Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz finished Group C of the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the second position of the points standing after going down 1-0 to group winners Costa Rica at the Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida on Tuesday (July 20).
Bryan Ruiz’s 53rd-minute strike was the decider in the match, which was stopped after two minutes had elapsed, as a thunderstorm forced the players and officials from the field for almost three hours.
The Reggae Boyz needed to beat the Costa Ricans to top the group, as both teams started the match tied on six points and an identical goal difference of three. Costa Rica led as they had scored five goals to Jamaica’s four.
In the end, the Reggae Boyz failed to add to their points tally as Costa Rica collected three more from the match, to finish on nine points. In the battle for the minor places in Group C, Suriname ended third by inflicting a 2-1 defeat on Guadeloupe, who completed their fixtures without a point.
The second-place finish in the group matches the Reggae Boyz against CONCACAF giants the United States in a quarter-final battle, which will be contested on Sunday at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, where Costa Rica will also oppose Canada.
Jamaica’s technical team made eight changes from the players that started against Guadeloupe in the previous encounter, as only Blair Turgott, Damion Lowe and Daniel Johnson kept their spots in the formation for the match, in which Costa Rica’s goalkeeper Leonel Moreira was sent off.
The Reggae Boyz created several good scoring opportunities in both halves of the match with Costa Rica’s goalkeepers Moreira and substitute Esteban Alvarado being excellent between the sticks, as they denied different Jamaican players the chance to get on the scoresheet.
In one of the few chances created by Costa Rica, Ruiz scored after Jamaican midfielder Tyreek Magee was stripped of the ball by Keysher Fuller on the left in the Jamaican half of the pitch.
Fuller darted inside, before playing the ball further wide to Ariel Lassiter, who provided the cross for Ruiz to rise high and head past goalkeeper Dillon Barnes.