Mexico and Jamaica are on two different paths going into the CONCACAF Gold Cup. On one hand you have Jamaica a team that many predicted were going to be decimated by teams such as Uruguay and Argentina, but instead only lost out by one goal in each game and, thanks to some impressive defense and goalkeeping, gained respect in the eyes of many.
Jamaica is on the up with their fantastic play defensively. Their goalkeeper Duwayne Kerr established himself as a great goalkeeper and might be a suitable provisional player as Jamaica has already announced their three goalkeepers to take to the Gold Cup. The back four of Kemar Lawrence, Adrian Mariappa, Michael Hector, and Wes Morgan looked solid for Jamaica as they allowed only one goal to offenses that included big names such as Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Híguain, Edinson Cavani, and Diego Rolán.
Considering that three of those names are on the squad for the Gold Cup, they will hope to replicate the same results they did against Uruguay and Argentina against other big opponents such as offensive minded Costa Rica and always dangerous Canada. They will hope to make an impact in their group and will look for their backline to provide a boost that Jamaica will rely on, as their offense still needs some work.
The Reggae Boyz will see this past tournament as a confidence booster and will seek to advance to the knockout stages of the Gold Cup and, realistically with the way they are playing, this doesn’t seem like it could be a task that is too far out of reach.
Mexico, on the other hand, is a complete mess. A tie against 89th ranked Bolivia and a loss to 39th ranked Ecuador saw them bow out of the tournament in the group stages for the second consecutive time in a row.
In addition to admitting that the Copa América was a “complete failure, Miguel “El Piojo” Herrera has been under fire for his expulsion from their game against Ecuador and afterwards where he sarcastically “thanked” the referee after Herrera felt that the ref missed an obvious penalty that would have favored Mexico. Also, he tweeted some off putting, unnecessary political messages on the social media that were unrelated to the tournament.
Not to mention the Mexico gaffer is involved in another controversy with a Mexican television announcer, in which Herrera’s daughter trashed talked the journalist on Twitter and he responded back to her in a less than appealing way. Herrera himself has fired back saying that he wants to “meet face to face” to “smooth things out”, insinuating he wants to fight him.
Mexico, controversies aside, did not impress with their mix of A and B squad that they sent to Chile. Rafa Marquez, the once reliable captain of Mexico, is injured once more and it forced him to bow out of the tournament after the first game. Raul Jimenez looked a mess in front for Mexico and if they really expect to compete in the Gold Cup they will need a way better performance than his Copa América failure.
We will have to wait and see how these teams do, but with the Gold Cup about to start in less than two weeks, both teams will show how their efforts in Chile will transfer over in the United States, for better or worse.