HOUSTON — Jamaica’s Gold Cup trek came to a screeching halt with their 2-0 loss to the United States on Sunday, and the loss was a sobering experience for defender Jermaine Taylor.
The Houston Dynamo regular helped the Reggae Boyz win Group B with an undefeated record in the group stage, and Jamaica was actually a bit of a trendy pick to top the US in their quarterfinal matchup at RFK Stadium in Washington.
But the game certainly didn’t go as Taylor or Jamaica planned. A deflection off Taylor’s foot from a Jermaine Jones rocket led to the first US goal, and Taylor was later issued a red card for a last-man tackle on Jones that put the Reggae Boyz down a man and effectively put the game out of reach.
“The red card for me sucked, but there was nothing to argue because it was something that couldn’t be changed,” Taylor said. “It’s going to be tough, but mentally we just have to be strong and go forward.
“A lot of people back home didn’t see us making it that far,” Taylor added. “We did well the first three games and then it was a pretty tough game to play against the Americans. We haven’t beaten America in something like 17 games, and we were expected to beat them, but it’s always tough against them.”
Going forward for Taylor and Jamaica means a shift in focus to World Cup qualifying. The Reggae Boyz last qualified for the world’s biggest tournament in 1998, but with the positives of winning their Gold Cup group serving as momentum, Taylor believes it’s time for the current edition of the Reggae Boyz to take the next step.
“We’re looking forward to World Cup qualifying and we can use the Gold Cup as a building process,” Taylor said. “This team’s a good, well-rounded team, and we’re always trying to improve each game and trying to be consistent. We have to do whatever it takes because we need to qualify.
“This Jamaica team,” he added, “we need to qualify for this World Cup.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.