Boyz hunt crucial win
With six points from their first seven games, Jamaica will start the second half of their Concacaf World Cup qualifying campaign this afternoon against the United States at the National Stadium.
The match which kicks off at 5 p.m not only represents the start of the stretch run for the Reggae Boyz but will also be the first match that will feature home support, with a maximum of 5,000 fully vaccinated fans expected to be in attendance. The sixth-place Boyz hope to find some inspiration in a campaign that sees them currently five points from fourth-place Panama and the team requiring points fast to keep themselves in the hunt for a place in Qatar 2022.
National striker Michail Antonio says that he still has the belief that the team can make up the deficit, having picked up five points from their last three games after only accumulating one in their first four. "There are another seven games to play. You see now we are starting to pick up points. We beat Honduras, we've gone away (to El Salvador) and got a point. So we are going to keep going, keep pushing and I believe that we can do it," Antonio told STAR Sports.
Antonio scored his first international goal for Jamaica in Friday's 1-1 draw with El Salvador, which seemed to be the winner until they surrendered a late equaliser in the 90th minute. Antonio, along with Leon Bailey, are among the players that are expected to feature this afternoon that were not present in their last game against the United States on October 7.
US head coach Gregg Berhalter said in his pre-game press conference yesterday that they are looking to concentrate on neutralising the threat that both players possess.
"It's just preparing for them. Just like Mexico had really high level attacking quality, so does Jamaica and we have to be prepared for that," Berhalter said. "The rest of the team we are projecting to be really similar to what we have been facing and then it's also a matter of what we can do and how we can pull them apart, how we can get behind them. That was the focus for the last game."
Jamaica's last win over the United States at "The Office" was on September 7, 2012, in a World Cup qualifying game, courtesy of a Luton Shelton winner.
Jamaica have had a poor record against the Americans, only winning three times, drawing eight and losing 19.
5 p.m. Jamaica vs USA
8:05 p.m. Costa Rica vs Honduras
8:05 p.m. Panama vs El Salvador
9:05 p.m. Canada vs Mexico