MONTEGO BAY, St James — Both Jamaica and the United States were satisfied with a 0-0 draw in yesterday's Under-17 international friendly game at Jarrett Park — the first in their two-match series -- as they continued their preparation for the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers here next month.
Despite few scoring chances going to either team, the game was well contested, with the intensity level rising at times as both teams pushed forward.
Jamaica's head coach, Wendell Downswell was happy with his defence, but said they had work to do at the offensive end of the field.
Describing the United States as "a superior team", one that has qualified for every FIFA Under-17 World Cup, Downswell said the exercise was a good one for his team.
"I think overall it was a good exercise for us. Defensively, we played well; they did not get behind us too often," he reasoned.
At the other end, however, Downswell said he thought his players did not give enough effort.
"I'm still not pleased with offensive thrust," he said. "We still have some players, especially in the midfield, that did not give us the quality performance that we were expecting," he added.
"But it's our first game at home (after the tour to Brazil) and we will have some new players in for the second game, so hopefully, we will have the opportunity to see some other quality players and see how well they can handle themselves," Downswell said.
American head coach, Wilmer Cabrera admitted they did not have all their best players for the trip.
"This is their first international; that is the best way to see how they can take this level of performance and possibility to see if they can play in the national team," Cabrera told reporters after the game.
Asked if this same set of players would be back next month for the tournament, Cabrera said, "It is up to them; this is a test for them. Right now they're putting themselves up".
"We have 40 guys (in the squad) so we need to see which 20 can make the roster to come here in three weeks," he stated.
Overall he said he was pleased with yesterday's game.
"I'm happy. It was a good game; good level competition and obviously we have to do other things," he said while lauding the Jamaican team.
"Jamaica team is very good team, one of the top teams, and is going to be one of the favourites also to take this qualifying tournament."
However, like Downswell, Cabrera was not happy with the offensive thrust of this team.
"We had more of the possession, but we only created two or three chances ... that is not good enough and we must look to score goals," he said.
The Americans had the best two chances in the first half as Alfred Koroma's long-range shot in the 10th minute was knocked down by goalkeeper Odean Clarke and collected on the second attempt.
A mistake by Jamaican defender Keino Wallace in the 31st minute allowed Christian Duarte to get inside the penalty area, but his shot went just wide of the far left post.
Jamaica came forward late in the first half and started better in the second as the UK-based Patrick Hadden, who replaced Romario Williams, should have scored with his first touch in the 54th.
He ran onto a high ball into the penalty area and with goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh advancing off his line, sent the ball inches wide.
Jamaica's captain Omar Holness got a good chance in the 59th, but he kicked straight at goalkeeper McIntosh.