GUATEMALA City, Guatemala — Jamaica's Reggae Boyz bossed Friday night's crucial encounter against Guatemala in their CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying Play-off Series and didn't deserve to lose.
That's the view of Alfredo Montesso, assistant coach of the team, when he spoke to the Jamaica Observer a few hours after the game at the team's Hotel Vista Real base.
The Boyz rallied from a 16th-minute Carlos Figueroa strike to level the score in the 61st via a Luton Shelton penalty, but misfortune struck five minutes from the end when captain Carlos Ruiz popped up to glance home a firm header to give the Central Americans all three points.
"I thought the team played well and they didn't deserve the result that they got," Montesso said.
But the Brazilian was quick to point out that a few elementary mistakes did not help their cause. He lamented that some players didn't recognise the tone of the game and didn't make the necessary adjustments in such a hostile environment.
"I think that we have to learn the lesson because when you play away... it is something that you have to make adjustments... I think that we held on to the ball too much sometimes, though we received some fouls that the referee never gave."
He was referring specifically to the play at the end when Shelton lost possession and Gregory Ruiz launched a long range shot which Dwayne Miller mishandled, resulting in the corner which led to the winning goal.
"When you play away you to have to identify those situations and adjust and be more consistent, so the result is not something that we were expecting... but I don't think it is over yet, as it will be very difficult for Guatemala to play in America, but we have to play our part in Jamaica by beating Antigua by at least three goals," he said.
The United States, who defeated Antigua and Barbuda (A&B), 2-1, at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium Friday, and Guatemala are joint top of the four-team Group A with 10 points, three ahead of Jamaica, with A&B at the bottom with one point.
The leaders have identical goal averages of +3, while Jamaica currently have a zero goal average. A victory for Jamaican on Tuesday by at least three goals and any loss in the other tie will see them advancing to the final round of six teams, where three gain automatic berths to the Brazil 2014 World Cup Finals, and the fourth-placed team engage in a two-way tie with the winner of Oceania.
Montesso was also at a loss to explain the sluggishness of some players in the early stages of the game.
"I think that was another piece of the game that we paid the price for, not to be focused. They had a few occasions when they had control of the ball in front of our goal and we never attacked them for the ball and we had to adjust that during the game with Jason (Morrison) and Taylor (Jermaine) in midfield when we pushed them a little bit in front and we started to get control of the second balls and then we were able to control the game in midfield and we started to create those chances.
"Unfortunately, I think we should have got some more from this type of game because many times we got in good positions in front of goal to finish (score), and I really didn't want to talk about it, but we really missed Austin (Rodolph, who was recovering from an ankle injury) in this game because he has been finishing really well."
According to Montesso, the coaching staff and the players are gutted by the inability of the team to hit the target, which ultimately led to
"It's very disappointing for us as coaches, but it's very disappointing for them as players as well because we spoke a lot before the game and at half-time and after the game and said they should have been more calm and relaxed when we got inside the 18-yard box.
"But sometimes we just want to finish with one touch and sometimes that is not possible and therefore we needed to be more calm and patient and finish this ball inside with two touches, but we didn't.
"They were really disappointed after the game because they felt that they played a good game and when you... don't get the result that you need you feel disappointed.
"But this is football and we paid the price... but we still have our hopes in this game against Antigua and wait for what is to come from the game with Guatemala and America."
The assistant coach said he is confident the team will rebound against A&B next Tuesday because of the manner in which it is beginning to create goalscoring opportunities.
"What really gives us the confidence is the number of opportunities that we created against Guatemala, so if we push the game in that direction and we create as many chances... we hope to capitalise on some more of them.
"This is what we are going to concentrate our efforts on in training, but it will not be easy because Antigua almost drew with the US. They are a very organised team, but I think we have to push when we play at home because we have 100 per cent win record at home and we have to try to continue that," he added.
Morrison, who picked up a yellow card caution in the 76th, is suspended for Tuesday's game, having already been cautioned in the 90th+ against A&B on June 12.
However, Austin and Adrian Mariappa, who both missed the game through injuries, should return and Montesso revealed that a couple of locally-based players will be added to the 23-man roster as Kavin Bryan was also ruled out of Friday's game with an injury.
The team was scheduled to return home last evening after departing Guatemala City in two batches for Miami. They will go directly into camp in preparations for Tuesday's last shot to salvage the Brazil 2014 World Cup Finals.
Jamaica — Dwayne Miller, Nyron Nosworthy, Shavar Thomas, Demar Phillips, Lovell Palmer, Jermaine Taylor, Jason Morrison, Jermaine Hue (Tramaine Stewart 83rd), Je-Vaughn Watson (Dane Richards 42nd), Ryan Johnson (Omar Cummings 77th), Luton Shelton.
Subs not used: Jacomeno Barrett, DuWayne Kerr, Dicoy Williiams, Andrae Campbell, Rodolph Austin, Ewan Grandison, Adrian Mariappa, Joel Senior, Abdre Lewis
Booked: Nosworthy (53rd), Morrison (76th)
Guatemala — Ricardo Jerez, Ruben Morales, Elias Vasquez, Erwin Morales, Jonathan Lopez, Manuel Leon, Jose Contreras, Marco Papa (Dwaight Pezzarossi 68th), Carlos Figueroa (Marco Ciani 74th), Minor Lopez (Gregory Ruiz 66th), Carlos Ruiz.
Subs not used: Jaime Carbajal, Cristian Alvarez, Wilson Lalin, Wilfred Velasquez, Gonzalo Romero, Henry Lopez, Mario Rodriquez, Claudio Albizuris, Sergio Trujillo
Booked: Minor Lopez (53rd), Contreras (59th), Ciani (90th+)
Referee: Roberto Garcia (Mexico)
Assistant Referees: Jose Luis Camargo (Mexico), Alberto Morin (Mexico)
Fourth Official: Francisco Chacon (Mexico)
Match Commissary: Hubert Isenia (Curacao)
Referee Inspector: Luis Enrique Yero (Cuba)