On a bleak, rainy night, Jamaica's National Stadium was not a familiar place anymore. For a moment, I thought I was in San Jose. But gazing up at the Long Mountain to the east were familiar landmarks, so this must be Kingston.
With Costa Rican fans in their red, white and blue colours representing the dominant numbers in the Reggae Boyz's World Cup qualifier against the Central Americans on Tuesday night, the spattering of Jamaican supporters had no voice. They had surrendered their fortress to the invading forces.
The poor turnout from a Jamaican perspective was a pointed message that local fans had lost hope in the Boyz.
Only diehard supporters huddled in small pockets stood up to avert a total national disgrace.
The occasion brought back memories of the RFK Stadium, Washington DC, USA, 1997, when Jamaicans, clad in the national colours of black, green and gold, overran the 51,528 capacity stadium.
But it also brought back memories of how Reggae Boyz were cheated of a victory when Ian 'Pepe' Goodison was wrongfully penalised for a handball outside the penalty area, but the Chilean referee awarded the Yanks a penalty. The game ended 1-1.
And that's the same scoreline between the Boyz of today in their crucial Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifier against the Costa Ricans on Tuesday night, a result which in effect extended Jamaica's slim outside chance for a fourth-place play-off, as they lie at the bottom of the hexagonal with four points.
Local cult hero, Jermaine 'Tuffy' Anderson, entered the battle in the 68th minute to replace Marlon King, at the exact time, Costa Rica's second substitution was made, as Randall Brenes replaced their main tormentor, Diego Calvo. Both would directly impact the proceedings, as Brenes benefited from goalkeeper Richard McCallum's errant grounded cross-field, defensive lapse to convert at the near post, five minutes after his entry.
Eventually at the death, Anderson would have to patiently await his moment of glory. The Waterhouse FC hitman, ran around trying desperately to catch a feel of the game, as he hustled on the right flank. After he received a pass from Lloyd Doyley, he inflicted what appeared a nasty left arm blow to the face of Costa Rica's Michael Umana, which he was lucky to get away with.
He, again, was pushing the envelope, as he was fully extended on the opposite side of the park, failing to hit the ball cleanly as his left-footer skewed away towards the corner post from Doyley's accurate cross.
It was his third major involvement that brought redemption to a man left wandering in the international football wilderness for far too long.
When he finally scored, 'Tuffy' got a hero's applause, and rightly so for a man who has exhibited commitment to country, confidence in self, and professionalism in the line of duty, to produce in the most prized skill as the consummate goalscorer.
The rest of the game was disappointing from both teams, as Costa Rica showed glimpses of their ability largely through Calvo's exploits on the left, and captain Bryan Ruiz, while the young sensation Joel Campbell appeared infrequently.
The Costa Ricans were more focused on securing a fourth FIFA World Cup place, and so they protected their goal knowing a draw would propel them to Brazil. Los Ticos, as a clear game plan, counter-attacked whenever the Boyz exposed themselves defensively.
The Jamaicans were more reserved in their attitude and approach that lacked genuine enthusiasm, save for a few players at different times, but not seemingly a united team effort. They looked bent on running a mile rather than being a world-class sprinter like Usain Bolt or pocket-rocket, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
Two defensive lines of three players deployed in a back of three, marshalled by Wes Morgan, Jermaine Taylor and the welcome return of Adrian Mariappa, and was deeper reinforced by another line of three defensive midfielders, spread across the park, in Marvin Elliott in the centre, flanked on the left by Shaun Cummings, and Doyley, right.
Unnecessary and unproductive ball possession, lack of ball-handling skills, pressure and desperation culminated with long arbitrary punts up field, usually leading to turnovers to the opponents.
Little or no productivity but hardworking, coming from the possession and attacking midfielders in Jobi McAnuff and Garath McCleary, who purposely sprang to life in the second half with three or four shots goalwards. None really threatening, following consistent solo dribbling that on one occasion looked promising, but definitely not in the class of the strangely excluded Jermaine 'Teddy' Johnson, who warmed the bench all night.
Captain on the night Luton Shelton looked to have a real focus on goal but after about three shots on target, high pressing and tackles he was curiously replaced at the half-time. Why? King not match-fit from an absence since February tried to answer the call but after being set-up early by Shelton, his attempts fizzled and was rightfully replaced by Anderson.
The third substitution was even stranger, as in desperation, Elliott gave way to another attacker Chris Humphrey in minute 82 for a last hurrah, as McAnuff was relegated to defensive duty. He looked surprised and reluctantly dragged himself into position to strike a few passes right side, then on making one tackle actually stopped and walked back to the position as all around ran to recover, at that time he was dead tired, frustrated and had no more to offer, having spent all his energy toiling in attack throughout the game.
The now unproductive dribbling of McCleary attracted three players, as is customary to pass it back into defence to left-sided captain, Taylor who had been pushing every button he could find to penetrate the opponents backline. Once again, he launched a long ball, this time diagonally to the right far post ahead of the streaking Anderson.
As custodian Patrick Pemberton advanced to hold his near post to block the anticipated right-footed shot, cunningly Tuffy changed feet in mid-stride to extend his left-foot, guiding it delicately into the far post away from him to score in time added on.