Sports

Girlz kick off CONCACAF campaign against mighty Mexico

UNDAUNTED

SHERDON COWAN
AT THE CONCACAF U-20
WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP
In Trinidad

Friday, January 19, 2018



PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago — After an almost month-long preparation phase, Jamaica's Under-20 Reggae Girlz will now be aiming to execute efficiently to kick-start their CONCACAF Women's Championship campaign when they take on powerhouse Mexico in their opening Group B fixture today.

The teams are scheduled to meet at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva at 4:00 pm (3:00 pm Jamaica time), before defending champions United States of America tackle Nicaragua in the Group B feature at 6:30 pm (5:30 pm Jamaica time).

After going through a light training session yesterday morning at the Queens Savannah Park situated close to the team's hotel, the main objective is now about putting points on the board.

But to do so, they will have to get a positive result against a tough Mexican outfit.

Head Coach Lorne Donaldson, though wary of the strength of the Mexican team, pointed out that the coaching staff will be aiming to identify the weak areas of their opponents and exploit them as best as possible.

“The spirit of the team is good, everybody is in now, so obviously we got a little bit more done and it is just a matter of putting in play what we practise — to exploit the Mexican weaknesses and nullify their strength.

“We are going to have to utilise our speed, which is a big thing in this team, and we are stressing that as well as our one-on-one ability both in attack and defence in the wide areas. If we can win those battles, then I think we have a good chance, but we have to win those wide battles and I think that is what it is going to come down to,” Donaldson told the Jamaica Observer.

The perception in the Jamaican camp is that the they possess as much quality as their opponents, as the unit which won the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) qualifiers has been bolstered significantly by a number of overseas-based players.

This has left Donaldson cautiously optimistic about their chances of springing a surprise against their more illustrious opponent and to move one step closer to advancing to the semi-final round.

“I like our chances I don't think a lot of people expect much from us, but the players know that they have the ability to put teams away. But we have to put away our chances. We know we are going to get chances, and if we do that then I know we will come out with something,” the tactician noted.

Donaldson pointed out that they will be sticking with the 4-3-3 formation which the players are accustomed to.

The starting line-up will see Sydney Schneider (New Jersey) in goal, backed by central defenders Chyanne Dennis (Florida), and Jadyn Matthews (Florida) who will be flanked by Erin Mikalsen (Florida) on the left and local-based Gabrielle Gayle.

The ever-composed Giselle Washington (Atlanta) and Emily Caza (Canada) will play a holding midfield role, with Olufolasade Adamolekun (Florida) playing right behind strikers Shayla Smart (Florida) and Jazmin Grant (Houston) and Mireya Grey (Seattle).

The top two teams from each group will advance to the semi-finals, where the top three teams will qualify for the Women's Under-20 World Cup to be staged in France in August.

Hosts Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica, Haiti and Canada are contesting the other group.

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