Jamaica looks to pick up Gold Cup pace
Je-Vaughn Watson (pictured) and Jamaica will take on Canada in the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals on July 20, 2017, in Glendale, Arizona, USA. (Photo: AFP)

SAN ANTONIO, Texas –Jamaica progressed beyond the CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage for the seventh time thanks to a 1-1 draw with El Salvador on Sunday at the Alamodome.

Head coach Theodore Whitmore, however, was not satisfied with the way his squad concluded Group C play.

“I am disappointed with our performance.  We started a bit slow,” said Whitmore.  “It wasn’t the type of performance we can be proud of, but we welcome the point.”

The point gave the Reggae Boyz five in the standings, good enough to finish second and set-up a quarterfinal meeting against Canada in Glendale, Arizona, on Thursday.

Forward Darren Mattocks, who has scored in four of his last five Gold Cup games (including a penalty kick against El Salvador), believes that the level of intensity needs to be increased.  

“Compared to the last two games, this, by far, was not good enough,” the 26-year-old remarked.  “We were chasing the game for 60 to 70 minutes.  We were fortunate to get a PK in this game.

“We needed this type of game to check ourselves because we had a pretty experienced team last time that took us to the final.  It’s a different team now, a bunch of younger players.  We need the guys with experience to go all the way.  It’s a tough task, but I think the players are good enough to do it.”

After netting in the 2015 Gold Cup semifinals and final, Mattocks is ready to steer the Jamaican bid for a return to the decider.

“I think these guys look up to me to put the ball in the net, but it’s going to have to be a total team effort,” finished the Portland Timbers standout.  “We have a good team.  We just need to put it together.” 

Jamaica is unbeaten in 12 of its last 14 Gold Cup outings (9W-3D-2L).