Former goalie Thompson says Gold Cup-chasing Boyz lacked 'identity'

Sunday, August 01, 2021


Ryan Thompson's concern with the Reggae Boyz's performance in their 0-1 loss to the USA in the quarter-finals of the Concacaf Gold Cup ran deeper than the cosmetic.

The former Jamaica goalkeeper thinks that, while there are many positives to take away from last Sunday's contest at AT&T Stadium, there are some fundamental pillars that were not evident.

The former Harbour View man holds the position and resurrected an age-old argument that Jamaica's football lacks and needs a football philosophy, which would translate to a style of play.

“The concern has always been how organised we can be for 90 minutes…it's never all about talent, and Jamaica is not short on that. With the talent we have, I think it's time we find an identity. And, when I say an identity, I mean how we want to play and what's our style of play, and I think that is what's going to be the challenge.

“When you watch from the stands, we didn't have a clear identity out there tonight [last Sunday night], for example, what we are going to do in the offensive third or the defensive third, and when we win the ball, what are we going to do? Are we going to counter-attack? Are we going to circulate it [the ball]?” Thompson quizzed.

Thompson, who had an outstanding Gold Cup tournament at the 2015 edition, when Jamaica made their first final, says the quarter-final matchup between the rivals was a game of cat and mouse.

“The US team was young, but I think we were better individually, but collectively for the US, it was a game of chess for them as to who was going to make the least number of mistakes, and they capitalise on our mistake.

“The result was unfortunate, but I am optimistic with the players we have going forward. We now need more support from corporate and the wider Jamaica,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

The 36-year-old Thompson, who is currently an assistant coach and head of goalkeeping at USL outfit Austin Bold FC, says it's never an easy pill to swallow whenever Jamaica lose to the USA.

“It's always a disappointment when we lose to the USA. We are better than them this time on paper, but it is more about how we can bring the team together to compete with another team,” he reasoned.

FC Schalke striker Matthew Hoppe, scored the USA's goal in the 83rd minute when he took advantage of a momentary lapse in defence to rise majestically to head home past the outstanding Andre Blake.

But, even in the face of lacking an “identity”, Thompson is confident that the team could still achieve great things, playing to its strengths and within its limitations.

“I want to see the team do well; I want to see these players kicking down doors so they can pave the way for other players to come. I think we have a bright future ahead of us and I think we have great opportunity to make it to the Word Cup.

“I think we have a good group of players; I think for the first time in a long time you could look to number one to forty, and you could select anybody on any given day. So, credit to whoever is selecting the players,” Thompson said.

— Sean Williams