Resolute Boyz chase Gold Cup history

Sports

Resolute Boyz chase Gold Cup history

BY IAN BURNETT
Sport Editor

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

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SAN JOSE, California – We are in it to win it!

That's the aim of the Reggae Boyz as they prepare to face the United States of America in today's CONCACAF Gold Cup Tournament final inside Levi's Stadium at 6:30 pm (8:30 pm Jamaica time).

Today's match marks the second consecutive Gold Cup final appearance, following the 1-3 loss to Mexico in 2015. On that occasion Jamaica upset the US and regional powers with their 2-1 triumph, and on Sunday the Reggae Boyz defied the odds yet again by upsetting the applecart with a stunning 1-0 victory over Mexico to deny yet another final between the two footballing superpowers.

The job is not yet done, and the Boyz remain determined, and resolute.

“It's simple for me. Yes, we have to look at what they have to offer, what they bring, but at the same time I'd rather look at us, what we will set out to do against them,” said Jermaine Taylor, who sadly missed the final two years ago after sustaining a right quad injury which sidelined him for eight months.

“When you look at their front six — I think that is the most dangerous part of their team — and if we compare our back six with their front six I think we can nullify what they have to offer, so at the same time we just have to stick to what we have been doing and let that speak for itself,” said a defiant Taylor, now plying his trade at Minnesota United FC in Major League Soccer.

For Darren Mattocks, who plays for Portland Timbers, it's all about proving that Jamaica can compete with the best that the region has to offer.

“To win it,” he said, before adding: “Preparation has gone well, and from the start I said we have the team that could win and we are all the way in the final. A lot of people didn't expect us to be here, but we did and that's the greatest thing. We believe in ourselves and our only mindset going into this is to win it.

“We know what it felt like two years ago when we lost and it was very painful, so we are going to learn from that and make sure in tomorrow's game we put that to good use,” said the man who came off the bench to register Jamaica's consolation goal in the 1-3 loss to Mexico in the final.

Now he wants “to prove a point that Jamaica's football can be at the top”, as well as “marketing ourselves, definitely, and to get exposure from clubs and leagues, so those are some of the motivating factiors”.

Taylor believes that the US bring a different set of problems than Mexico, but he's ready for the challenge and he said the Reggae Boyz will not take anything for granted.

“I think they had a lot more to offer than the US; however, we are not taking anything for granted, we are not getting complacent or anything like that and looking at the overall game for tomorrow I think it's going to be a tough one as the US has a lot more fire power and they will throw a lot of different things at us, so it is important for us as a group to stay disciplined and drive home this victory because it's now or never and we can't be switched off for any second of the game.”

He added: “I know for sure they are going to be watching tapes of our games, but I suspect they are going to take us lightly, knowing that they are America and they think they are world giants and that's good for us; we want to go into the game as underdogs and prove to the world what we can do.”

For Je-Vaughn Watson, a victory today would be important for many reasons.

“It's important in many ways. It's been a while since we have brought a major trophy to Jamaica and it would be a good send-off for Captain Burrell, as a lot of players were not there [for the funeral], so it would be good to win this trophy for him, but with regard to the country on a whole, we are going through some bad stuff, but football brings the country alive, so winning for the country would be good, and personally I want to win it because this is my second final in a row and it is not good to come in second place, so we are looking forward to win this game.

“We know the US team is a good team and it is going to be a hard-fought game, but we have been doing well all tournament with our discipline and going forward we just have to keep the discipline and play good against them,” said Watson, who now plays for the New England Revolution in Major League Soccer.

Like Taylor, reserve goalkeeper Dwayne Miller also missed last year's final after suffering whiplash following a challenge early in the tournament. And yesterday he was forced off the training pitch early after jarring his ankle from a powerful penalty shot by none other than Taylor.

He had his ankle immediately treated and hopefully he will be good to go today, but Taylor is happy for his chance in today's final.

“I'm happy overall, as two years ago I was actually ruled out with an injury from the group stage game and now I'm in the final, so I'm happy. it's a huge game and I'm happy to be a part of it and words just can't explain how I feel and I can't wait to get this one and bring the cup to Jamaica.”

And Watson, known as the vibes master in the group, said that everybody is in a happy mood and ready and rearing to go.

“The mood is good, everybody is buzzing and ready to play because this is the last one and you don't get a lot of opportunities to play in a final, and everybody wants to win it. And it is also good for your résumé, so everybody is buzzing and we can't come this far and turn back. We got a good coach, so what more can we ask for than to go out there and express ourselves and come out victorious?”


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