'It hurts in the gut!'

Sunday, August 01, 2021

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Former Reggae Boyz strongman Jermaine Taylor was nowhere near to tears, but his disappointment was as palpable as the Texas heat.

Taylor — who resides in Austin, not far away from Arlington where Jamaica lost 0-1 to hosts USA in the Conacaf Gold Cup — was deeply hurt by the defeat.

He would have been involved in massive games against the USA in his playing days, and even though he had to watch from the sidelines as the Boyz were eliminated at the quarter-final stage last week Sunday, Taylor was just as emotional by the defeat as players.

“It's always tough when we get beaten by the USA as we always want to kick these guys off the field. When you play international football, it's like a war — it's nation against nation.

“I just wish I could be out there to put a tackle here and there and put some of those guys on the floor. It hurts in the gut, but overall, I like the fight from the team, and I take comfort in that,” Taylor told the Jamaica Observer after the AT&T Stadium showdown.

Taylor was on the pitch when Jamaica dispatched the USA 2-1 in the semi-final of the Gold Cup at Georgia Dome in 2015. Giles Barnes (31st minute) and Darren Mattocks (36th) had given Jamaica a first-half 2-0 lead before Michael Bradley pulled a goal back in the 48th.

The Portland native, who plays professionally for United Soccer League outfit Austin Bold FC, thinks that, despite the loss in Texas, the Boyz put in a good shift.

“Watching from a different angle, I thought overall it was a good performance from the guys tonight, but not getting the ball into the back of the net was a big factor.

“You know that once you score goals, it will give you some comfort in terms of progressing in the game,” he reasoned.

Taylor, who was a giant at the centre of Jamaica's defence for over 100 games, said some areas of the performance were “solid”.

“I thought they played well in different areas of the field — they were rock solid in defence and midfield. But, you know how football works, if you don't get the ball into the back of the net, then you could lose the game.

“The fact is we didn't take our chances, and the [USA] didn't create much except for that one opportunity. But that's the game, you will win some and you will lose some. You have to just live with it and move on,” said the former Houston Dynamo stalwart.

Taylor, 36, says there is hope for the team despite the Gold Cup let-down, and he is willing to stake handsomely that the current crop of players have what it takes to go all the way to you know where.

“I like this group of players, and I think if we keep these guys together, the sky is the limit for this team. It's a short turnaround before the World Cup qualifiers start, so we have to make sure we have the plans in place if we want to get to Qatar 2022, which should be the ultimate prize,” Taylor noted.

Even with his maturing years, Taylor — like fine wine — mellows with the years, staying on the ball in the professional realms as a regular with the Austin franchise.

“I am still playing, but I have not been in the international market, like playing for my country for various reasons.but, I am actively playing for Austin Bold FC, where I have been playing for the last three years. So, I am still active and ready for anything that will be thrown at me,” Taylor ended.

Meanwhile, the USA and Mexico are due to clash in the Gold Cup final at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas today at 8:00 pm (6:00 pm Jamaica time).