Uruguay vs. Jamaica
Copa America Centenario – Group C
June 13 | 10 pm ET | Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California
TV: FS1, UniMás, UDN
Two of Copa America Centenario's most disappointing teams will try to round out their participation on a high note when they cross paths in the Bay Area on Monday night.
Thanks to two losses apiece in their matches to date, both La Celeste and the Reggae Boyz have been ruled out of contention for the knockout stages. Mexico and Venezuela will thus represent Group C in the quarterfinals. A strong display in this one won't fix that underachievement, but it would ease the sting for team and fans as they head home.
Will Suarez get a nibble?
Uruguay's featured attacker Luis Suarez missed their first two games because of a hamstring injury sustained in the final days of FC Barcelona's season, and watching their 1-0 loss to Venezuela literally drove him to distraction. In one of the oddest subplots of the tournament, Suarez warmed up and prepared as if he was entering that game as a substitute, only to slam a bench canopy and fling his boots onto the pitch in apparent rage at not being used. (Listed on the roster as inactive due to injury, he was match-ineligible the whole time.)
Afterwards manager Oscar Tabarez professed himself bemused by the hubbub, emphasizing that Suarez was never in contention due to his being within the prescribed recovery period and well short of fitness. The player himself eventually calmed the waters a bit with an explanation of his display. Whatever has actually gone on behind closed doors, on paper the temperamental megastar's hamstring should now be healed enough to be in the mix on Monday. If he plays, he'll surely do so with a point to prove.
Jamaica are the only team in Copa America yet to score, though it hasn't been for lack of opportunities. The Reggae Boyz repeatedly carved open a surprisingly slack Mexico defense at the Rose Bowl on Thursday, yet contrived to miss or fumble away chance after chance, with Clayton Donaldson particularly culpable. Add in the self-inflicted wound of Rodolph Austin's 23rd-minute red card in the tournament opener vs. Venezuela, and you have a recipe for failure and frustration. Perhaps coach Winfried Schäfer will ring the changes in this dead-rubber match.
Cavani seeks redemption
With Suarez sidelined, Uruguay needed Edinson Cavani to step into the breach at the attacking end. The Paris Saint-Germain standout has done nothing of the sort, going scoreless and directing just one shot on goal in each of his team's matches. His woes were epitomized when he carved out a glorious chance in the 89th minute vs. Venezuela, only to curl his finish inches wide of the right post with the game at his feet.
"It’s one of the worst moments in my career,” Cavani told reporters after the match. “The truth is it hit me very hard, thinking about that miss with just a few minutes left in the match, that could have given us a chance and some life for the rest of the tournament.”
In his defense, his teammates have also been offensively inept thus far; they'll try to make better memories vs. Jamaica.