Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
National striker Darren Mattocks said he is excited about the prospect of leading the Reggae Boyz strike force against the United States (US) in their World Cup Qualifying football match tomorrow at the National Stadium.
The 22-year-old Mattocks, who played his first game for the senior Reggae Boyz against El Salvador a few weeks ago, has been in excellent form for the Vancouver Whitecaps in the US Major League Soccer (MLS) competition this season, where he has netted eight goals.
However, he will vying for a starting spot in the Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore-coached team along with established players Luton Shelton, Ryan Johnson, Omar Cummings and Dane Richards, along with Tramaine Stewart and Kavin Bryan.
"I am really excited about this," said the former Bridgeport Manning Cup standout. "I hope I can get a shot on Friday against the US to do what I know I am capable of doing, which is scoring goals.
"I think that my first cap a few weeks ago was pretty good. I had couple of chances and didn't score, but I just have to keep working hard and stay focused on my game," Mattocks said.
Jamaica and the US have both amassed four points from two games in Group A CONCACAF WCQ, but the latter hold a superior goal difference and this match - to be followed by a return game on the 11th in Cleveland, Ohio - could hold the key to topping the group.
Mattocks said the camaraderie among the Reggae Boyz has been good and everyone is ready and raring to go.
"The team has been working really hard in training and everyone has been having a lot fun. But we know that it's business come Friday," Mattocks said.
"I know that the fans expect a victory and so we have to go out there and give it our best shot, and once we execute well then everything should take care of itself on the field."
Mattocks also stated that he is relishing the big occasion; ready to step on to the field in front of his home fans and make them proud.
"Personally, I like pressure and that shows how tough you are and, obviously, the fans want to see what I am made of because I have been scoring goals in the MLS. I know that they want to see me make that transition into the national team," said Mattocks.
Continuing, he said: "It is going to be a mammoth occasion for me to step out into the National Stadium because all my family and friends will be there cheering me on, and so I am looking forward to this big occasion."