Sun | Jul 25, 2021

‘Always a positive’

Edwards, Speid optimistic despite Reggae Girlz’s 4-0 loss to USA

Published:Tuesday | June 15, 2021 | 12:09 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
US midfielder Samantha Mewis (top) and Jamaica midfielder Vyan Sampson go up for a header during the second half of their Summer Series international friendly match at the BBVA Stadium in Houston, Texas, on Sunday.
US midfielder Samantha Mewis (top) and Jamaica midfielder Vyan Sampson go up for a header during the second half of their Summer Series international friendly match at the BBVA Stadium in Houston, Texas, on Sunday.
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Former national senior women’s football team head coach Charles Edwards says that there are still positives in spite of the Reggae Girlz’s loss to world champions the United States of America (USA) on Sunday night. He says that getting the team...

Former national senior women’s football team head coach Charles Edwards says that there are still positives in spite of the Reggae Girlz’s loss to world champions the United States of America (USA) on Sunday night.

He says that getting the team back in action should be considered a small victory as they can move forward with their preparations for the FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers.

The Reggae Girlz were second-best from start to finish in the game, and the margin of defeat could, and perhaps, should have been greater. The Americans only needed 24 seconds to get on the board as Carli Lloyd tapped home from close range. Lindsey Horan doubled their lead in the seventh minute from the penalty spot after captain Konya Plummer committed a foul in the box. Margaret Purce added another in the 22nd minute, and Alex Morgan wrapped up the win, scoring in the second minute of second-half stoppage time.

Jamaica marked their return to action with a 1-0 win over African champions Nigeria on Thursday. While Edwards says that there will be time for critiquing and much more sterner tests for the team, the Summer Series should be seen as a success as the Reggae Girlz now have a platform to build on after COVID-19 stalled the senior women’s programme for 14 months.

WHAT IS OF GREATER IMPORTANCE

“After such a long lockdown, forget about results and be happy that we got the girls back in action,” he said. “Being back in action is far more important than results because there are more important engagements down the road.

“We have to look at getting the legs going again, then we take it from there. To me, there is no negative in all of this. It’s only positives that we are back on track, and now we can work our way back to our best performance.”

Additionally, Edwards says being able to register their first win against an African opponent, especially the reigning African champions, was the perfect way to boost the morale of the team.

“Winning the first game after being out for so long, that’s a big plus,” he said. “It’s an excellent result, and it should augur only well for us.”

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Technical Committee Chairman Rudolph Speid says that he is pleased with how the team handled the constant pressure from the US throughout the game and said that considering that their last meeting in 2018 ended 6-0, he was pleased with how head coach Hubert Busby Jr adapted.

“Most coaches would have shied away from playing the US unless it is a competitive game,” Speid said. “The Girlz, after going behind early, they stood up for at least 60 minutes before they conceded again. At least now we know how we could probably start the game to keep ourselves in it for as long as possible and then try to see what happens.

“I thought the coach was courageous. I thought he adjusted well when he came under the gun.”

With the two-game series now concluded, Speid says that not only will this give the JFF a framework to plan for the November qualifiers, but he is optimistic about their chances of returning to the World Cup finals.

Edwards says for that objective to be achieved, the momentum gained from the return must be continued with more games and camps in the available international windows.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com

USA v Jamaica match stats

USA JAM

Shots 19 3

Shots on goal 9 0

Possession 73% 27%

Passing Accuracy 85% 55%

Fouls 5 6

Corners 5 1