Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Jamaica, Costa Rica advance in Gold Cup

Canada’s Marcus Haber is nearly kicked in the face by Costa Rica’s Francisco Calvo during a CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer match

Canada’s Marcus Haber is nearly kicked in the face by Costa Rica’s Francisco Calvo during a CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer match

KANSAS CITY: Jamaica scored a late winning goal while Costa Rica needed only a scoreless draw as both teams advanced from Group B to the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Tuesday. Jamaica’s Garath McCleary tapped in a rebound in the 72nd minute to help his team beat El Salvador 1-0 and clinch the group with seven points. McCleary’s second goal of the tournament set up a quarter-final clash against Haiti. El Salvador could have clinched a berth to the quarter-finals with a win but could not score.

The Jamaicans prevailed despite needing three goal keepers and lost Darren Mattocks to a second yellow card in the 81st minute. Starting goalkeeper Jermaine Taylor was injured in the opening minutes, while replacement Dwayne Miller went down in the 23rd minute after taking a hit in the head. In the late match, Canada continued their offensive struggles in front of a partisan crowd in Toronto. Canada had a great chance to end that drought in the 24th minute when Dejan Jakovic’s throw-in set up an attempt by Marcus Haber that was saved. The Canadians failed to score in their three games at the tournament, allowing Costa Rica to advance to the quarter-finals with just three points. Meanwhile, Jurgen Klinsmann spouted optimism after the United States played Panama to a 1-1 draw to wrap up the group stage of the Gold Cup, reasoning that despite a trio of sluggish performances the Americans had still survived unbeaten. That didn’t stop Klinsmann from shaking up his roster less than 24 hours later. The coach chose to add DaMarcus Beasley, Joe Corona and Alan Gordon for the knockout rounds, which begin with the quarterfinals Saturday in Baltimore. Taking a seat are Greg Garza, Alfredo Morales and Jozy Altidore, who has been hampered by an ailing hamstring.

Teams could make up to six roster changes using their 35- player preliminary list. Altidore started the first two games in the group stage but was substituted out of both. He was left on the bench against Panama on Monday night. “We believe that Jozy’s just not there yet. Jozy never really got into this tournament and never really picked up the rhythm,” Klinsmann said in announcing the changes Tuesday. “He’s just simply not in the shape right now to help us.” Klinsmann said he knew that Altidore might not be match fit when he selected him for the Gold Cup, and that’s why Gordon was on standby from the beginning. The Los Angeles Galaxy striker made his only national team appearance in a 2012 World Cup qualifier against Antigua and Barbuda; while he was on the Gold Cup roster two years ago, he didn’t get into a match. Klinsmann said that the addition of the 33-year-old Beasley will provide leadership and experience.

The four-time World Cup veteran captained the U.S. to the Gold Cup title two years ago but had announced his retirement from international competition. “Having DaMarcus come into the team is huge, because of his character, his giving nature, the spirit he brings, but also the high quality he brings,” Klinsmann said. “He brings a lot of experience into this group, and he’s hungry. He’s still as hungry as Day 1 in his career.” Corona, who scored twice in the Gold Cup two years ago, was added for his experience against teams from the Caribbean and Central America. He also is proficient at maintaining possession, something the Americans have struggled to do. “In the tournament now we need to produce results and get things done. With Joe, we have that option to bring him in now,” Klinsmann said. “With his great technique, with his one-touch passing, he makes things very easy and simple. I think it’s a great opportunity to have Joe back, even if it hurts a little bit for Alfredo, but that’s just part of the game.” The US finished 2-0-1 atop Group A, though the unblemished run wasn’t without stress. The Americans scuffled to a 2-1 victory over Honduras and needed a big play from Clint Dempsey for a 1-0 victory over Haiti. Still, Klinsmann chose to highlight the quality of the group rather than his own team’s shortcomings and insisted the US is trending upward heading into the quarterfinals. “We can improve still a lot, absolutely,” Klinsmann said. “You can take the game apart and see that we didn’t have the passing rhythm we needed. We made mistakes. But we know we’re growing game to game and that’s what this is all about.” —AP

Pin It
This article was published on 15/07/2015