After last year's big summer tournament on American soil, Jamaica seemed to have reasonable hope of rolling into Copa America Centenario as one of the CONCACAF teams thought to have a shot at spoiling CONMEBOL's party. Unfortunately, since that inspired run to the Gold Cup final, subsequent results have been less inspiring: a 3-2 loss to Nicaragua in Kingston started a discouraging stretch that has seen the Reggae Boyz lose four of their last eight internationals, including two of the three games they have played at home in that time (and the third of those home games was a draw).
Fortunately for the Reggae Boyz, Copa America Centenario will not be played in Jamaica - and the team warmed up for this tournament with a 2-1 win over Chile in Chile. If you're only as a good as your last result, Jamaica's last result was pretty good.
So the Jamaicans have reason to be cheerful about their prospects. And they can be further cheered by the fact they will kick off their Copa Centenario campaign against Venezuela: a team that has won only once since last year's Copa America.
The Reggae Boyz will hope the confidence gained from the win in Chile outweighs whatever disruption may have been caused by subsequent toing and froing within the camp. Simon Dawkins has struggled with injury recently and was finally withdrawn from the squad on Thursday, triggering a call-up for Joel Grant, who arrived from England on Friday. It's Grant's second short-notice summons from Jamaica in the last week. He was called to Chile, in relief of Dawkins, at short notice and scored the match-winner. The Reggae Boyz will hope he makes a similar contribution this time.
Team captain Rodolph Austin landed with the team on Monday; Wes Morgan joined the squad on Thursday; the New York Red Bulls' Kemar Lawrence interrupted his training to make a quick trip back to Jamaica for personal reasons: it has not been the most settled camp for the Reggae Boyz.
In a group that also includes Mexico and Uruguay, neither Jamaica nor Venezuela are favorites to advance to the knockout rounds of this tournament. Three points from this game won't do much to alter expectations since no one doubts the two underdogs in Group C are at least capable of beating each other, but if one of these teams takes a win out of this match then they are probably just one upset away from the quarterfinals.