U20 Boyz aim for 'better result'
Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
Jamaica, following a 2-2 draw against Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) in last Friday's opening round and a 1-0 loss to Guatemala on Sunday night, cannot afford to drop points in tonight's crucial CONCACAF Men's Under-20 Championship football match against Panama - the feature encounter of a Group A triple-header - at the National Stadium, starting at 8:00.
In the first game, Guatemala oppose T&T at 3 p.m., to be followed by Aruba against the United States of America (USA), beginning at 5:30 p.m.
"It is very important that we get something out of this game. We don't want to concede early as we have done in the two games (T&T and Honduras). The team started slow in those games, but played better, especially when players came off the bench," the former national senior team coach and captain also said.
On Sunday night, goalkeeper Nicholas Nelson made some fine saves, including a second-half penalty, while Martin Davis and Luca Levee came into the game and the team played better in attack.
"It is a game by game situation. We had our plans for each opponent coming into the tournament," Whitmore explained. "We have to take a different approach to each game."
The home crowd has been backing their team and Whitmore said like them, they want better.
"We are very satisfied with the support, but like the crowd we are disappointed in the results. We hope to build on the performances and get a better result," he said.
Panama, on the other hand, will look to extend their lead after a perfect start. The Central American, following wins against Aruba and the USA, head Group A with maximum six points, trailed by Trinidad and Tobago (4), Guatemala (4), Jamaica (1), USA (1) and Aruba at the bottom without a point.
With the top team from each group advancing to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand later this year and the second and third teams in the groups battling for the other two spots, a win for Panama would put them in a strong position.
Panama's head of delegation, Alberto Moke, expects a tough challenge.
"Right now, we came out of the two previous games with two good wins. We will be playing against the host nation tomorrow in a crucial match," Moke told The Gleaner yesterday.
"We know Jamaica has not won any game in the tournament yet. However, they are a quality team that is playing at home. But we hope to come away with three points and add to the tally," he said.
Whitmore must change his starting team, as captain Javaun Waugh and Michael Seaton have been ruled out due to knee injury.
Meanwhile, the USA are also in a spot of bother, with one point from two games.
They are expected to win easily against Aruba, who have struggled in losses to Panama and T&T.
"(It's) Absolutely critical for us to win against Aruba," US coach Tab Ramos said. "Every game is crucial, however, this one is more critical as we have already dropped five points."
Aruba promised to go 'all out'.
"We are going all out to demonstrate what we can do. We are a small country compared to the US, but we are planning to surprise the US," Aruba's head of delegation, Maximino 'Max' Wuernet, told The Gleaner.
"It is our first time in the CONACAF Under-20 tournament and we knew coming into the tournament that we were up against quality teams. We are here for the experience," he pointed out.
- 3 p.m. Guatemala vs Trinidad and Tobago
- 5:30 p.m. Aruba vs USA
- 8 p.m. Jamaica vs Panama
Group A Standings
Teams P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Panama 2 2 0 0 5 0 5 6
T&T 2 1 1 0 7 3 4 4
Guatemala 2 1 1 0 2 1 1 4
Jamaica 2 0 1 1 2 3 -1 1
USA 2 0 1 1 1 2 -1 1
Aruba 2 0 0 2 1 9 -8 0