KANSAS CITY, Kansas — Their faces told the story: dejection.
Even though it was always going to be an uphill task long before the kick-off, Jamaica's Reggae Boyz were still banking on a victory against the USA at Sporting Park here on Friday night, in an eleventh-hour bid to save their fading campaign.
And for a spell, it appeared that they were capable of pulling it off until their constructive game made a dramatic dip with some 20 minutes to play. Soon after, the USA scored a goal through substitute Graham Zusi in the 77th minute, and three minutes later, Jozy Altidore delivered the coup de grace for a 2-0 scoreline.
Crystal Palace defender Adrian Mariappa expressed mixed feeling about the game.
"In the game tonight we did really well up to about 65 minutes. I thought that when Je-Vaughn (Watson) came off that was a big loss for us as he was having a great game, as he was dominating the midfield," he said.
Mariappa, who partnered Leicester City's Wes Morgan, said Jamaica should have done better in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers — shamefully positioned at the bottom of the tournament with only four points from nine matches.
"This round of the campaign has been disappointing from my point of view because with the players that we have we should be able to qualify, but there have been a lot of changes with managers, other personnel and players and that didn't help; there was also injuries that obviously played a part.
"Also, we conceded too many goals and we didn't score enough and that's something that we need to work on for the future," Mariappa told the Sunday Observer.
Rodolph Austin, who captained the team in the absence of injured Jermaine Taylor, also believed the team played a sound game in the 4-3-3 formation.
"I thought tonight we played very well as a team as we tried to keep the ball and knock it around, but it was just unfortunate that we didn't score... every game you lose with the national team is painful, but we just have to learn from what happened this time around, so when it (World Cup qualification) comes around, we will be prepared," said the Leeds United captain.
For Jamaica's final game against Honduras on Tuesday at the National Stadium, Austin says the team owes the Jamaica fans a good show.
"We haven't won a game in this final round, and I think it would be good if we could finish up with a victory," said the former Portmore United man.
Meanwhile, Waterhouse front man, the irrepressible Jermaine 'Tuffy' Anderson, did not mince words in expressing his letdown by his teammates after they conceded the first goal.
"Mi feel a way still, enuh, but I just want people to know that I get nine minutes and mi try mi best... we haffi just figet the past and just come again... I always look forward to play and fight, and trust mi, wi still need the fight, as when the first goal score on us I could see it on the players dat dem face drop, and mi tell dem dat nuh needed," said the local league's top-scorer.