SAN DIEGO, California -- Jamaica opened its 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign Sunday by keeping its perfect record in the competition against Caribbean teams intact.
The Reggae Boyz improved to 3-0-0 with an impressive 2-0 win over Curacao on goals by Romario Williams (his first for Jamaica) and Darren Mattocks, who netted in a third straight Gold Cup match.
“It was a professional performance” said Jamaica head coach Theodore Whitmore. “We achieved what we wanted to do against Curacao and that was to get three points. We have done exactly what we needed to and we also have a clean sheet. So with Mexico and El Salvador games to come, all we need is another three points and we can get a spot into the quarterfinals of the competition.”
Goalkeeper Andre Blake, who earned man of the match honors in his first-ever Gold Cup game, admitted that the encounter was more difficult than the final score indicated. He was kept busy throughout the encounter, facing 19 shots.
“The first half was very frustrating” said the Philadelphia Union star. “I was urging my defenders to push up and not sit back as this invites pressure on us. I am happy I was able to be agile for these shots at me as some of them I couldn’t see. But I am glad my positioning was excellent for those occasions and to get a clean sheet on my Gold Cup debut was a special moment for me. To be the first Jamaican goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet in my Gold Cup debut game by starting is a humbling moment as well.”
Next up for the Jamaicans is rematch of the 2015 final on Thursday against Mexico, a 3-1 winner over El Salvador.
“It’s a tough game,” Blake finished. “They made life hard for us at the Copa America in 2016, so we want to return the favour come Thursday night.”