United States coach Gregg Berhalter believes salvaging a late draw in the CONCACAF Nations League at El Salvador will help his side to grow.

Alexander Larin scored in the 35th minute to put El Salvador on course to end a 19-game winless streak against USA, which has spanned 30 years.

But Jordan Morris popped up in the 91st minute with his 11th international goal, and first since November 2019, to steal a 1-1 draw on the road in difficult, rainy conditions.

That was after both teams had players sent off, with American Paul Arriola dismissed for a lunging tackle on Larin and Ronald Gomez for a challenge on Yunus Musah.

Berhalter has two more friendlies to evaluate his side before the World Cup in Qatar, and says the performance at El Salvador will go a long way to developing their character.

"The group grows with moments like this," Berhalter said. "After the game, Jordan Morris walks into the locker room and everyone starts cheering.

"Everyone's uniform is a dark brown colour, the shoes are a mess, the staff is all dirty. This is what builds teams."

Morris' Seattle Sounders team-mates were hammering Vancouver Whitecaps 4-0 in MLS while the El Salvador clash went on, and he reminisced on youth football in America leading to this moment.

"These are kind of some of the fields I used to play on as a kid," Morris said.

"Being from Seattle, obviously, it's not the mud – the rain. I love playing in the rain. So I was just embracing that moment. I think the team as a group just embraced the challenge."

Christian Pulisic captained his country but all eyes were on Haji Wright as the forward competes with the likes of Jesus Ferreira, Ricardo Pepi, Josh Sargent, Jordan Pefok and Daryl Dike for a place up top.

While Berhalter was left somewhat underwhelmed by Wright's performance, he assured that it will not be his final chance in the side.

"It's always difficult when players get an opportunity and don't fully capitalise on it," Berhalter said. "It's not nice for a coach. It's not nice for the player. It's not nice for the group.

"We were all rooting for Haji to be a force. We purposely played more direct in the first half because we thought he could be the force that would unsettle them.

"And it just wasn't his night. That doesn't rule him out for anything in the future. We don't work like that."

El Salvador got a late goal from Cristian Gil to rescue a 2-2 draw with Grenada in Group D of League A of the 2022-23 Concacaf Nations League on Tuesday night at the Kirani James Athletic Stadium in St. George’s, Grenada.

Just like in their first encounter on Saturday, a 3-1 El Salvador win, the two sides would trade goals in quick succession in the first half.

This time it was Grenada breaking the deadlock in the 29’ when Jacob Berkeley Agyepong pounced on a deflected ball in the El Salvador area and fired into the net to make it 1-0 to the hosts.

But six minutes later in the 35’, El Salvador was on level terms, 1-1, when Nelson Bonilla was fouled in the Grenada area and Alexander Larin calmly converted the spot kick.

When it comes to the CNL for Grenada, no player delivers more in the big spot than Jamal Charles and the star striker would score his seventh career CNL goal for the Spice Boyz in the 54’ when he got behind the El Salvador defence and hammered in a right-footed shot to give his side a 2-1 advantage.

El Salvador looked to respond right away but they had to wait until the waning minutes for the 2-2 equalizer to come.

In the 88’, Darwin Ceren lofted a pass to Roberto Molina, whose shot was initially blocked by Grenada GK Jason Belfon, but Gil swooped in and scored to earn a precious point.

A women’s pair of Chauna Kelly and Petal Smith will depart Jamaica on Friday for the Dominican Republic where they will participate in the Beach World Championship Qualifiers from April 16-18, 2022.

Jamaica will play in Group A alongside Canada, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, El Salvador and Curacao. Group B comprises Cuba, Mexico, US Virgin Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica and the Cayman Islands.

Each team will play in a round-robin format with the top two teams from each group advancing to the 2022 Beach Volleyball World Championship which will take place in Rome, Italy from June 7th to 19th, 2022.

Jamaica is resuming competition in beach volleyball after a two-year hiatus prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The team will be accompanied by Coach Oneil Ebanks.

Mexico secured qualification for the World Cup on Wednesday, after a 2-0 win at home to El Salvador.

Goals from Uriel Antuna and Raul Jimenez were enough for Tata Martino's side, with Mexico now securing their eighth consecutive qualification.

With the United States and Costa Rica facing off for the third automatic spot in CONCACAF qualifying, El Tri only realistically needed a draw to book an automatic berth in Qatar.

It was a dominant opening however, and Mexico were able to capitalise early to dispel any growing anxiety. Antuna opened the scoring in the 17th minute, dispatching the rebound after Nestor Araujo's powerful header from an Alexis Vega corner.

Running onto a ball behind the defence, Antuna then won his team a penalty in the 42nd minute. To essentially put the game beyond El Salvador's reach and secure his team's place in Qatar, Raul Jimenez calmly converted from the spot, sending Mario Gonzalez the wrong way.

With the win, El Tri finished the third round of qualification on 28 points, equal on points with first-placed Canada but with a lower goal difference.

Reggae Boyz head coach Paul Hall says he is looking to the future ahead of their CONCACAF World Cup qualifying fixture against El Salvador at the National Stadium in Kingston on Thursday.

Hall says the fact that Jamaica is out of contention for qualification ahead of the final round of matches gives them that opportunity.

“It’s a squad that’s got a new look about it. It’s got a younger, fresher feel about it and the reason that I’ve picked the squad like this is the succession plan. We have to look at the future,” he said.

The squad includes players like Christopher Pearson and Tarick Ximines, who participated in schoolboy football this season for Kingston College and Jamaica College, respectively.

“We have to look at youngsters who will be here in a few years’ time. We have to build and grow and part of the strategy is to bring some of those young, outstanding schoolboys, under-23 and under-24 players and really look to grow with them and set a foundation for the future,” Hall said.

Jamaica has had no success at home so far in this qualification campaign, a fact that Hall says his team will be looking to change when they face El Salvador on Thursday and then Honduras next Wednesday, March 30, with a trip to Canada sandwiched between.

“Every game that we play we try to win. It’s important that we finish off these games on a positive note. Yes, it’s important to get a win but it’s also important to use these games as a platform to get to succession plans for the future,” he said.

 

 

 

 

Interim Reggae Boyz Head Coach Paul Hall has named a 24-man squad for the final three FIFA World Cup qualifiers against El Salvador, Canada and Honduras.

Antonee Robinson's second-half strike earned the United States an unconvincing 1-0 victory over El Salvador to move a step closer to 2022 World Cup qualification on Thursday in cold conditions in Columbus.

Fulham defender Robinson lashed home in the 52nd minute after Timothy Weah's good lead-up work in the decisive moment, as USA moved up to 18 points from nine games.

USA temporarily moved into top spot in the CONCACAF qualifying standings, with Canada due to take on Honduras later.

Jesus Ferreira, starting in a World Cup qualifier for the first time, burnt two first-half chances, before Robinson broke the deadlock early in the second half as USA stamped their superiority.

The hosts pressed for a second goal, with El Salvador goalkeeper Mario Gonzalez acrobatically denying Valencia midfielder Yunus Musah's poke.

El Salvador's best chance came in the 85th minute as Joaquin Rivas glanced Bryan Tamacas' cross wide, while USA fluffed opportunities with Weston McKennie and Gyasi Zardes headers.

Preparations are advancing for the Video Assistant Replay (VAR) replay system to be installed at Jamaica’s National Stadium, with a site visit expected to take place early next week.

Production and audiovisual company MediaPro, which is already in charge of broadcasting all Concacaf events, will be responsible for implementing the technology in Jamaica, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Panama.  The other four venues, which do not have the technology installed.

The move follows up on the decision by CONCACAF to implement VAR for the region in September, but the move was held up not only by logistical considerations but also by adequately certified officials.

In recent weeks, however, football’s world governing body FIFA has accredited referees, as well as VAR assistants and managers.  Prior to that, only the United States, Mexico, and Canada had VAR officials as they were the only ones to make use of the technology in their various leagues.

Implementing the technology in Jamaica will incur an added expense as the equipment will have to be flown to the island before being installed at the country’s national stadium.  The other CONCACAF venues taking part in the Octagonal round, which do not have yet the technology, can be accessed via roadways.  The majority of the bill will be picked up by Concacaf.  Jamaica will resume World Cup qualification action against Mexico, at the National Stadium, on January 27th.

West Ham owner David Sullivan has forked out an eye-watering £100,000 ($21,013,467) to get striker Michail Antonio back to England with enough time to rest for Saturday’s English Premier League (EPL) encounter against Wolverhampton.

The striker had a private jet waiting for him at the airport soon after Jamaica played to a 1-1 draw against the United States, in the recently concluded round of World Cup qualifiers, where the in-form striker scored a thunderbolt.  In fact, Antonio scored both goals for Jamaica during the round after also getting the goal also El Salvador in another 1-1 draw for the Caribbean team.

Despite the 31-year-old's impact, Jamaica remains off the pace needed for qualification to next year’s World Cup as they are currently 6th in the standings, with six matches remaining. Antonio began appearing for the Caribbean team after switching nationality from England this year, both his parents were born in the Caribbean country,

The form of striker, who has scored six Premier League goals so far, has been crucial to a strong start to the season for West Ham, who are currently third in the EPL standings.  The forward has also scored one goal for the team in a Europa League campaign that sees them comfortably at the top of Group H.

 

Reggae Boy striker Michail Antonio says he is eager for more goals, having opened his account in a draw against El Salvador last week.

The West Ham star, who was making just his second appearance for the Jamaica national team, after switching from England earlier this year, needed only seven minutes to get on the scoresheet against the Central Americans.

Picking up the ball midway the opposition half, Antonio charged into the area before executing a trademark dink over the El Salvador goalkeeper in the 82nd minute.  The Jamaicans were forced to settle for a share of the points after El Salvador struck back in the 90th minute.  Having opened his account, the player is looking for more and hoping to do so against the region’s biggest teams.


It’s always good to get off the mark quite early.  So, you can release all the pressure off yourself and keep going and get more goals.  Hopefully, now that I’ve got one, I can keep going and get more,” Antonio said.

“Right now, my performances are getting better.  So, the only way I can show it is by doing it against the better teams, the USA’s and Canadas.”

Jamaica will play against the United States in a crucial encounter on Tuesday.

 An Alex Roldan goal in the 90th minute canceled out a Michail Antonio goal in the 82nd minute as El Salvador and Jamaica both netted a point
after battling to a 1-1 draw on Friday at the Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador.
The first half ended scoreless despite a sequence in the 39th minute off a corner kick in which El Salvador attempted two long-range shots, both of which hit the crossbar above
Jamaica GK Andre Blake.

Jamaica thought it may have had the winner with Antonio scoring his first-ever Jamaica goal late in the second half for a 1-0 lead. The attacker took the ball on the left-hand side of attack and charged forward, beating a pair of Salvadoran defenders and then GK Mario Gonzalez with a clever chip over the onrushing shot-stopper.

 Yet El Salvador still had something to say about the outcome of the match and found the 1-1 equalizer.
Roldan, wearing the captain’s armband, got into the box in the 90th minute and headed in a cross from the right-hand side, with the ball tucking under the crossbar and going in.

Next on the slate for El Salvador is a visit to Panama City to meet fellow Central
American rival Panama, while Jamaica heads back to Kingston where it welcomes the United States.

 

Jamaica Reggae Boyz head coach Theodore Whitmore is impressed with the team’s camaraderie, after using an extra day to prepare for the team’s World Cup qualifier against El Salvador on Friday.

In recent months questions had been raised regarding the team’s sense of togetherness on the back of a rumoured rift between locally born and Uk-born members of the squad.  That narrative has, however, shifted on the back of two solid performances against Canada and Honduras in the previous round of matches.

Heading into Friday’s encounter Whitmore is eager to see that trend continue heading into the upcoming round of games.

“I’m very pleased with the enthusiasm of the players.  The camaraderie is good, the vibes in the camp is good and I’m pleased with what I’ve seen so far,” Whitmore said.

The team arrived in El Salvador on Monday, in order to be able to squeeze in an extra training session for the team.

“We are looking forward to the final session and the game.”

The Jamaicans who got their campaign slow start are looking to build momentum on the back of their first win of qualifiers, which came against Honduras in the previous round.  The team is currently 6th in the eight-team standings on 5 points, 3 outside of the qualifying spots.

When the Reggae Boyz face El Salvador at the Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador on Friday, Reggae Boyz defender Damion Lowe is hoping for an important victory for more than one reason.

Jamaica Reggae Boyz head coach Theodore Whitmore says the team is looking to continue riding its momentum into the upcoming round of World Cup qualifiers, particularly as it relates to defensive solidity.

The Caribbean team had a difficult start to its qualification campaign going winless in its first five games, before getting on the board against Honduras.  The run of games included a 3-0 home loss to Panama and a 2-0 away loss to the United States.  During the period the team conceded 8 goals.

Whitmore, however, made tweaks to the team’s formation for the last two matches against Canada and Honduras, which has led to two clean sheets.

“I think we want to build on the last two performances, from Canada to Honduras I think we can see much improvement because we have not conceded for the last two games, so we would like to build on that,” Whitmore said.

“We have a balanced squad here, for these two upcoming games so we are looking forward to it.  Again, we want to build on the strength of the last two performances.”

The Jamaicans will kick off the crucial round of matches with an encounter against El Salvador on Friday, followed by a home match against the United States on Sunday.  For the first time since the start of the campaign, the team will be allowed to have limited fans in the stadium.

 

 

Jamaica’s senior national men’s team is set to leave for El Salvador on Monday evening, November 8, giving coach Theodore Whitmore three days to work with the players before their crucial World Cup qualifier against El Salvador on Friday, November 12.

Jamaica’s coming matches against El Salvador in San Salvador and a strengthened United States of America at the National Stadium in Kingston will be of great importance to the Reggae Boyz, who will be hoping to make up lost ground on the five teams ahead of them in the final round of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The players based in Europe are scheduled to arrive at the Norman Manley Airport in Kingston at 4:30 pm on Monday, where they will join the local delegation on a charter leaving at 7:00 pm. The players based in the United States (and Costa Rica) will fly directly to San Salvador on the same afternoon.

Injured players Dillon Barnes and Andre Gray will be replaced by Dwayne Miller and Javain Brown, respectively.

Jamaica will return to the island by charter on Saturday, November 13 before taking on the United States on Tuesday, November 16, at the National Stadium. A maximum of 5000 vaccinated spectators are expected to attend.

Jamaica got off to a poor start in the Octoganal round of qualifiers, losing 2-1 to Mexico and 3-0 to Panama in September. They then lost 2-0 to the United States in October and drew 0-0 with Canada and 1-1 with Costa Rica before getting their first win, a 2-0 victory over Honduras.

Jamaica has five points, the same number as El Salvador. They are also a point behind Costa Rica and three behind Panama that a currently fourth in the standings.

Mexico, the USA and Canada are the top three teams and are in the automatic qualifying positions for the World Cup.

 

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