Boyz tackle Guatemala
by Jamaica Observer
Jamaica, fresh from their 3-0 demolition of El Salvador on Sunday, will battle Guatemala at the National Stadium this evening at 7:00, expecting to make it two from two in four days, in their quest to build back the vibes at the "Office".
The Reggae Boyz, at full strength for the first time in many moons, turned in an efficient workman-like performance against El Salvador, and Guatemala could be in for a torrid time tonight if the Boyz show more verve.
The Reggae Boyz have gotten the first game under their belt and should be more loose and relaxed and fans should expect a better all-round game.
Veteran defender Ian 'Pepe' Goodison (left), close-marks striker Fabian Taylor during last night's training session at the National Stadium. Goodison is expected to start his first game for the Reggae Boyz in three years. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Guatemala, who are just above Jamaica at 100 in the FIFA ranking, have never beaten the Reggae Boyz in 11 attempts dating back to a 0-0 draw in 1969, and that record is expected to continue with the home team on a high.
Jamaica have won seven of their encounters and the last time both teams met in 2005, Jamaica triumph 2-1 in Fort Lauderdale, USA. Both teams met two other times in 2005 with Jamaica winning 1-0 in April and 4-3 in July.
Guatemala have been having a very busy 2007 campaign with a plethora of games with the most noticeable being a 3-2 win over Mexico on October 17 in Los Angeles, in a bad-tempered friendly in which both teams ended the game with nine men.
However, Guatemala showed their inconsistency by losing 0-1 Honduras on Saturday and will be looking to rebound.
Guatemala, or the "Chapines", will prove more competitive than El Salvador and the Boyz would be in for a rude awakening if they turned in another performance as they did in the second half against El Salvador.
Captain Ricardo Gardner, Jermaine Johnson, Damion Stewart and Jamal Campbell-Ryce all returned to England, while veteran defender Ian "Pepe" Goodison is expected to start his first game for Jamaica since a 1-1 draw against the USA on November 17, 2004.
Goodison, 35, made his debut against today's opponents Guatemala in 1996 and scored; he would love to make another significant contribution today.
Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts is expected to take his position between the sticks. Tyrone Marshall, a trim-looking Shavar Thomas, Oneil Thompson, Rudolph Austin, Demar Phillips, Dane Richards, Khari Stephenson, Ricardo Fuller, Fabian Taylor and Luton Shelton are expected to take the fight to Guatemala.
Guatemala, under Colombian coach, Hernan Dario Gomez, who is reputed to be a lover of free-flowing, attacking football, is expected to severely test Jamaica's backline.
The Guatemalan team is expected to be selected from Paulo Motta, Néstor Martínez, Yony Flores, Yony Giron, Gustavo Cabrera, Claudio Albizuris, Leonel Noriega, Carlos Quiñónez, Coto Aroldo, Rigoberto Gómez, Fredy Thompson, Tránsito Montepeque, Dwight Pezzarossi, Selvyn Motta, Saul de Matta, Lester Ruiz.