Audley Boyd, Assistant Editor - Sports
KANSAS CITY, Kansas:
JOBI McAnuff believes if the Reggae Boyz can work out the little kinks at the end of their attacks, they should be well on their way to victory today.
This, they need desperately, and quickly, as they seek to remain in 2014 CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying with a win over the United States.
"We've always been very competitive in pretty much every game in the campaign, and it's only these small margins probably why we are where we are, so it's up to us to step out there and get a result," the Reggae Boy said after evening training at Johnson County Community College on Wednesday.
After eight matches, the team is yet to win and remains bottom of the six-team standings with four points. However, with three teams advancing automatically and a fourth getting a half-chance through a play-off against Oceania champions New Zealand, they are not out of the running.
Leaders United States (16 points) and Costa Rica (15) have already qualified for Brazil 2014, with Honduras (11) third, followed by Panama and Mexico tied on eight points.
MUST WIN TODAY
To advance, Jamaica must win their two matches and move to 10 points, then hope other factors combine to keep Panama and Mexico with a lesser tally.
"There's not been much in the games we've played. We feel we should be doing better than we have done, and I don't think the points properly reflect the performances," the 31-year-old McAnuff, who captains Reading United, observed.
He noted that one factor contributing to their under-achievement has been the low level of familiarity, with many members of the squad, including himself, only being drafted recently and not spending enough time together.
"Coming into this campaign, for me, it's been a bit of organisation and playing with each other, or the lack of time that we've had as a team. Look at all the other teams in the section. Even Panama, which is one of the smaller nations, they've played Gold Cup together, they've been together for a long time and the organisation that comes with that and that cohesion, I think that's been a little bit of a difference with us particularly.
"We've been solid going forward, but [need] that little spark to create the chances and score the goals, obviously, we haven't scored enough goals," explained McAnuff. "That's the hardest thing to do in football and I think from my experience, that's probably where we've fallen a little bit short."
However, the players have had some lively and enthusiastic training sessions since arriving here on Monday night and pointing to the 'positive vibes', McAnuff said only they can bridge the gap to victory that will keep their dreams alive.
"We're the ones out there and we're the ones who have to change that. It's up to us to get the results that we need the next couple of games and see how it goes."