Jamaica vs. Curaçao
2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup – Group C, Matchday 1
Qualcomm Stadium – San Diego, California
Sunday, July 9 – 7 pm ET
WATCH: FS1, Univision, UDN in USA; TSN1/4, TSN GO in Canada
The first doubleheader match day of Gold Cup Group C kicks off with an all-island clash on the Pacific Coast of Southern California, in a rematch of last month’s Caribbean Cup final.
Curaçao knocked the Reggae Boyz off their perch as defending Caribbean champions in that meeting – a 2-1 win paced by two goals from Elson Hooi – held on June 25 in Fort-de-France, Martinique, to claim their nation’s first-ever major trophy. Now the Dutch-inflected side will try to repeat the feat in a clash likely to have a major impact on who advances into the knockout stages from this group, which is dominated by regional giants Mexico.
Revenge is a motive for Jamaica, but so is the thirst to taste the glory they experienced as the surprise finalists of this tournament’s last edition two years ago. For Curaçao, everything this month is new: This is their first-ever Gold Cup.
Both island nations will be eager to take the three points on offer here, because both are expected to face a tough outing against El Salvador and lose to mighty Mexico in pursuit of second place behind El Tri.
The Reggae Boyz had a euphoric 2015 Gold Cup – their best-ever, in fact – highlighted by their semifinal upset of the United States. But things have gone downhill since then.
They failed to reach the Hexagonal, the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, thanks to a last-place finish in semifinal Group B that helped hasten the departure of head coach Winfried Schafer after three years in charge. They then fell short in their Caribbean Cup title defense, knocked off by relative newcomers Curaçao in the tournament final.
Jamaica are hoping that a roster blended with youth and experience can spark a revival this month, and perhaps build some momentum towards the next World Cup cycle. Longtime player Theodore “Tappa” Whitmore is once again in charge of the program, and he’ll rely on MLS veterans like Darren Mattocks, Je-Vaughn Watson and Jermaine Taylor all over the field.
JAMAICA 23-PLAYER SQUAD
Goalkeepers (3): Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union, USA); Damion Hyatt (Arnett Gardens FC, JAM); Dwayne Miller (Valsta Syrianska IK, SWE)
Defenders (8): Sergio Campbell (Pittsburgh Riverhounds, USA); Oniel Fisher (Seattle Sounders FC , USA); Rosario Harriott (Harbour View FC, JAM); Kemar Lawrence (New York Red Bulls, USA); Damion Lowe (Tampa Bay Rowdies, USA); Alvas Powell (Portland Timbers, USA); Ladale Richie (Montego Bay United FC, JAM); Jermaine Taylor (Minnesota United FC, USA)
Midfielders (5): Michael Binns (Portmore United FC, JAM); Ewan Grandison (Portmore United FC, JAM); Kevon Lambert (FK Vojvodina, SRB); Ricardo Morris (Portmore United FC, JAM); Je-Vaughn Watson (New England Revolution, USA)
Forwards (7): Cory Burke (Bethlehem Steel FC, USA); Owayne Gordon (Montego Bay United FC, JAM); Jermaine Johnson (Tivoli Gardens FC, JAM); Darren Mattocks (Portland Timbers, USA); Shamar Nicholson (Boys' Town FC, JAM); Dever Orgill (Wolfsberger AC, AUT); Romario Williams (Charleston Battery, USA)
Manager: Theodore Whitmore (Jamaica)
The inheritors of record for what was once the Netherlands Antilles, a union that encompassed most of the Dutch Caribbean before being disbanded in 2010, Curaçao are off to a promising start in their new era.
The legendary Patrick Kluivert returned to his mother’s homeland to lead the effort to qualify for Russia 2018, albeit falling short in the third round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, and last month’s Caribbean Cup triumph showed the program’s rich potential. With so many players of Curaçaoan descent in the Dutch professional system, Kluivert’s successor Remko Bicentini has far more quality talent to pick from than the island’s population of just under 159,000 would suggest.
Curaçao beat Guyana, the US Virgin Islands, Antigua & Barbuda and Puerto Rico to qualify for this event, then knocked off Martinique and Jamaica in the Caribbean Cup proper.
Beyond the Denmark-based Hooi, their potent attack includes Gino van Kessel and Felitciano Zschusschen, co-leading scorers in Caribbean Cup qualifying, while the midfield is bolstered by English Premier Leaguers Leandro Bacuna and Cuco Martina.
CURACAO 23-PLAYER SQUAD
Goalkeepers (3): Jairzinho Pieter (RKSV Centro Dominguito, CUW); Eloy Room (SBV Vitesse, NED); Rowendy Sumter (RKSV Scherpenheuvel, CUW)
Defenders (9): Shanon Carmelia (Ijsselmeervogels, NED); Jurien Gaari (Kozakken Boys, NED); Quentin Jakoba (Kozakken Boys, NED); Gillian Justiana (Helmond Sport, NED); Doriano Kortstam (Achilles '29, NED); Darryl Lachman (Willem II, NED); Cuco Martina (Unattached); Dustley Mulder (FC Eindhoven, NED); Ayrton Statie (FC Oss, NED)
Midfielders (4): Kemy Agustien (Global Cebu FC, PHI); Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa FC, ENG); Ashar Bernardus (RKSV Centro Dominguito, CUW); Michaël Maria (SG Sonnenhof Großaspach, GER)
Forwards (7): Jarchino Antonia (Go Ahead Eagles, NED); Elson Hooi (Vendsyssel FF, DEN); Rangelo Janga (AS Trenčín, SVK); Quenten Martinus (Yokohama F. Marinos, JAP); Gevaro Nepomuceno (FC Famalicão, POR); Gino van Kessel (Lechia Gdańsk, POL); Felitciano Zschusschen (FC Saarbrücken, GER)
Manager: Remko Bicentini (Netherlands)