Late Austin strike lifts Jamaica over Canada
Jamaica's Rodolph Austin (pictured) celebrates after scoring against Canada in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on July 11, 2015, in Houston. (Photo: Mexsport)

HOUSTON, Texas – Rodolph Austin scored an injury-time winner as Jamaica recorded a dramatic 1-0 victory over Canada in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Saturday night.

The victory provisionally placed Jamaica (1-1-0, 4 points) at the top of the Group B table, while Canada (0-1-1, 1 point) remains on one point. Costa Rica (0-1-0, 1 point) and El Salvador (0-1-0, 1 point) will square off later in the evening.

With the match seemingly heading for a goalless stalemate at BBVA Compass Stadium, the 30-year-old Austin headed Garath McCleary’s cross from the right wing past goalkeeper Kenny Stamatopolous two minutes into second-half stoppage time.

The Reggae Boyz created most of the scoring chances, coming close to scoring on several occasions. They found themselves denied either by the resolute Stamatopolous or the woodwork, in a game that proved to be a scrappy affair at times in stifling heat that necessitated a water break in the 38th minute.

Prior to Austin’s late heroics, Jamaica had created the two most clear-cut chances.

In the 28th minute, a rebound fell to defender Kemar Lawrence, who drove into the box on the left-side, only to see his shot partially blocked by Stamatopolous. Defender David Edgar then did well to clear the ball off the line.

The Caribbean champion came closer in the 60th minute, when Houston Dynamo forward Giles Barnes, playing at his home stadium, slammed his free kick against the crossbar from just outside the box.

Barnes also forced Stamatopolous to palm away his volley in the 72nd minute and then turned provider, feeding second-half substitute Darren Mattocks, who poked his attempt wide with three minutes remaining in normal time.

Although Canada found it difficult to generate much offense, Tosaint Ricketts was released into the box with only goalkeeper Dwayne Miller to beat in the 12th minute. The custodian rushed out to pull off a superb block at point-blank range.

On the final day of Group B play in Toronto on Tuesday, the Jamaicans meet El Salvador in the first game of a doubleheader at BMO Field, while Canada faces Costa Rica afterwards.

NOTES:
  • Rodolph Austin won the 2014 Caribbean Cup MVP award after leading Jamaica to the title
  • Jamaica is unbeaten in six of its last seven CONCACAF Gold Cup outings (5W-1D-1L)
  • Canada has not scored in five straight CONCACAF Gold Cup games.