would be one of my wishes, but that’s the JFF’s (Jamaica Football Federation) thing. They will have to look into it and get us a match,” he said.
Although he said that the matches were easy, Donaldson said that the girls got to spend valuable time playing together, which he says helps them to gel more as a unit.
“It’s important when you play games, even though they were not that challenging, we try to get something out of it and see what we can do. There were also some new players that we were looking at. Some are young, so it gave us a chance to look at other players, and we saw some good things, so games like this can still help us.”
However, going into the Concacaf final round, Donaldson said that improvements must be made in midfield.
“We have to improve our midfield play, and that’s why we put [Dominic Bond-Flasza] in there and I like what I saw out of [her] inside there,” he said. “It (final round) will be a difficult round. Concacaf is the strongest region, and we will be playing some of the best teams in the world. But that’s what we want. As players, you want to play the best, and now we think we have some depth that can live up to the challenge.”