KANSAS CITY, Kansas:
Je-Vaughn Watson has warned his Jamaican teammates not to expect any favours from the already-qualified United States (US) when both countries meet in a CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying football match at Sporting Park in Kansas City this evening, beginning at 5:36 p.m.
Watson, whose 30th birthday is just under a fortnight away, has deep knowledge of the US team, as he has been playing with and against many of their top players in the country's Major League Soccer competition.
The former Garvey Maceo High and Sporting Central captain played 41 games with Houston Dynamo in his first season, before being traded to FC Dallas this season.
Asked if he thought the US would lift their foot off the pedal in the clash later, Watson said, "No, I don't think so", adding that pride and competition for final spots on Jurgen Klinsmann's team will motivate the homesters to give total effort.
"The US always want to be the number-one team, … so they're going to put out their strongest team to beat us," he said.
"The players who they've called up are all first-team players. … They're gonna put their best 11 out there. … We've to just go out there and do whatever we've got to do," the attacking midfielder said. "So we've to go out there and decide that we're going to win the game."
DESPERATE FOR A WIN
While the US have already qualified for the 2014 Finals in Brazil, the Jamaicans are desperate for a win to keep their hopes alive.
With two rounds to play, Jamaica lie bottom of the standings with four points, trailing Mexico and Panama, both tied on eight. The United States lead with 16 points, followed by Costa Rica (15) and Honduras (11).
The top three are guaranteed qualification to next year's World Cup in Brazil, while the fourth can advance by beating Oceania champions New Zealand in a home-and-away play-off. Jamaica are hoping to pip Mexico and Panama for that fourth spot.
Beating the United States would be the first step to that fourth spot, and Watson says to get that result, they must be prepared for a physical battle.
"The game is going to be physical because the US are a physical team. It's gonna be intense because they're always running, and we have to match their intensity.
"We have to go out with the intention to win because only a victory is good enough for us. We've got the players to do the job, but we have to be mentally strong and go out there and execute," said Watson.