PHILADELPHIA — Darren Mattocks had been in the match only two minutes when Jamaica was awarded a penalty kick with a chance to take a late lead over Panama in their Concacaf Gold Cup quarterfinal on Sunday night.
Even so, he insisted he would be the one striding to the spot for the Reggae Boyz.
“I’m the PK taker for the team, I’m going to take the PK,” Mattocks said.
Eventually, the FC Cincinnati forward convinced his teammates. And their trust was rewarded with a clinical spot kick that ultimately sent Jamaica through to their third straight Concacaf Gold Cup semifinal with a 1-0 victory at Lincoln Financial Field.
It was just Mattocks’ second appearance in the 2019 Gold Cup after playing 24 minutes off the bench in the second group match against El Salvador. The penalty was his second touch of the ball after he headed the ball into the hand of Panama and New York Red Bulls defender Michael Murillo with his first.
But Mattocks is no stranger to Gold Cup moments, having scored five times in the tournament for his country. He was captain of the 2017 team that reached the semifinals.
“In a moment like that maybe you want somebody else who has been playing in the game but I’m full of confidence,” Mattocks said.
The goal was Mattocks' 18th for his country overall in his 49th international cap. He has a pair of goals, one from the penalty spot, in 13 appearances in his first season Cincinnati, including eight starts.
Being a substitute for his international team has taken some getting used to.
“No doubt about it, I can’t hide my frustration, I’ve been extremely frustrated not playing," he said. "But at the end of the day you gotta respect the coaches and when you get your chance you gotta make sure you take it."
Kemar Lawrence initially picked up the ball to take the penalty and a crowd quickly gathered around him. Shamar Nicholas came in trying to get the ball from Lawrence, but it was Mattocks who ended up taking it.
Mattocks got Panama goalkeeper Luis Mejía going the wrong way with a hard shot into the right side of the net.
“For us it’s just about who is most confident at the time and he was willing to take it up,” Philadelphia Union goalkeeper and Jamaica captain Andre Blake said. “That was a big moment, a lot of pressure and he was confident he wanted it so we all believed in him and we gave it to him and he put it away.”