VIRGINIA, USA — Within 48 hours of the friendly international against Central American outfit El Salvador, Jamaica's Reggae Boyz were trickling in at their Crowne Plaza Hotel base in Herndon, Virginia as their opponents arrived en mass at the same location at about 6:00 pm yesterday.
The game is set for 8:15 pm (7:15 pm Jamaica time) tomorrow at the RFK Stadium in Washington, DC, and is the last major practice encounter ahead of the September 7 CONCACAF World Cup qualifier against the United States.
The US and Jamaica are joint leaders of the four-team Group A with four points from two games. Guatemala and Antigua and Barbuda trail with a point each.
The Boyz are also slated to face African side Kenya on August 25 in Connecticut, but that game will see mainly local-based players in action as it is not a FIFA sanctioned date for international football.
Ten players — Lovel Palmer, Jermaine Taylor, JeVaughn Watson, Ryan Johnson, Omar Cummings, Luton Shelton, Dicoy Williams, Jacomena Barrett, Ewan Grandison and Joel Senior — arrived for a gymnasium session at 6:30 pm (5:30 pm Jamaica time), which had to be split into two sessions because only a maximum of five persons could be accommodated simultaneously.
The other members of the 20-man squad — Dwayne Miller, O'Brian Woodbine, Andrae Campbell, Jason Morrison, Damian Williams, Darren Mattocks, Dane Richards, Shavar Thomas, Keneil Moodie and Xavian Virgo — were scheduled to join the group later last night.
The Boyz are set to have a practice session today at 6:00 pm (5:00 pm Jamaica time) at a venue yet to be decided, giving head coach Theodore Whitmore and his technical staff just one opportunity together with the players on the pitch before the game.
The last time the two teams met Jamaica emerged 3-2 winners in an away friendly. On that occasion, Dane Richards hit a brace and Omar Cummings added the other goal. Both players are in this squad and could be looking to repeat.
El Salvador are third on one point in their CONCACAF World Cup qualifying group after earning a 2-2 draw with Central American powerhouse Costa Rica, before being edged 1-2 by Mexico at home.
This game marks their fifth friendly international in the United States since the start of this year by El Salvador, who lost 0-2 to Estonia, drew 2-2 with New Zealand, beat Maldova 2-0, and then being hammered 0-3 by Honduras.