Kemar Lawrence came on for a second-half cameo in Jamaica's friendly against Honduras in Houston on February 16. He wasn't in the starting lineup as part of coach Theodore "Tappa" Whitmore's plan to stay true to his word and use his team's February friendlies to showcase players still based in Jamaica. In comments to the Jamaica Observer, Whitmore explained:
My aim is to look beyond the Caribbean Cup and the Gold Cup in the summer, but more long term over a number of years, because we want to give these players a chance to develop into quality players and it will take some time to get them to that level.
So the starting lineup included teenagers Kevon Lambert, Shamar Nicholson, and Jourdaine Fletcher. More experienced players - like Kemar Lawrence, Andre Blake, and emerging attacking talent Cory Burke - watched from the bench.
Lawrence got into the game for the last 35 minutes or so, which meant he was on the field when Jamaica scored.
56' Kemar Lawrence is on for Jamaica. Didn't quite catch the injured player he came on for, but I think it was Watson...0-0— Caribbean Football (@caribbeanfooty) February 17, 2017
The Jamaica Observer's Ian Burnett described Jamaica as "second best in the first half", but an improved showing after half time ultimately delivered the match-winner. The Observer credits the goal to Burke, but the immediate reaction and a steadily building post-match consensus saw it as Damion Lowe's strike.
No doubt about it. It is @dlowe_31 goal. This is his 1st goal for Jamaica! Hopefully first of many. https://t.co/COpaLIHI1B— Simon Preston (@SimeyP93) February 17, 2017
It was neither team's strongest side - the Honduras squad was entirely drawn from local clubs - and neither would have been unduly troubled by any result. Still, the 1-0 win is certainly a boost for Jamaica and the prospects of the locally-based players given the opportunity to bolster their experience at the international level.
For New York Red Bulls fans, this was close to the perfect outing for Lawrence. He was not reported to have suffered any injury, he played a little but so much as to necessarily exhaust himself, and his team won - so he'll be returning to his club in a more positive mood than if the Reggae Boyz had lost.
Lawrence should soon be back in RBNY training to press his case for a start in the team's season-opening CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Vancouver Whitecaps.