Thu | Jul 29, 2021

Girlz face daunting US task

Published:Sunday | June 13, 2021 | 12:12 AMDaniel Wheeler - Staff Reporter
Busby Jr
Busby Jr

With a date against the best team in the world only a few hours away, Reggae Girlz head coach Hubert Busby Jr acknowledged that the Jamaicans will need to deliver a strong defensive showing if they are to secure a positive result against the United...

With a date against the best team in the world only a few hours away, Reggae Girlz head coach Hubert Busby Jr acknowledged that the Jamaicans will need to deliver a strong defensive showing if they are to secure a positive result against the United States in tonight’s friendly international.

Coming off their 1-0 win over Nigeria on Thursday, the Reggae Girlz will wrap up their two-game international series against the USA tonight at the BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas. Match time is at 9:15.

The Jamaicans enjoyed the majority of the chances against the African champions, eventually taking advantage of their superior positional play in the 51st minute, thanks to a well-timed effort by Deneisha Blackwood.

However, Busby Jr, while appreciative of the offensive effort on Thursday, warned that the team will have to turn in a better defensive performance.

“Whenever anyone plays against the US, more than likely they don’t possess the ball as much, and so this game will pose a different problem. But we just have to find a different solution. We are going to be organised. I mean, that’s where it starts and obviously we are going to have to keep the ball when we can and utilise the opportunities and capitalise on the ones that we do get,” Busby told The Sunday Gleaner.

One thing of interest for Busby Jr will be the defensive performance of Blackwood and Sashana Campbell, midfielders who have been converted to full backs, with concerns around their reliability as defenders against top opposition.

VERSATILITY AND CONFIDENCE

Busby Jr insisted that the players have to be versatile and have confidence in their ability, but says that there are plans down the road to introduce natural position-based players to see how they perform, as preparations continue for the World Cup qualifiers later this year.

“Obviously, we want to put players in the best position where they succeed but for the most part, these players are able to adapt within the system and as long as they know their roles and responsibilities, we don’t have any issues with them being able to execute that,” Busby Jr said.

“The recruitment is done. What needs to be looked at now is bringing those players into the team to see how they (gel) into the same process that some of these players have gone through, which is to evaluate and see how they deal with this environment.”

Busby Jr gave goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer, defender Vyan Sampson and forward Shania Hayles their international debuts in the Nigeria win.

The coach said that given the circumstances, he was pleased with how the team performed in their first game in over a year.

Tonight’s game against the USA will be the fourth meeting of all time between the two nations.

The United States have won the last three meetings, outscoring the Reggae Girlz by a combined margin of 22-0.

Busby Jr confirmed that goalkeeper Sydney Schneider, who played in two World Cup matches in 2019, will start against the USA.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com