Reggae Boyz’ Audacity of Hope of Winning the Gold Cup

Although, these two teams, US and Jamaica are now managed by German born coaches they have not faced each other for over 24 months and may have to rely on other creative methods and video footage for mental assessment of their opponent.

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ATLANTA, USA – Is the Reggae Boyz listening to too much Bob Marley?

“Put your vision to reality,” a lyrics taken from Bob’s song “Wake Up And Live.”

Most Jamaicans know Bob was an avid soccer player. Maybe, the late reggae icon wouldn’t mind if the Reggae Boyz use his song to inspire them to win one game at a time, when he sang, “One – one cocoa full a basket.” Bob once stated in an interview that his songs can be interpreted in many different ways.

After three consecutive shutouts in the tournament, the Boyz earned themselves a semifinal spot after defeating Haiti 1:0. They will face-off with USNMT, the defending Gold Cup Champions.

The underdogs Reggae Boyz have a huge mountain to climb when they go up against the German coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s hand pick squad, the top favorite to win this year’s tournament.

Historically, the Boyz have played 22 times against the American squad and have registered one win. The 2:1 first–ever win against USMNT was in 2012, a World Cup qualifier and to date is Jamaica only victory.

With American boasting a recorded 13 wins, 1 lost and 8 draws against the Boyz, this statistic are benchmark showing the teams’ history of playing each other and maybe used to weigh in on how these two squads performed in the past.

The outcome of the US – Jamaica match will not govern by this dated victories and loses, but by the team who score the most goals on the day of the game.

Reggae Boyz midfielder Jobi McAnuff told the Jamaican Observer, “We fancy our chances against anybody at the moment, obviously, the pressure may be more on them [the USA], given our recent results and we were the slight favorites [against Haiti].”

It’s now a different time with the Boyz under Winfried Schafer management and new players added to both rosters will make it an interesting game.

The American squad consist of top tier players like midfielder Michael Bradley, Kyle Beckerman, Graham Zusi, the tournament leading goal scorer Clint Dempsey and rising LA Galaxy star forward Gyasi Zardes, the Jamaicans will need to bring their A-game to claim this match.

Klinsmann has a very efficient and talented squad, swift on fast breaks and counter attacks, quick thinkers, smart players that move their ball forward with long short passes, effective set kicks. Players who can quickly convert given opportunities into goals and able to play a fast pace game with more consistency and accuracy.

With all the listed advantages there is still room for improvement on the American back-line.

So far, the US squad allowed 3 goals against them, while Jamaica allowed only 2 goals that occurred in the Group B opener, against the Costa Rica resulting with a 2:2 draw. Since then, the Boyz have corrected themselves by keeping a clean sheet up to present.

On the other hand, the Reggae Boyz have an athletic squad with massive individual speed and strength, with a forward line able to dribbling through complex defense, and bold players who are more creative and able to take on the opponent, one on one.

Coach Schafer had developed the Boyz’ backline, into a military fortress. Hinting that defense wins tournament like these and it’s one of the factor that catapult his team to the semifinal round.

In their Copa America debut, not only did they manage to lock down the scoring machine, Messi, they were able to fend off the Haitians numerous shots. At the same time denying them goal opportunities, which eventually eliminates their Caribbean rival with a clean sheet victory. It was an agonizing defeat and a memorable match that will have these two Caribbean neighbors talking about it for years to come.

Although, these two teams, US and Jamaica are now managed by German born coaches they have not faced each other for over 24 months and may have to rely on other creative methods and video footage for mental assessment of their opponent.

Defender Michael Hector replaced Jermaine Taylor who sustained a quadriceps injury had this to say, “We watch them [USA] against Haiti and obviously they [USA] are a good side and hopefully we can put in a good performance and get result.”

Jamaica will have to match the USA in the midfield stride for stride, added the Reggae Boyz midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson, the FC Dallas Man.

Expected back on the pitch for the Boyz are goalkeeper Ryan Thompson, on the backline–Wes Morgan, Michael Hector, Kemar Lawrence and Adrian Mariappa; midfielders–Captain Rodolph Austin, Je–Vaughn Watson, Jobi McAnuff and Garath McCleary and on the frontline are Giles Barnes and Darren Mattocks.

As the 13th edition of CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament comes to a close, we have only 4 teams standing including the 6 times Caribbean Cup champions. The Boyz is the only Caribbean team keeping alive the hope of bringing this iconic 26 inches high Gold Cup 20lbs trophy to the region.

Today’s semifinal double headers feature the Jamaican Reggae Boyz going up against USA at 6pm (3pm Los Angeles time), and Panama battling Mexico at 8pm (5pm LA time) at Georgia Dome, Atlanta. The approximately 75,000 capacity is expected to sell out.

The two winning teams will face off in the final match to be held at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia  on judgment day, July 26th.

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