World Cup Qualifiers - Concacaf

World Cup Qualifiers - Concacaf (29)

English Premier League (EPL) club West Ham has committed to sending a specialist doctor with star forward Michail Antonio whenever he is called up for international duty with Jamaica.

The player, who made his debut for the Caribbean team against Panama in September, did not travel for the team’s most recent round of matches against the United States, Canada, and Honduras.

 According to reports, the issue stemmed from a mix-up between the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and the player’s club and agent that did not allow Antonio to carry his own personal physician.  The issue has since been resolved, however, and the player will be free to join the team for a crucial round of matches next month.

West Ham have appointed the club’s head of medical services Richard Collinge to travel with the player to ensure the continued health of his hamstrings.  The player has had a history of hamstring injuries and the club is clearly determined to take all precautions to make sure the 31-year-old stays in top shape.  With five goals scored in the EPL already this season, which puts him in the top three, Antonio has been one of the club’s most influential players this season.

Having won their first match of the World Cup qualifiers in the previous round against Honduras, Jamaica will be hoping the return of Antonio will turbocharge the team’s campaign with fixtures away to El Salvador and at home to the United States.

Former Jamaica Reggae Boyz goalkeeper Ryan Thompson has questioned the practice of labelling the country’s national representatives as foreign-based or English-based in light of questions regarding the team’s unity.

In recent months, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has looked to bolster the experience and quality in the team’s ranks by extending an invitation to players who qualify to represent the country by virtue of having Jamaican heritage.  Several players have accepted the offer but the team's overall integration has not gone smoothly.

The situation was similar to the team’s historic 1998 campaign when a mix of players, some based in Jamaica and English players of Jamaica heritage qualified the unit for the tournament in France.  Ahead of its historic feat, there had also been controversy surrounding the inclusion of the players who were based abroad.

Internationally, players opting to represent countries where they were not born is hardly an unusual situation.  The likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Christian Benteke, and Raheem Sterling, who was born in Jamaica but represents England, are among just a few who feature on the list.

As it relates to the current crop, however, Thompson believes the aim must be to get the team to gel as soon as possible, a goal that having player labels and categories is unlikely to help.

“If we can get the team to gel and call everyone Jamaican and not local based or foreign-based or English based, whatever it is, that’s when we will really be able to do some damage in the world, not just the Caribbean,” Thompson told TVJ Sports.

‘You don’t hear the German team talking about, oh this guy was from Austria or the US saying the same thing about German-based players.  They're Americans, why are we throwing labels on our players?”

Jamaica international Kemar Roofe has expressed delight with opening his goal account for the Reggae Boyz after finding the net in a 2-0 win over Honduras but believes the team started gathering momentum in the previous match.

The Rangers striker found the back of the net, for a Jamaican team desperately in need of a win, in the 36th minute after successfully deflecting an attempt from strike partner Shamar Nicholson.  A defender, Oniel Fisher, scored the team's second in the second half.

The goal was the first for Roofe in four matches, having started the last two.

“It’s a special moment for all of us, getting my first goal for my country.  I want to dedicate this to my dad, he is the reason I am playing for Jamaica,” Roofe said.

“It was massive for the team to get the three points.  I think it all stems from the game against Canada.  We didn’t get the three points but we got the draw and we came out of that game with solidarity and belief and a lot of respect as well and we brought it into tonight’s game.”

The Reggae Boyz battled to a 0-0 draw with Canada at the National Stadium on Sunday.  The win sees Jamaica move to five points and 6th position, three points outside of the fourth spot, which is currently occupied by Panama.

Hector Moreno and Raul Jimenez helped Mexico re-claim their three-point lead in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying with a 2-0 win away to El Salvador on Wednesday.

Moreno headed in Jesus Corona's 30th-minute corner before Mexico star Jimenez rounded out the win with a penalty in the third minute of stoppage time.

Hirving Lozano put an early chance wide, while Osvaldo Rodriguez also pushed a header off target before Moreno broke the deadlock with a glancing effort which crept in at the back post.

Both sides were then reduced to 10 men, with El Salvador losing Mario Jacobo to a straight red card for a foul on Rogelio Funes Mori in the 48th minute.

Mexico saw Nestor Araujo sent off with 23 minutes remaining for a second bookable offence, ruling him out of next month's crucial qualifier against the United States in Cincinnati.

Wolves' Jimenez cushioned the victory with his late spot-kick having returned to the national team last month after suffering a serious head injury in November last year.

The win moved unbeaten Mexico to 14 points after six games, three points ahead of USA, who came from behind to beat Costa Rica 2-1 earlier on Wednesday.

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz jumpstarted their fading hopes of qualifying for the Qatar World Cup following a 2-0 away win over Honduras, at the Estadio Olimpico, on Tuesday.

Goals from Kemar Roofe and Oniel Fisher gave the team their first win of the campaign, a result that lifted the Jamaicans from the bottom of the table for the time in six games.  Heading into the encounter both teams were in desperate need of a win, with Honduras beginning the match just a point above the Jamaicans in 7th place.

After dominating the early opportunities, it was Roofe who put the Jamaicans in the lead after redirecting a shot from Shamar Nicholson into the back of the net in the 38th minute.  The home team battled to get back on level terms but struggled to create any clear-cut opportunities.

Fisher made the game safe for the Jamaicans with a well-taken effort in the 79th minute.  Having joined the attack, the right-back collected a layoff from substitute Andre Gray before curling a shot around Honduras goalkeeper Luis López and into the net.

  Jamaica’s campaign to earn a spot in Qatar continues with a trip to El Salvador to open the November international window, while Honduras hosts Panama.

The United States came from behind to beat rivals Costa Rica 2-1 in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying on Wednesday.

Sergino Dest scored a stunning goal as a youthful USA side overturned an early deficit to bounce back from their shock loss in Panama – the nation's first defeat during the 2022 qualifying campaign.

With an average age of 22 years and 229 days, USA's starting XI was the youngest fielded by the country in a World Cup qualifying fixture midweek.

USA faced an early test in Columbus after Keysher Fuller's volley found a way past goalkeeper Zack Steffen and into the back of the net in just the first minute.

A moment of brilliance from 20-year-old Dest restored parity for Gold Cup champions USA in the 25th minute – the Barcelona full-back drifted onto his left foot on the edge of the penalty area and fired a powerful strike into the top corner.

Gregg Berhalter's USA completed their comeback with 24 minutes remaining at Lower.com Field.

Costa Rica's Leonel Moreira – who replaced Keylor Navas at half-time – was unable to keep out Timothy Weah's shot at the near post.

USA moved level with arch-rivals Mexico on 11 points before El Tri face El Salvador on the road to Qatar 2022.

The Jamaica Reggae Boyz will be without two key members of the squad heading into Wednesday’s crucial qualifier against Honduras with both defender Alvas Powell and forward Jamal Lowe ruled out of the encounter.

Powell, who started but did not finish Sunday’s encounter against Canada, has been diagnosed with a Grade I hamstring strain and will not be able to take part in the match against Honduras.  Typically deployed at right-back, Powell began the game at centre back. 

Regular last man Damion Lowe had been ruled out of the counter based on an accumulation of cards.  Lowe will return to the line-up for the upcoming encounter.

Meanwhile, Lowe will be returning to Championship club AFC Bournemouth based on an agreement ahead of the qualifying round.  The player started against the United States and came off the substitute’s bench against Canada.

With just two points from their first five matches the team currently sits at the bottom of the table, Honduras who are also yet to secure a win are one point above the Jamaicans in the standings.

Mexico moved top of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying with a comprehensive 3-0 defeat of 10-man Honduras on Sunday. 

It was not a routine fixture for Mexico, who lost at home to Honduras during qualifying for the 2014 and 2008 World Cups, but El Tri were up to the challenge at Azteca Stadium. 

The victory put Mexico on 11 points through five matches, three points clear of the United States and Panama after the USA's shock defeat in Panama City earlier on Sunday.

Sebastian Cordova opened the scoring in the 18th minute, driving home a shot from seven yards out with Honduras goalkeeper Luis Lopez out of position after a scramble around the goal. 

Four minutes into the second half, Honduras saw any realistic hopes of a comeback dashed when Maynor Figueroa drew a straight red card for a challenge on Raul Jimenez.

Rogelio Funes Mori provided a welcome cushion in the 76th minute, collecting a rebound from an Edson Alvarez shot that went off the post and driving it home for Mexico's second goal. 

Hirving Lozano sealed the win 10 minutes later as Mexico poured it on through the final whistle on the road to Qatar 2022.

 

A scoreless draw between Jamaica and Canada on Sunday at Independence Park in Kingston took Jamaica to a pair of points thus far in the final round of World Cup qualification, while Canada earned its second consecutive away draw and now sits on seven points.

After an even first half, things heated up in the second 45 minutes. Canada had a chance just after the ball started rolling again before a Jamaica free kick in the 50th minute taken by Kemar Lawrence was met by Junior Flemmings, who hit the post with a header.

In the 80th minute, Jamaica’s Kemar Roofe led a counter-attack and tried his luck from outside the box with a strong right-footed effort, but narrowly missed the upper 90 of Canada GK Maxime Crepeau’s net.

 Canada kept pushing for the breakthrough goal as well, with chances in the 84th minute when Alistar Johnson was unable to get his effort on target after a nice build-up, followed by an opportunity in the 86th minute when Alphonso Davies pulled a few tricks out of his bag, but ultimately ran into the Jamaican defence in the area.

Lawrence once again drew Crepeau into action as the match ticked into the final minute of stoppage time, but the Canadian shot-stopper made the save to preserve the point.

Jamaica now hits the road again, travelling to face Honduras. Canada will play its first home match of the October FIFA window on Wednesday, welcoming Panama to BMO Field in Toronto.

 

Panama celebrated a famous win as Sunday's 1-0 victory gave them their first CONCACAF World Cup qualifying triumph over the United States.

USA entered the away fixture unbeaten in eight World Cup qualifiers against Panama, including six wins, and enjoying a 13-match undefeated streak across all competitions.

But Panama had other ideas thanks to Anibal Godoy, whose 54th-minute header secured an unlikely victory in Panama City on the road to Qatar 2022.

In wild scenes, Godoy – who plays in MLS for Nashville – headed home Eric Davis' corner at the near post.

It was a rough outing for Gold Cup champions USA, who appeared out of sorts having failed to produce a single shot on target throughout the fixture at Estadio Rommel Fernandez.

Panama are now level with leaders USA and Mexico on eight points, though El Tri are due to face Honduras on Sunday.

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