U-20s crash out
Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Jamaica's faint chances of qualification to the Under-20 World Cup evaporated like boiling water when they lost 2-0 to the United States in Group A of the CONCACAF Championship football game at the Montego Bay Sports Complex on Sunday night.
It was a bitter end for what head coach Theodore Whitmore described as a promising opportunity.
"I am very disappointed. As you know, injuries is one of the major factors that affected our plans, not only in this game, but almost from the start of the championship," Whitmore lamented.
"We knew we were up against a tough opponent. The US is always going to be tough opponents, plus our captain Junior Flemming, missed this game because of cards. We just didn't create as much chances as we would have liked," Whitmore said.
Needing to win to strengthen their cause, the Jamaicans were brought low by two penalty goals from Romain Gall. The American striker netted the opening goal in the 34th minute, after Jamaican defender Allando Brown was issued a caution for pulling down Emerson Hyndman in the box. Gall was netting his fourth goal of the championship.
It was déjà vu for the Jamaicans in the second half, when goalkeeper Nicholas Nelson raced off his line to clear a ball, but made contact with forward Bradford Jamieson and luckily escaped being sent off by referee Marlon Mejia of El Salvador.
Nelson was shown the yellow and Gall finished from the spot to make the score 2-0 in the 69th minute.
US coach Tab Ramos praised his team's effort.
"The team made a great effort, but I just wish we could have scored more. I am glad we came out on top," he said.
"We had a slow start to the championship, but the good thing is that we keep getting better and that is always useful. We are expecting to win our next game and hopefully advance," Ramos said.
Victory puts the US on seven points and third in the group, which is being led by Panama, who had earlier defeated Trinidad and Tobago 1-0 for their fourth consecutive win and 12 points. Guatemala are second on 10 points, with Trinidad and Tobago (four), Jamaica (one) and Aruba (0) at the back of the pack.