WCQ: Reggae Boyz use U.S. win as rallying point

Jamaica's participation in the Copa America and Gold Cup was supposed to build a foundation upon which the Reggae Boyz could have a strong World Cup qualifying camapign that would lead to their second trip to the finals.

But they are in danger of exiting at the first hurdle after losing, 3-2, at home to upstart Nicaragua. Jamaica's German coach, Winfried Schaefer, is using the 2-1 win over the USA in the Gold Cup semifinals to build his players' confidence for Tuesday's must-win game in Managua.

"I told them that I was sure they would win," Schaefer told the Jamaica Observer, "as they did it before 69,000 fans against the United States in their home. I believe, but the players have to believe as well. All 23 players have to believe, and together we can change this situation to get into the group phase. But the team discipline has to be perfect."

Third Round, Second Leg:
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8
Belize vs. Canada, 9 pm ET, Bein Sports Connect
(Canada leads 3-0.)
Aruba vs. St. Vincent & the Grenadines
(St. Vincent & the Grenadines leads 2-0.)
Haiti vs. Grenada, 6 pm ET
(Haiti leads 3-1.)
El Salvador vs. Curacao, 9:30 pm ET, NBC Universo, Bein Sports Connect
(El Salvador leads 1-0.)
Nicaragua vs. Jamaica, 9:30 pm ET
(Nicaragua lads 3-2.)
Guatemala  vs. Antigua & Barbuda, 10 pm ET, Bein Sports Connect
(Antigua & Barbuda leads 1-0.)

Jamaica fell behind Nicaragua, 3-0, after 48 minutes and even with two late goals it must win by at last two goals in Managua to advance to the semifinal round against Costa Rica, Panama and likely Haiti.

The top six teams in Concacaf have byes into the semifinal round, but the seedings were based on the FIFA rankings as of August 2014, long before Jamaica's Caribbean Cup championship and Gold Cup run. Jamaica was the only team that played in the 2013 Hexagonal but did not get a bye. Trinidad & Tobago, which tied Mexico, 3-3, on Friday night in a friendly, received the other bye.

WCQ-Concacaf: Third Round, First Leg

Schaefer, who took over Jamaica in the middle of 2013, blamed himself for the Reggae Boyz' letdown after their historic second-place finish at the Gold Cup.

"My mistake is that I allowed too many distractions around the team," he said, "and some players were not as concentrated as they should have been. Some of them had friends and relatives checking up with them at various hours throughout their stay in Jamaica."

He said it carried over to the field.

"Some members of our team were arrogant," he told the Observer, "and there was not enough tactical discipline and organization in the team. Many things in the first half hour were wrong, and that was our problem."

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