The Guatemala vs Jamaica match is a pivotal Group A game that will be played on Friday, October 12, 2012 at 10:00 PM EDT at the Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City. Group A has been tighter than everyone expected: Guatemala, Jamaica and the USMNT all have seven points with just two games left to go. Basically, Guatemala must win at home against Jamaica if it wants to continue to have a chance to play in the final round of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers. Will Guatemala take advantage of the home crowd and get the key three points?
Guatemala currently has seven points, and is actually placed in the first spot of Group A thanks to a +2 goal difference (USMNT is also at +2, Jamaica at +1). However, their qualification to the next round is anything but guaranteed, a draw or loss against Jamaica makes things extremely complicated. That’s because Guatemala closes off group play by playing against the USMNT in the United States, getting any points there would be a herculean task. Furthermore, Jamaica gets to close their group play against the weakest team of the group, Antigua and Barbuda, an almost guaranteed three points for Jamaica.
Now, lets go over some number to look at Guatemala’s options:
USMNT gets to play at Antigua and Barbuda first, lets assume the US gets the job done and earns three points. The US then hosts Guatemala, historical evidence argues for a US win, another three points. This means the USMNT will likely finish Group A with 13 points.
Jamaica gets to finish Group A play with a home game against Antigua and Barbuda, given that Jamaica already defeated Guatemala and the USA at home, it’s very likely they will get the three points against Antigua and Barbuda. Not taking into account the game against Guatemala, Jamaica will at least finish with 10 points.
According to my calculations, USA finishes with 13 points, and Jamaica with 10 points. This means that Guatemala, which currently has seven points, is forced to get the win at home against Jamaica. This would leave Guatemala with 10 points as well (assuming a loss at the USA), and waiting for the goal difference to be the final deciding factor. A draw or loss against Jamaica virtually eliminates Guatemala (or forces them to look for a miracle win at the United States).
The Guatemalan players and crowd are very aware of this, they know that Friday’s Guatemala vs Jamaica match is a must-win game. Guatemala has been good at home through two matches, drawing 1-1 against the US, and defeating Antigua and Barbuda 3-1. Jamaica has not been good at all when they travel, drawing against the group’s weakest team, Antigua and Barbuda 0-0, and losing against the USMNT 1-0 in a match that never looked like they would get a point. Guatemala has what it takes to win at home.
Prediction: The Guatemala vs Jamaica match will be that special type of match you only get to see in the World Cup qualifiers, when a group of players must play their hearts out to keep their country’s hope for reaching the World Cup alive. Guatemala must win this match, and the players and the crowd will do everything they can to win the game. If Guatemala’s key players, Pappa, Minor Lopez, and “Pescadito” Ruiz can give a good display, Guatemala has a chance at winning the key three points.
I believe that Jamaica will come in with an ultra-defensive approach like it did against the USMNT in September, knowing that a draw is as good as a ticket to the final qualifying round. This will force Guatemala to go on the offense and look to generate some goals that will give them the win. The Guatemala vs Jamaica match will end in a very tense 1-0 win for Guatemala. Everything will be decided on Tuesday.
Television: The Guatemala vs Jamaica match will be televised on Friday, October 12, 2012 at 10:00 PM EDT on beIN Sport 1, a new soccer channel available through most major cable and satellite companies.
1. Rubén Morales Cobán (Imperial)
2. Erwin Morales (Comunicaciones)
3. Wilfred Velásquez (Comunicaciones)
4. Carlos Figueroa (Comunicaciones)
5. Dwight Pezzarossi (Comunicaciones)
6. Jose M. Contreras (Comunicaciones)
7. Minor López Campollo (Dep. La Serena, Chile)
8. Ricardo Jerez (Dep. Marquense)
9. Jonathan López (Dep. Marquense)
10. Wilson Lalin (Dep. Marquense)
11. Gonzalo Romero (Dep. Marquense)
12. Lester Ruíz (Dep. Suchitepéquez)
13. Rafael González (Deportivo Malacateco)
14. Marco Pappa (Hereenven, Holanda)
15. Cristian Alvarez (Municipal)
16. Claudio Albizuris (Municipal)
17. Mario Rodríguez (Municipal)
18. Sergio Trujillo (Municipal)
19. Carlos Ruiz
20. Henry López
21. Marco Tulio Ciani (Universidad De San Carlos)
22. Jaime Carbajal (Universidad De San Carlos)
23. Manuel León (Xelajú Mc)[/twocol_one] [twocol_one_last]Jamaica Roster
1. Jacomeno Barrett (Montego Bay United)
2. Dwayne Miller (Syrianska FC, Sweeden)
3. DuWayne Kerr (Strømmen de Noruega).
4. Shavar Thomas (Montreal Impact, MLS)
5. Jermaine Taylor (Houston Dynamo, MLS)
6. Dicoy Williams (Toronto FC, MLS)
7. Nyron Nosworthy (Watford, England)
8. Adrian Mariappa (Reading FC, England)
9. Lovel Palmer (Portland Timbers, MLS)
10. Andrae Campbell (Waterhouse F.C.)
11. Ewan Grandison (Portmore United FC)
12. Andre Lewis
13. Jermaine Hue (Harbour View)
14. Je-Vaughn Watson (Houston Dynamo, MLS)
15. Jason Morrison (Aalesunds FK, Norway)
16. Demar Phillips (Aalesunds FK, Norway)
17. Rodolph Austin (Leeds United, England)
18. Joel Senior (Harbour View F.C.)
19. Dane Richards (Vancouver Whitecaps, MLS)
20. Omar Cummings (Colorado Rapids, MLS)
21. Ryan Johnson (Toronto FC, MLS)
22. Tramaine Stewart (Aalesunds FK, Norway)
23. Luton Shelton (Kardemir Karabükspor, Turkey)
24. Kavin Bryan (Lam Nghe An Sông, Vietnam).[/twocol_one_last]