Maybe Jamaica’s participation in the Copa America last month in Chile will pay off this month on the other side of the equator.
The Reggae Boyz opened their 2015 Gold Cup run with a solid result against world No. 14 Costa Rica, drawing 2-2 in Carson on Wednesday night.
Roy Miller and David Ramirez scored for Costa Rica, while Garath McCleary and Jobi McAnuff netted for Jamaica. The Reggae Boyz led 1-0 and trailed 2-1.
Jamaica lost all three of its matches at the Copa America, as Winfried Schafer charges suffered 1-0 losses to Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina.
But they weren’t fazed by Costa Rica, scoring the first goal when Kemar Lawrence’s long throw bounded off the grass and over Junior Diaz, who mistimed the bounce. McCleary was in prime position to finish from close range, and Jamaica led 1-0 in the 13th minute
Los Ticos tied it up on crafty free kick play in the 33rd minute. Sending a ball in from the left, Bryan Ruiz played a low pass across the top of the 18, and Ramirez flicked it over the charging Jamaican defense for Miller to head home.
Costa Rica found a lead four minutes later. Celso Borges sent a long ball over the top of the Reggae Boyz’ defense, and Ramirez got in tight to put his first touch home.
Jamaica got a little bit of luck to help tie the score, as McAnuff’s out-of-control dribble paid off. McAnuff slapped his foot at an odd bounce, and it fooled Miller. His next touch was a fine finish, and it was 2-2.
It was Esteban Alvarado, not Keylor Navas, in goal for Costa Rica, and the 26-year-old AZ Alkmaar keeper made a strong low save to stop a cutting dribble into the 18 by Darren Mattocks.
Both teams looked capable of scoring a winner late, but neither found a way to take all three points. The 89th minute saw Alvarado explode off his line to deny a late Jamaican shot.
Jamaica next faces Canada on Saturday in Houston, while Costa Rica will play El Salvador.