GLENDALE, Arizona – Canada is trying to get to where Jamaica was two years ago: the CONCACAF Gold Cup final.
In order for the North Americans to accomplish that objective, though, they will have to beat the Reggae Boyz, when they square off Thursday night in 2017 quarterfinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Coincidentally, their last meeting was in the Gold Cup two years ago, with Jamaica prevailing 1-0 on Rodolph Austin’s goal in second-half stoppage time.
Today, the rosters of both sides look very different from that evenly-contested encounter. They each posted 1W-2D-0L records in the group stage and had plus-2 goal differences.
What will separate them in their 18th all-time meeting?
Here are some storylines to watch:
- Have Jamaica’s recent Gold Cup and Copa America experiences provided enough steel for it to challenge for top honors?
- Jamaica’s defense has been outstanding in the 2017 Gold Cup, conceding one goal in three games. Can that form be maintained against a Canadian side that netted four times against French Guiana in the opener, but only once since?
- Canada has called in high-scoring forward Cyle Larin for the knockout rounds. Will it take long for him to fit into a side that has advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2009?
- How will Larin’s presence impact the duo of Alphonso Davies (joint-top scorer in 2017 Gold Cup with three goals) and Scott Arfield (one goal, one assist)?