MIAMI — The Guatemalan national team is ready, set and eagerly awaiting their Friday night Gold Cup Group B match-up against their counterparts from Jamaica at FIU Stadium (7 pm ET, TeleFutura).
Los Chapines are coming off an important 0-0 tie against Honduras in their first game of the tournament on Monday. The draw was a great result for Guatemala, who were reduced to nine men on the pitch after Gustavo Cabrera and Henry Medina were sent off.
The Central Americans know that a victory against the Reggae Boyz is an absolute must and Philadelphia Union striker Carlos Ruiz knows exactly how to get it.
“If we want to come out on top, we have to do so based on teamwork,” he said, admitting that Jamaica has players that can cause more damage on an individual level than Guatemala.
“To be honest, Guatemala, at this moment, isn’t a team who will achieve big things individually,” Ruiz said. “We can’t focus solely on Carlos Ruiz or Marco Pappa. Jamaica has that advantage — individuals who are superior to what Guatemala has.”
But that doesn’t mean that “El Pescadito,” who holds the mark for most goals scored for Guatemala, thinks that his team doesn’t have any weapons at its disposal. He assured that the absences of Cabrera and Medina won’t be felt, as Guatemala counts with an extremely deep squad.
“We have enough players to fill those positions,” he said. “Let’s hope that we can carry out the game against Jamaica the way we’ve planned it.”
Since they scrapped out the draw against Honduras, the atmosphere in the Guatemala camp has been very upbeat. The team led by Ever Hugo Almeida will hope to use their current mood as motivation to slam Jamaica.
“We came out motivated from the game against Honduras and now we’re focused on Jamaica,” said Ruiz. “We know that [Jamaica] is a strong team and we’ll have to deal with that, but we’re capable of playing well against them. We’re definitely expecting a tough game against the head of our group.”