Jamaica and St. Lucia won their semifinal games last Sunday and will meet in the local Caribbean Cup final this Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013, 4:30 p.m. at Jefferson High School field in Flatlands, Brooklyn. Jamaica survived a 5-4 slugfest against a determined Guyana team in the featured semifinal, after defending champion St. Lucia defeated Haiti, 3-2. The Jamaica-St. Lucia match-up will be a repeat of last year’s semifinal showdown when St. Lucia dethroned the eight-time champion on penalty kicks.
In one of the most exciting games of the season, Jamaica went from a convincing 3-0 halftime lead to just barely holding on for the win. In the first half, Daniel Shaw put Jamaica a head when he tapped in an Irvino English corner kick in the 25th minute; ten minutes later, Jarvin Morris sped down the right side, cut inside a defender and sent a square pass across Guyana’s goal for Denzil Watson to put Jamaica further ahead, 2-0; Morris again provided the assist in much the same fashion to set up Romario Campbell as Jamaica took the commanding half time lead.
Guyana had gotten off to a good start; it created most of the opportunities in the first 20 minutes of the game. In fact, Guyana should have scored first and taken the lead when it was awarded a penalty kick, but forward Gregory Richardson had his shot saved by Jamaica’s goalkeeper, Devon Horton, one of a number of imported players from Jamaica. Horton, earlier in the year, led Harbor View FC win the 2013 Jamaica National Premier League; his save on Richardson’s penalty changed the game as Jamaica snatched the momentum away from Guyana and never looked back. Said Horton, “We took over the game after the save, but later on, we let them back in the game.”
Early in the second half, Shaw scored his second goal to give Jamaica a 4-0 lead, but Richardson scored to pull a goal back for Guyana five minutes after; then a scramble in front of Jamaica’s goal resulted in Guyana’s second goal off the hip of a Guyanese player to make the score 4-2. The Guyanese had the momentum again and forged ahead, but a lapse on defense allowed Morris to give Jamaica a 5-2 lead; Guyana wasn’t done.
The tireless Guyanese were on the run again; they forged ahead and Richardson scored his second goal when he slammed a shot from 10 yards to give Guyana more life with the score at 5-3. Richardson slammed home his third goal for the 5-4 score line and more energy oozed from the storming Guyanese as the Jamaicans hung tough and defended with all they had; meanwhile, the fans were going wild with excitement. Unfortunately for a very determined Guyana team, referee Diego Hurtado’s final whistle came as he raised both hands in the air to signal despair for Guyana and joy for Jamaica.
In the opening game, St. Lucia played with a player short when its top midfielder Pernell Williams was red-carded late in the first half, but defeated Haiti behind two goals from Nyhine Gilbert and one from Venus Abbott. Abbott gave St. Lucia a 1-0 lead early in the first half and Gilbert made it 2-0 mid-way in the first period. Haiti closed the gap, 2-1, when Dieuphene De Lammar scored from the penalty spot after a handball infraction by a St. Lucian defender. Gilbert’s second goal was a classic as it came off excellent combination play between Gilbert and Abbott; Gilbert hit a first-time shot off the final pass for the winner. Haiti managed to pull a goal back at the end.
St. Lucia is making its second straight appearance in the Caribbean Cup final and co-coaches, Allyson Felician and Vincent Murk believe it is due to the hard work and discipline exhibited by their players that’s responsible for the team’s success. Asked how the team will compensate for the loss of Williams, captain John Perry Joseph said Abbott is more than capable of taking on Williams’ role. On meeting Jamaica in the final, Joseph said that “it doesn’t matter the opponent, we know what we have to do and we’ll do what we do best – win.”
RED BULLS FALL IN MLS
The New York Red Bulls gave another ho-hum performance and fell, 3-2, at CD Chivas USA in the StubHub Center in Carson, CA., and Sunday afternoon. Despite the loss, the Red Bulls (11-9-6) remain in a second placed tie with Sporting Kansas City (11-9-6) in the MLS Eastern Conference standings. The Montreal Impact (12-7-5), a 5-0 winner over Houston Dynamo last Weekend, is in first. Julio Morales (30th) scored once and Erik Torres (47th, 81th) twice for Chivas; Tim Cahill (31st) and Dax Mc Carty (86th) tallied for New York, which host DC United on Saturday night, Aug. 31, at Red Bull Arena at 8:00 PM.
In the Montreal Impact-Houston Dynamo game, Marco Di Vaio scored two goals to lead the Impact Saturday night. Felipe Martins, Jeb Brovsky and Andrea Pisano also scored for the winners; defender Hunter Jumper scored, his first MLS goal to lead the Chicago Fire to a 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City on Friday night. Dwayne De Rosario and Bobby Convey scored for DC United and Toronto FC, respectively, for a 1-1 draw; with D.C. United.
Landon Donavan scored to lift the Los Angleles Galaxy to a 1-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps. FC Dallas and San Jose Earthquakes played to a 2-2 tie. Panamanian forward Blas Perez scored for FC Dallas, while Alan Gordon and Steven Beitashour scored for San Jose Earthquakes (9-10-7), which had won four of its previous five matches.
Real Salt Lake (13-8-6) beat Columbus Crew (8-12-5), 4-0, as Kyle Beckerman scored two goals and forward Devon Sandoval and Luis Gil also scored; added one apiece, to lead Salt Lake to a 4-0 victory over the Columbus Crew on Saturday night. Eddie Johnson’s header in the second half gave the Seattle Sounders a 1-0 win over the Portland Timbers.