Everyone gave it their best shot.
That’s the consensus among the Reggae Boyz, who suffered a heartbreaking 1-2 loss to the United States of America in their CONCACAF Gold Cup final played in front of 63,032 spectators inside Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, on Wednesday night.
“I have to commend the guys. They did a great job and everyone gave it their best shot and it’s just unfortunate that we weren’t able to come out on top,” lamented goalkeeping captain Andre Blake at game’s end.
Blake, the inspirational skipper, who was outstanding throughout the tournament, was forced off the pitch in the 23rd minute after he suffered a laceration which required seven stitches in the web of his fingers.
He had just made a brilliant save to deny Jozy Altidore, and in attempting to smother the ball ahead of the onrushing Darlington Nagbe on the follow-up, his fingers were caught by the player’s cleats, thus causing the injury.
The man who later won the Golden Glove award for best goalkeeper of the tournament, said he was feeling better from the injury, but pain for his team’s loss.
“I’m feeling better, thanks be to God, nothing is broken so that’s good, but I got a pretty bad cut, got seven stitches so now I’m just going to have to take it one step at a time. It will be 10 days before the stitches come out so after that it will be a day-to-day assessment.”
Blake, who won the Goalkeeper of the Year award in Major League Soccer last year, explained how the injury occurred.
“After I made the first save I saw that the guy was coming in so I was trying to get to the ball before him, so when I got to the ball and I got a touch on the ball his studs caught me and it just rip it open.”
Blake said he thoroughly enjoyed the tournament.
“For Jamaica it was a great run, definitely one of the best moments for me, and the consistency was an important part of that, but I think there is still more that I can do, but it’s a work in progress just the same and I have to keep my head at doing what I’m doing and for me the sky’s the limit,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Damion Lowe, son of former national striker Onandi Lowe, says he was not disappointed at the final outcome because the team gave it their all.
“I think that we came here and we got the job done. A lot of people thought that we overachieved, but I felt that we believed in ourselves and we went out there and we put it all on the line and we got good results from it. I’m not disappointed at all,” he said emphatically.
And the Tampa Bay Rowdies defender, who also had a good tournament, noted that the Reggae Boyz were never daunted when they went behind to a superb strike from Jozy Altidore on the stroke of half-time.
“Not devastating; it’s football and anything can happen,” he said.
“You just have to try to keep focused for a long period of time. We gave away a soft foul and they made use of it. It was a quality strike from a world-class player, so you have to give him his props, but we knew that one goal can never beat us. We were going to bounce back and we were going to get chances because we were still in the game and we came back, which was good.”
And even when Jordan Morris popped up a minute from full time to condemn the Jamaicans to their second consecutive loss in the Gold Cup final, the 24-year-old had no complaints, having been satisfied with his team’s output, not just in the final, but throughout the six games.
“It was a good strike from Jordan; unfortunately, it was a fumble and we were a bit ticked off because there’s nothing you can do when a ball fumbles in the 18 and you are outnumbered. I think the guys played well, I think we played with guts, with our hearts and represented well.”
Lowe will now take the time out to recoup and refresh his body as he looks to maintain a high quality of play with his club. And as far as the Reggae Boyz’s future goes, he hopes that the powers that be keep this group of players together and continue to nurture it.
“Right now, I’m just looking to recover and to get my body right again and go back to my club and focus on playing valuable minutes again and playing with the same quality that I did in this tournament.
“Hopefully this tournament can draw a lot of interest from teams so that I can get back into the MLS and hopefully play overseas, but I’m just going to take it one step at a time and take care of my body,” Lowe said.
Source: The Jamaica Observer