Boyz strike! – Ja clip Costa Rica in ‘Office’ friendly

September 6th, 2010

Jamaica’s goalscorer Ryan Johnson (centre) prepares to go by Armando Alonso of Costa Rica during their friendly international at the National Stadium last night. Jamaica won 1-0. (Photo: Bryan Cummings)

Ryan Johnson’s ferocious left footer just after the hour mark settled the issue and gave Jamaica a 1-0 victory over their Central American nemesis Costa Rica inside the National Stadium last night.

The victory was only the fourth for Jamaica in 20 attempts against Costa Rica, and it helped to ease the tension by breaking a six-game winless streak. There are also six drawn results and 10 losses for the Boyz.

Despite kick-off being delayed by an hour to 7:00 pm instead of the advertised 6:00 pm, spectators still stayed away in numbers as the stadium was no more than half full.

Both teams found it difficult to create any clear openings in the opening minutes, with the Reggae Boyz getting their first shot on goal after more than 10 minutes had elapsed with Demar Phillips shooting high and wide after being set up on the left side of the penalty area.

The visitors should have taken the lead before the midway point in the first half, but Manfred Russell unbelievably skied a grounded centre pass from the left from six yards, one of the rare occasions that the Jamaican defence was caught napping.

Dane Richards’s pace, which has been creating problems for defenders in the US Major League Soccer, was also proving a menace for the visitors, as on a few occasions he got behind their defence but the Boyz could not find the finish to match his blinding speed.

However, Trinidadian referee Neil Brizan appeared in a generous mood when he produced only a yellow card instead of the obligatory red for defender Ricardo Blanco, who pulled down Richards just outside the penalty box after the diminutive striker had sped past and headed for goal. It is believed that had it not been a friendly international, Blanco would have been sent to the showers early, and Costa Rica would have had to battle a man down from the 20th minute.

The teams traded periods of dominance, and just before the break, the visitors had another chance to go ahead, but central defender Roy Miller flashed a header over the horizontal from six yards after being left unmarked from a right-side corner.

At that stage, probably the most entertainment was provided by I-Octane’s brief half time performance, which sent the crowd wild.

The teams continued to trade attacks in the second half, and before long, Bryan Ruiz, centre of the goal, fired straight into the welcoming arms of Dwayne Miller from the edge of the penalty area.

But on 66 minutes, Johnson outmuscled a defender to a long ball, and after settling over the ball inside the area, he planted a rasping shot into the goal to notch his second strike for Jamaica, following his headed goal against Argentina in Mar Del Plata in February.

His strike came only six minutes after he was switched from the left flank to the centre forward position by head coach Theodore Whitmore, following the substitution of Kavin Bryam.

The Boyz almost added a second moments later when Phillips’ thunderous free kick from 35 yards was brilliantly blocked by goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton.

Both coaches introduced new players late in the game, with Whitmore making six changes and his counterpart Ronald Gonzalez making five, which took some of the sting from the game.

The Boyz will leave for Fort Lauderdale today ahead of tomorrow’s contest against South American outfit Peru at Lockhart Stadium, hoping to claim another scalp as they continue their build-up to the Brazil 2014 World Cup Finals.


Jamaica — Dwayne Miller, Dicoy Williams, Jermaine Taylor, Adrian Reid, Richard Edwards (Lovel Palmer 81st), Jason Morrison (Kenardo Forbes 90th+), Eric Vernan, Demar Phillips (Troy Smith 74th), Dane Richards (Keammar Daley 69th), Ryan Johnson (Jevaughn Watson 86th), Kavin Bryan (Omar Daley 60th).

Subs not used: Andre Blake, Oneil Fisher, Devon Williams.

Booked: Richards (46th), Vernan (70th)

Costa Rica — Patrick Pemberton, Jose Mena, Junior Diaz, Ricardo Blanco (Argenis Fernandez 71st), Roy Miller, Celso Borges (Juan Guzman 74th), Alvaro Sanchez (Juan Monge 64th), Armando Alonso, Manfred Russell (Josue Martinez 59th), Michael Barrantes (Jose Cubero 64th), Bryan Ruiz.

Subs not used: Adrian Delemus, Heiner Mora, Pedro Leal, Roy Smith, Alvaro Saborio.


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