MONTERREY, Mexico – Jamaica’s head coach Lorne Donaldson has a lot of friends in the US national women’s team, but will put that aside as the Reggae Girlz take on the Americans in a crucial World Cup Qualifier at the CONCACAF Women’s Championship on Thursday.
“We know their players. I have coached a lot of those players and I personally have a lot of friends on that team. But we have to put that aside and go out and compete,” said Donaldson during a pre-game press conference at the Camino Real Hotel alongside senior player Deneisha Blackwood.
Both the USA and Jamaica are atop of the four-team group with three points and the winner of the clash would almost certainly book their spot in the World Cup.
The USA defeated Haiti 3-0 and Jamaica edged Mexico 1-0 in their opening group encounters, and coach Donaldson said he would have to tweak his tactics as the USA are aware of what the Reggae Girlz bring to the table.
“They are the number one team in the world for a long, long time and it’s a challenge for us,” said Donaldson.
“We know what we gonna bring. We will go out there and give it all our best and let the chip fall where they may and see what happens,” he added.
The usually fluent and marauding Americans were not at their best against Haiti but Donaldson expects the US to adjust against the Jamaicans.
“Haiti had some success but I am sure the US is going to make the adjustment,” he pointed out.
“They know our personnel very well so they are going to make some adjustments on what we saw, so we will have to look to exploit different stuff. But we will try to do some different stuff from Haiti and I am sure they will not be vulnerable to the same things that Haiti did, they will adjust,” he emphasised.
Meanwhile, Blackwood who provided the assist for Khadija Shaw to nod home the winner against Mexico, is oozing with confidence.
“I think our confidence has been the same and I think it is even bigger right now because obviously that was a very big win for us and we are grateful for it. Team confidence never drops despite us winning or losing and that’s a very big thing for us,” Blackwood pointed out
She continued: “Football is a funny thing you can never control the outcome of it but one thing I know is that we are not gonna go out there and make it look easy for anybody”.