Jamaica's Yannick Salmon attempts to get to the ball ahead of Costa Rica's Oviedo Bryan in CONCACAF Under-17 Group B action at the National Stadium, on Wednesday night. Costa Rica won 1-0. - Ian Allen/Staff Photographer
Kwesi Mugisa, Staff Reporter
HOSTS JAMAICA must find a way to beat group leaders, the United States, if they are to keep their fading hopes of booking a spot at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup alive when the teams meet tonight, at 7:00, at the National Stadium.
The young Reggae Boyz will also have to pray that regional counterparts Trinidad and Tobago can deliver an unlikely victory against Canada in the 5:00 p.m. game or they could be out of the competition before kick-off time.
With two losses in two games, the Jamaicans are in fourth place on no points, marginally ahead of Trinidad and Tobago on goal difference.
The team still has a chance of progressing if the Canadians lost or drew their next two games which would leave them on a reachable total of six points; the Jamaicans cannot afford any loss or draw in that scenario.
The Reggae Boyz were hoping to remain in the chase by beating Costa Rica, at the National Stadium, on Wednesday night, and at the start of that encounter they looked likely to do so.
Jamaica front man McKauly Tulloch's long-range effort in the 18th minute looked goal-bound, but whizzed inches above the crossbar. Ten minutes later, strike partner Dever Orgill broke into the area, but his shot from about 15 yards away flew harmlessly past the far post.
The Reggae Boyz created several half chances throughout the game, but the Costa Ricans, while not having a great deal possession, looked far more dangerous on the counter and it was little surprise when they stole a 1-0 victory.
After spurning several opportunities to take an important lead, it was lights out for the Boyz when Jorge Castro played through midfielder Esteban Luna. Luna left nothing to chance as he fired past Jamaica 'keeper Oniel Wilson in the 66th minute, guaranteeing his team's progression to the World Cup, in South Korea, this August.
"Both teams were evenly matched and it was a tough game," said Jamaica coach David Hunt after the match. "The players played very hard, but it was just one of those games.
"I think we played a really tough game and I was happy with the effort that the players displayed ... it just came down to one little mistake," he said.