Update: Jamaica celebrates victory against El Salvador on Tuesday (July 14) as it targets a first CONCACAF Gold Cup title at Toronto’s BMO Field in Canada. Jamaica’s Midfielder Garath McCleary scored the winning goal for Jamaica in the 72nd-minute to bag his second goal of the tournament and ensured that the Reggae Boyz topped Group B, to set up a quarter-final on Saturday against Haiti. The Boyz will now take Haiti at the M&T Bank Stadium – Baltimore, Maryland in the United States on July 18.
The Reggae Boyz are riding high after a 1-0 victory over Canada on Saturday thanks to a stoppage-time goal by Rodolph Austin. Their persistence and determination had fans, the entire squad plus coach Winfried Schafer excited about the rest of the tournament.
This is Garath McCleary’s second goal of the competition!
The Caribbean side, which had arrived at the Gold Cup after a winless performance as a guest team at the Copa America, created the better chances throughout an even encounter. Jamaica were also indebted to a heroic performance between the posts by substitute goalkeeper Ryan Thompson, who replaced Dwayne Miller after 22 minutes.
Thompson, who plays in the United Soccer League – the third tier of football in the United States – made several key blocks to keep El Salvador at bay during the second half.
Jamaica, which had already been assured of a place in the last eight after a draw with Costa Rica and a win over Canada, were forced to endure a nervy finish when Darren Mattocks was shown a red card for a second bookable offence.
But despite pressure from El Salvador, Jamaica, whose squad includes several players from the lower reaches of English football, held firm.
Time Match : 6 pm ET
Watch: Fox Sports 1, UniMas, UDN in the US; Sportsnet World in Canada
Coupled with their group-opening draw against Costa Rica, Jamaica can claim the No. 1 spot with a win or draw. El Salvador, with draws against Canada and Costa Rica, can win the group with a victory and Costa Rica loss or draw.
Defender Adrian Mariappa hinted Jamaica are targeting overall glory at the CONCACAF Gold Cup as they look ahead to their clash with El Salvador.
Mariappa declared Jamaica’s confidence is sky-high heading into Tuesday’s clash with El Salvador, with the Caribbean nation needing just a draw to cement their spot in the Gold Cup quarter-finals.
“We were all up for [Canada] and now we’ve a lot of confidence going forward to the El Salvador game,” the 28-year-old said, according to The Gleaner.
Jamaica lead Group B with four points, two ahead of both Costa Rica and El Salvador, with Canada bottom of the standings with one.
Mariappa and Co. are looking to become the first Jamaica team to reach the Gold Cup last-four since 1998, although the Crystal Palace man seems to believe they could go even further.
“We know that we can achieve things,” he said.
“So this tournament is something we’re all very focused about, achieving what we think we can.
“So going into the next game, we definitely want to get another positive result.”
Jamaica will head into the match against El Salvador in Toronto having not lost to the Central Americans since 2000, with five wins in that period, including three in a row.
El Salvador has generally had the better of their two matches so far but have been unable to turn their dominance in terms of goal-scoring opportunities into victory.
It has been an ongoing theme for Albert Roca’s team, with the Salvadorans having only triumphed in one of their eight matches this year.
El Salvador needed a stoppage-time volley from Dustin Corea to earn a 1-1 draw with Costa Rica on Saturday but even if they lose, Roca’s side could advance to the quarter-finals as one of the leading two third-placed teams.
Roca’s men currently lead the third-place standings with two points ahead of the final round of group matches.