The Reggae Boyz must recalibrate before Tuesday’s CONCACAF Final Round World Cup Qualifying match against Costa Rica after a weekend of lamenting a 1-1 draw against Panama.
Marvin Elliott gave the Jamaicans a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute of play on Friday, only to have Luiz Henriquez of Panama counter the goal in the 66th minute. No one scored the rest of the way.
This was frustrating for the Reggae Boyz because they were coming off a 0-0 tie against Mexico at Azteca Stadium in Mexico.
“We had a talk with the team because I believe we lost an opportunity to win the game in Jamaica,” Jamaica senior men’s national team’s assistant coach Alfredo Montesso told The Jamaica Gleaner. “I think that we didn’t believe that we would kill the game after we scored the first goal.”
One area of focus that Boyz have heavily concentrated on since their draw, is maintaining their formation, especially with central midfield pair of Rodolph Austin and Elliot. The team spent 90 minutes Saturday focusing on fixing their errors.
Montesso said that team tended to lose their formation when they were moving too much inside of the field, especially when the Boyz turned the ball over. This leaves them vulnerable and unbalanced in the game, allowing for the opposition to take advantage.
“They [Austin and Marvin] were keeping more composure and every time at least one of them was central in the middle of the pitch to give options for the team to move the ball from the zone of the pressure, this is what we were talking to them,” Montesso said.
The draw has left the Boyz with a total of two points along with Panama and Mexico, who also drew on Friday with a 2-2 tie against Honduras. Honduras leads the group with four points, followed by the United States with three points.
“It is good to get our minds back into the game, realize what we did and approach this game against Costa Rica because it will be another test to remain in the competition,” Montesso said.
If they do not win or at least draw Tuesday night, the Boyz could see their World Cup hopes vanish.