They are disappointed they conceded the opening goal only mere seconds into the encounter, but three of Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz are pleased with the grit shown in the 2-2 draw with Honduras at the National Stadium on Tuesday.
Striker Ryan Johnson, who came on as a second-half substitute, said his team suffered from lapses in concentration during the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifier against the Central Americans.
“It was a good fight. We did the best that we could and that’s how it goes…that’s football. Sometimes there is a lapse…but it’s how you bounce back and we bounced back well. We had more chances late in the second half [when we were] pushing the game,” said the 28-year-old striker.
Carlo Costly’s early goal and Maynor Figueroa’s deflected freekick twice gave Honduras the lead, while Jamaica benefited from a Jorge Claros own goal and a calmly struck penalty kick from captain Rodolph Austin.
Johnson, who is contemplating his future after a season with United States Major League Soccer (MLS) team Portland Timbers, noted as a plus the fact that two of the five goals the Boyz scored in the final phase came against the Hondurans.
“They scored two great goals and we came back and we scored two ourselves and we struggled to score goals this whole campaign and to score two is something good that we did,” he said.
Johnson failed to find the net throughout the hexagonal phase of qualifying but he put down that disappointing statistic to lack of team chemistry and cohesion.
He suggested that a combination of challenges worked against him and his teammates.
“I gave my best for my country [but] it’s tough when you are playing with players you don’t know that well and you don’t get accustomed to.
“The national team type of situation is a difficult one, especially with all the odds we have as players and as an organisation. There is a lot of things we fight against… for us to get simple little things.
“The limited resources and things like that and practice time for players to get used to each other. And you need things like that to happen if we are going to get results,” explained the former Toronto FC player.
Lloyd Doyley, 30, said the Reggae Boyz “showed a lot of heart” after a horror show of a first half.
“In the first half, I thought we didn’t play too well. We did well to come back to 1-1 then we let in a free kick. I thought we gave them a little bit too much respect and we didn’t play the way we did against the USA [in a 0-2 away loss last Friday]. If we played the way we did against the USA we would have dominated them.
“In the second half, we showed a lot of heart, a lot of determination and we could have actually won the game. We had to chase the game and we wanted to play with width and we pushed forward for that goal,” said the Watford right-back, who was withdrawn from the game in the second half.
Adrian Mariappa, the Crystal Palace centre-half, was left an unhappy man after the Winfried Schafer-coached team conceded another pair of goals.
“I’ve not been happy with how many goals we conceded,” said the 27-year-old.
Mariappa’s partnership with his former teammate at Watford, Nyron Nosworthy, was a key element in the Boyz trek to the final stage of World Cup qualifying before the latter was floored by injury.
“He was a massive player for us and you saw the effect it had on the defence when he got injured.”
Mariappa felt the changing of personnel — mostly due to injuries — in other areas of the pitch also had a negative effect in hindering players from becoming more familiar with each other.
“In the previous round we kept a couple clean sheets but it’s hard to gain partnerships and know how each other play after just a few days of training. I think the defence has changed nearly every single game where, as in the previous round, it was almost the same players used almost throughout.
“The same can be said for the strikers and we haven’t quite got the partnerships that we needed and as a result we haven’t scored enough and we have conceded too many.
“But there are a lot of positives to take out and move forward with. We played some good football at times,” he said.
The Jamaicans, who were winless in 10 matches, finished in last spot with five points.
United States (22 points), Costa Rica (18) and Honduras (15) took the automatic qualifying places, while fourth-placed Mexico (11) are forced to play off with Oceania winners New Zealand. Panama (eight points) ended in fifth place.