After looking in charge for much of the match a second half penalty has cost El Salvador dearly as Jamaica managed a 1-1 draw at the Alamodome on Sunday evening, to finish second in Group C in the Gold Cup, with El Salvador third.
“We have to be a lot better than that if we want to advance beyond the quarter finals,” said Jamaican forward Darren Mattocks. “We just were complacent out there, and it’s not good enough, we have a lot of improving to do.”
El Salvador opened the scoring in the ninth minute after a missed challenge allowed Nelson Bonilla to be played through. He was kept just on-side and while Andre Blake tried to push him wide Bonilla did well to shoot low, across the face of goal, and hit the back of the net.
Jamaica was handed a lifeline in the 63rd minute after El Salvador gave away a penalty after contact on a 50-50 ball. Darren Mattocks stepped up and buried the chance, sending it just out of the reach of Derby Carrilllo.
Both teams needed a win, Jamaica to keep pressure on Mexico and avoid finishing third in the group; while El Salvador needed a win to seal passage to the quarterfinal. That led to a frantic end-to-end start with both teams having chances in the first two minutes.
Following going behind, Jamaica had to go on the offensive, and started really attacking to try and find an equalizer. Coming third would put them up against the United States, and while Jamaica has good memories of playing the United States in the last Gold Cup, it is certainly fate they wanted to avoid.
A horrible defensive lapse from Jamaican defender Damion Lowe allowed Darwin Ceren to shot from the right. That shot should have punished Lowe but it went agonizingly wide of goal, keeping Jamaica in the match.
Jamaica had a great chance in the 45th minute when Alvas Powell made a strong run to goal but couldn’t shoot past the keeper. Powell’s long run deserved more but he shot right at the keeper, keeping it 1-0 to El Salvador at the break.
El Salvador started the second half the stronger side, forcing mistakes out of the Jamaican defense, who give up far too many fouls. That seemed to ease the nerves of the El Salvador players but they still couldn’t find a second goal.
Blake was the only thing keeping the match to 1-0 in the 60th minute after a phenomenal run from Gerson Mayen. Mayen beat three defenders in his run through midfield, to get one-on-one with Blake, who stretched out to make a great save.
After Jamaica’s equalizer the match started to really fade, with Jamaica no longer desperate to score they looked to just hold the ball. That saw chances dry up more and more for El Salvador who seemed almost resigned to finishing third in the group.