Jamaica fell 1-0 to Paraguay in their second match of group play. The Jamaicans have been a pleasant surprise this tournament proving to be much tougher customers than many expected. In their first match, the Reggae Boyz fell 1-0, restricting Uruguay's potent frontline to only one goal.
In both games finishing has been Jamaica's biggest problem. Head coach Winfried Schaefer attempted to fix this by replacing Darren Mattocks with JeVaughn Watson, who arrived late to the tournament because of club commitments, for the game against Paraguay. Once again Kemar Lawrence started and played the full 90 minutes.
Much as it was against Uruguay, Jamaica started the game very well. Schaefer has shown that his team will not be intimidated by big names and will stay true to their style. The match was balanced until goalkeeper Duwayne Kerr made a costly mistake. The keeper was out of place when a long ball was played into the box; he panicked and headed the ball directly into the path of Paraguayan forward Edgar Benitez. The goal changed the game as Los Guaraníes went on to dominate the rest of the half.
Throughout the game Lawrence was tasked with marking the supremely talented Derlis Gonzalez of FC Basel. The second half was more of the same for Jamaica. Still, despite Paraguay's best efforts, the team was able to keep the deficit to only one. In the 80th minute, Garath McCleary almost leveled the match with a long range effort that just barely went wide.
Jamaica will close out group play against Argentina on June 20. The match will be shown on BeIN Sports at 5:30 p.m.
Against the Albiceleste, Lawrence might be tasked with marking one of the worlds best: Lionel Messi. The odds of reaching the next round are now stacked against the Reggae Boyz. They can no longer qualify as one of the top two teams in their group, but still have a chance as one of the top two third-placed teams.