Kemar Lawrence got the start as Jamaica competed in its first ever Copa America game as the Reggae Boyz took on Uruguay in their first match of group play. a very tall task as La Celeste are the defending South American champs. Los Charruas are without star forward Luis Suarez who is suspended because of his incident in last summers World Cup involving Giorgio Chiellini. Jamaica also faces the uphill battle of not being a South American country, as made clear by Uruguay's Edinson Cavani.
Despite being underdogs the Jamaicans gave Los Charruas everything they could handle. Lawrence started at his favored left back spot and was tasked with marking River Plate's Carlos Sanchez for most of the game. Lawrence bombed forward down the flank the way Red Bulls fans have become accustomed to this year. The Reggae Boyz best opportunity came in the 39th minute as the ball fell to Darren Mattocks, but the Vancouver Whitecaps front man was not able to make solid contact with the ball. In the 52nd minute Uruguay's Cristian Rodriguez put the ball in the back of the net after Jose Maria Gimenez headed the ball down off of a free kick. The Reggae Boyz then ramped up the pressure as they looked for an equalizer. Lawrence launched a couple of balls into the area with his long throw in, but no one was able to get on the other end.
With the win Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez was able to end the curse that was haunting him as the experienced coach had never won the opening game of an international competition.
Lawrence has enjoyed a breakout season so far both domestically and internationally as he has begun to really make the left back spot his at both levels. The Reggae Boyz return to action next Tuesday as they take on Paraguay, once again they will play in Antofagasta. That match will be on BeIN Sport at 5:00 pm Eastern.