GLENDALE, Arizona -- Jamaica's run to the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup final may have been sweet, but continued success for the Caribbean power in this year’s edition could taste even better.
With a roster missing all of the England-based standouts from two years ago, expectations were tempered. Yet, the Reggae Boyz are ready to meet Mexico on Sunday night at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California – a rematch of the 2015 decider.
As a result of Thursday’s 2-1 quarterfinal win over Canada, the transition period has officially been narrowed.
"It was big for us," said goalkeeper Andre Blake, who made several big saves down the stretch to thwart the Candians. "A lot of people don't believe in us, but that's OK as long as we believe in each other."
The Jamaicans had many heroes. Romario Williams and Shaun Francis netted once each, while the relentless Darren Mattocks set up both goals.
"We know what we're capable of as a group," Williams remarked. "We have all of the confidence of each and every guy in the locker room."
In going unbeaten in four Gold Cup games (2W-2D-0L) and conceding only two goals, this Jamaican side is noticeably focused, combining a solid defense and a pacey counterattack.
“That's our mentality. make it hard for everyone to score against us,” commented defender Kemar Lawrence, who played in the 2015 final. “We were not going to give away anything.”
So, how far can Jamaica go?
"The sky's the limit," Blake finished. "We're going to push ourselves as much as possible."
Jamaica and Mexico met earlier in the tournament, a scoreless Group A draw on July 13.