Your Premier Jamaican Sports Portal

Beach Futbol
Body Building
Horse Racing
Horse Riding
In Your Neighbourhood
Lawn Tennis
Martial Arts
Motor Racing
Mountain Biking
One On One
Show Jumping
Sunday Chat
Table Tennis
Track And Field
Upcoming Events
Water Polo
Yacht Race
About Us
Contact Us

Boyz look to cool El Salvador

Gordon Williams, Gleaner Writer

WASHINGTON, DC, United States:The last time Jamaica faced El Salvador in a football international in the United States, it was much easier to fry an egg on the pitch than find the back of the net.

Temperatures in that friendly soared well above 100 degrees, forcing a slowdown game pace and dehydrated players to the sidelines for impromptu water breaks.

Tonight's rematch at the RFK Stadium here at 7 (6 Jamaica time) is likely to be far more conducive to football - with temperatures expected around the 60s - than that infamous 0-0 draw in Dallas, Texas.

Both teams are eyeing different targets too, but that doesn't mean the match will be any less hotly contested.

tough game

"The weather is different ," said Carlos de los Cobos, El Salvador's coach for the game last July. "It won't be that hot. The game will be faster because the weather is cooler. But I see a tough game. Jamaica players are very strong, fast."

Jamaica's coach John Barnes would prefer if his team exercises more patience. In last Saturday's match against Haiti in Fort Lauderdale, the Reggae Boyz managed to rally with 10 men to earn a 2-2 draw, but the coach was not pleased with the team's inability to keep the ball. Tonight, he hopes to see marked improvement, especially since ball possession was one of the main focuses of training sessions earlier this week.

"Players have to make themselves more available," Barnes said yesterday. "We have been working on our support play. We did a lot of keep ball in training and we will be trying to make more passes than against Haiti."

The other concern is the fitness

Asafa Powell (left), former 100-metre world-record holder from Jamaica, and Tyson Gay, American record holder at 100 metres, pose for photos after a Reebok Grand Prix athletics meet news conference in New York on Thursday.

of Damion 'Stew Peas' Stewart, who scored Jamaica's late equaliser against Haiti. The central defender strained his groin in training this week.

To compound matters, Claude Davis, another central defender, was sent off against Haiti and will not be available for Jamaica tonight. Neither will veteran defender Ian 'Pepe' Goodison, who was invited but did not turn up for training camp during the week and was not considered for selection.

A spokesman for the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) said yesterday that the organisation is aware that Goodison arrived in Jamaica earlier this week, but the JFF was unable to contact him.

But according to Barnes, Goodison's lack of match fitness would have made him doubtful against El Salvador anyway and his absence tonight will not be a huge drawback for Jamaica.

"Him not being here is not a problem," the coach said.

Among the possible replacements in central defence are Dicoy Williams, who was not selected for the Haiti game and Adrian Reid.

Yesterday, Barnes, who introduced a 4-4-2 formation against Haiti, said he is likely to go the same route again tonight, although he did not fully commit to the new scheme due to Stewart's pending condition.

brighter note

On a brighter note, Jamaica expect attacking midfielder Jermaine Johnson to return. Johnson was sent off against Nigeria in February and was ineligible for the Haiti game. It is also "very possible", according to Barnes, that newcomer Devon Hodges, the leading scorer in the just completed Digicel Premier League who missed the Haiti game because of visa issues, will play. Other options up front are Nicholas Addlery, who scored against Haiti on his debut, Roland Dean, a starter against Haiti, Navion Boyd and Keammar Daley. Addlery joined the team here from his club in Puerto Rico.

midfield pairing

The central midfield pairing of Jason Morrison and Richards Edwards should get the start again with Johnson, Wolry Wolfe, Eric Vernon, Oraine Simpson and Michael Campbell vying for places on the flanks. Four Boyz who played against El Salvador in Texas, Reid, Wolfe, Vernon and Daley, are available tonight. Shawn Sawyers, who was a reserve last July, should start in goal.

El Salvador, ranked 102 in the world by football's governing body FIFA, are preparing for the vital final round World Cup 2010 qualifying games, starting next week. Jamaica are tuning up for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in early July. Both teams are in the same Gold Cup bracket and are scheduled to complete group play against each other on July 10 in Miami, Florida. Therefore, tonight's matchup will offer a timely sneak preview of what could be a crucial Gold Cup battle.

"I know playing against Jamaica will be a good test," de los Cobos said. "This game will be important to know where we are."

"It will be interesting to see how we match up against their strongest team," said Barnes, who explained that about "10 to 11" players are still missing from his ideal Gold Cup squad.

Tonight the "Cuscatlecos" will be brimming with confidence following a decisive 3-1 win against Ecuador on Wednesday in Los Angeles, California.

"We played very good," de los Cobos said. "Ecuador is a very good team, very fast. Usually they play at a very good level in South America."

| Print Article

Latest Articles in this Category