Mexico put its World Cup qualifying effort back on track while simultaneously lifting an enormous weight from manager José Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre with a 1-0 win Tuesday at Jamaica.
El Tri walked into the National Stadium in Kingston reeling, fifth of sixth in regional qualifying for Brazil 2014, with de la Torre’s job squarely on the line. They walk out in a completely different place, top of the group, a tough match ahead in Panama but a winnable one four nights later in Mexico City against Costa Rica. (The schedule of CONCACAF final round qualifying matches is here.)
As for Jamaica …
We told you earlier that a Mexican win was probably best for the United States, whose coaching staff was in attendance (at the stadium the locals refer to as The Office) for Tuesday’s contest. They watched Aldo de Nigris’ goal in the 48th minute hold up against a fairly atrocious Jamaican defense, but one backstopped so capably by enormous shot-stopper Donovan Ricketts.
One school of thought says Jamaica will now be desperate, backs against the wall and all that on Friday as Jurgen Klinsmann’s United States team takes its turn at The Office. Maybe. Maybe not.
Last time down in Jamaica, the United States scored early against the Reggae Bozy, but made some poor choices and eventually fled on the wrong side of a 2-1 result.
If the Jamaicans, way down at the bottom of the 6-team group, winless in four final round matches, concede early on Friday against the United States, sound the collapse alert. Because it will be coming.
They aren’t particularly well organized anyway. If they play desperate but in control, Klinsmann and his troops could be in for a long Jamaican night. But if they play desperate and out of control, hell-bent to go get goals and indifferent to the consequences, Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley and whoever Klinsmann puts around them will counter attack them right out of World Cup contention.