With 5 games to go in the group stage after losing 0-2 at home to Panama, Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz finds itself in what I believe is a “must win” away game against Haiti in a strong group that sees the top 2 advancing to the final 6-team group round of CONCACAF World Cup 2018 qualifications.
In theory, the Boyz can lose this game and still qualify. I am not that terrible at Mathematics. The reasons I consider this a must-win are:
1. The Boyz are looking for 10 points or more. With a loss, they can get a maximum of 12 points. With a draw, their maximum possible points is 13.
I believe that will get them into the next round.
a. 15 points -> 5 wins – 1 loss, which most likely tops group. I don’t expect this from any team.
b. 13 points -> 4-1-1 (12 + 0 + 1 = 13)
d. 12 points -> 4-2-0 (12 + 0 + 0 = 12)
e. 11 points -> 3-1-2 ( 9 + 0 + 2 = 11)
f. 10 points -> 3-2-1 ( 9 + 0 + 1 = 10)
2. A draw or loss against Haiti keeps the Boyz in 4th pla… er… last place in the group with 4 matches to go.
3. It only gets tougher so winning this may puts them in 3rd or maybe 2nd place, with 4 matches left next year.
4. With Panama easily defeating Jamaica in Kingston, Panama’s confidence will be much higher in Panama next year in the return match.
5. Costa Rica are the favorites in the group, but Jamaica has lost to Panama already.
6. With the current Boyz, “The Office” is no longer “the Office”. It’s just the National Stadium in Kingston, a place where Jamaica has a tough time winning in recent times. There’s no guarantee they’ll win 2 in Kingston and then win 1 and draw 1 on the road, after the Haiti match.
7. It is never fun trying to hope and depend on other teams to do your dirty work for you. Take care of business, even on artificial turf in Haiti…
Haiti, a team that plays and defends very well, is also desperate after going down 0-1 to Guatemala. They also need this win so it’s going to be very difficult for the Boyz.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Soca Warriors, one of the 4 Caribbean teams of the 12 in group stage, won their first match vs Guatemala. For the Soca Warriors, their next match is not a must win but a win vs the United States would put them in a commanding position in a group where the USA is the favorites. In fact, T&T was the only Caribbean team to register a win in game one.
St Vincent & the Grenadines, after going down 1-6 to the United States, has an opportunity against Guatemala to step into 3rd place after tomorrow night with a win.
Let’s see how it goes.