U-17 Boyz won't take Guadeloupe lightly — Gordon
Jamaica players celebrate scoring a goal against Cuba during the Concacaf Men's Under-17 Championship Group G match at the Doroteo Guamuch Flores stadium in Guatemala on Sunday. (Photo: Concacaf)

JAMAICA will look to get two wins from as many games in the Concacaf Under-17 Men's Championship against Guadeloupe on Tuesday.

Coupled with a 4-2 win over Cuba on Sunday, another win for the junior Reggae Boyz would see them advance from Group G into the knockout round as they seek a spot in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Peru this November.

But Head Coach Merron Gordon is not expecting an easy task for Jamaica as he sees Guadeloupe as a good team, in spite of their 1-2 loss to Costa Rica also on Sunday.

"We saw them tonight against Costa Rica," Gordon said after the win over Cuba. "[They're] not a bad team, got two early goals on them but they settled and they fought. The game finished 2-1. It will be a tighter group than everybody else might think. I knew that at this age group football is very close so we just have to do what we have to do, tactically and technically, to get the desired result each game."

Gordon says the team went through recovery work on Monday morning, then tactical drills that afternoon to prepare for Guadeloupe. It is likely that these drills also addressed the two late goals Jamaica conceded to Cuba.

"I'm a little bit disappointed with the last 10-15 minutes of the game but they are U-17 players," Gordon said. "We made some changes based on injuries and cards; we didn't want to risk much. I didn't think we saw out the game as best as we could."

It is the first tournament which these players are featured in as a team, and with Gordon in charge. As such, Gordon says the team was cautious in its approach to the first match.

"At half-time — because of what I thought was them not wanting to make a mistake in the first game — we were playing too directly, and at half-time we reminded them of their options when they had the ball," he said. "We played better — we could mix the play, play through the lines also, play directly when we needed to. We got that right for the better of about 30 minutes of the second half and we played some good football."

But Gordon was pleased, overall, with the performance and what he says was maturity shown by young players.

"From in the activation this morning I could see the focus in the boys' eyes," he said. "The body language was very positive, and even the travelling from the hotel to the stadium, so I knew they were going to give a good performance, give a good start. They did that.

"I'm seeing maturity in the boys in terms of how they are growing. Goals were a concern at one point for these boys but we scored four goals today; we created a number of chances. Everybody thought this Cuban team was a walkover but they're very very good in the final third. But, I think we are strong in areas where they are weak and that's what we used to really counter them and get the result that we needed. Hats off to the boys, and hats off to the coaching staff. I think we really worked hard for this one."

It is unsure if Gordon will make changes to the line-up against Guatemala, and if so, how many. Ahir Dixon, the captain, is expected to partner Malik Robinson at the centre of defence again, ahead of Taywane Lynch the goalkeeper. Orane Watson, who scored a brace, is expected to continue up front, as is Jahwani Bell who also scored. Ashton Gordon was a second-half substitute against Cuba but also found the net. He could feature from the start on Tuesday, though.

Jamaica will have to pay attention to Guadeloupe's Danny's Cordinel and Willan Jacques who kept the Costa Ricans busy in defence on Sunday. They will also need to prevent right back Jil-Lyan Forlac from making his defence-splitting passes and overlaps, as he did on Sunday.

The game is to be played at Doroteo Guamuch Flores Stadium in Guatemala City, Guatemala, at 5:00 pm Jamaica time.

Jamaica's Jahmani Bell (right) celebrates scoring with teammate Orane Watson during the Concacaf Men's Under-17 Championship Group G match against Cuba at the Doroteo Guamuch Flores stadium in Guatemala on Sunday. (Photo: Concacaf)
Orane Watson (left) of Jamaica competes for the ball with Enzo Viamontes of Cuba during the Concacaf Men's Under-17 Championship Group G match at the Doroteo Guamuch Flores stadium in Guatemala on Sunday. (Photo: Concacaf)
BY RACHID PARCHMENT Digital sports coordinator parchmentr@jamaicaobserver.com

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