SAN ANTONIO – Jamaica were relieved to have gained a point after finishing 1-1 against a hard-working El Salvador team at the Alamodome on Sunday, but frustrated by a performance that striker Darren Mattocks branded “not good enough.”
The day’s results clinched a second-place in Gold Cup Group C for the Reggae Boyz, who avoid a quarterfinal matchup with the United States and instead will meet Canada on Thursday (10:30 pm ET | FS1, Univision, UDN in US, TSN GO in Canada).
“We come into this tournament with a lot of confidence. We are not afraid of any opponent,” said Jamaican striker Romario Williams, an Atlanta United player currently on a season-long loan with the Charleston Battery of the USL. “We are not afraid of facing anyone. We are a confident team, and we know what we are capable of. Based on this result we look forward to our next matchup, which is Canada, and I have a lot of confidence in this group and what we can do."
But Mattocks fears the tournament may not last much longer for Jamaica if they don’t improve on Sunday’s outing.
“Based on how we played, it doesn't matter who we play if we are going to play like this,” said the Portland Timbers speedster. “We won't get past the quarterfinals. It wasn't good enough. Aside from [goalkeeper] Andre [Blake], who made some fantastic saves in the game to keep it 1-0, we need a reality check: We were not good enough.”
Jamaica were lively at the start of the game and could have found themselves ahead just seconds after kickoff, when Timbers fullback Alvas Powell placed a long pass to Williams, who shot just wide left. However, it was El Salvador who took an early lead in the 15th minute when Salvadoran left back Ruben Marroquin played a lovely though ball to forward Nelson Bonilla, who beat Blake with a well-placed shot to the far post.
Jamaica went on the attack and some 10 minutes later Williams found himself with an opportunity to tie the game, but was denied by El Salvador ‘keeper Oscar Arroyo.
Powell would become a constant threat on the right, and on the 39th minute he delivered a lovely cross to Williams, who once again was denied by Arroyo. The Reggae Boyz finally tied the game in the 64th minute via a well-taken penalty kick by Mattocks.
While Williams could not find the net against Los Cuscatlecos, he showed well in his second start of the tournament, having scored in Jamaica’s opening win over Curacao, and may have given Atlanta coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino some food for thought.
“Ultimately it is up to them,” he said of his United future. “They have the final say, they are in control of the situation and I am a Charleston Battery player and with my national team. And my focus is with Jamaica right now and everything else comes after.”