The 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup runners-up, Jamaica, have been drawn with Mexico, El Salvador and Curacao in Group C of this year’s tournament. The Reggae Boys exceeded expectations by making it to the final two years ago and will do very well to repeat that effort in 2017. They begin the tournament with a fixture against Curacao and on the face of it, this seems like a comfortable opener.
However, Curacao are an improving nation and having defeated Jamaica 2-1 in the recent Caribbean Cup final, will be confident of getting something from this match.
Jamaica come into this match having won 4 and lost 3 of their last 7 games. There have been victories over Guyana, Suriname, Honduras and French Guyana. The defeats came against United States, Peru and upcoming opponents, Curacao.
The Reggae Boyz crashed out of 2018 World Cup qualifying at the fourth-round stage, finishing bottom of a group containing Costa Rica, Panama and Haiti. A 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Haiti was a real low point of the campaign.
Having won the recent Caribbean Cup, Curacao will start the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup full of confidence. They are a team who seem to be improving all the time and have lost only 1 of their last 10 games.
There have been victories over Guyana, Dominican Republic, US Virgin Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, Puerto Rico, Martinique and Jamaica. While some of these nations are very small, Curacao produced some convincing performances to defeat them.
Their only defeat in their last 10 games came at the hands of Canada in a friendly match away from home. Curacao took the lead in that game, only to lose it inside the final few minutes.
Jamaica have a squad featuring several MLS based players. The most experienced of these are Darren Mattocks, Je-Vaughn Watson and Jermaine Taylor and it will fall on their shoulders to guide Jamaica through this tough looking fixture.
Curacao have several players operating in the Dutch league, in addition to other leagues around Europe. Strikers Gino van Kessel and Felitciano Zschusschen are expected to lead the line and Leandro Bacuna and Cuco Martina will be given the task of winning the battle in midfield.
Top Betting Tips
Jamaica start this match as favourites with the bookmakers, priced at 10/11 with Ladbrokes. However, recent form suggests this match is going to be much closer than the odds suggest and the draw at 21/10 with Ladbrokes is the better bet.
Neither team look particularly good defensively and there should be plenty of goal scoring opportunities in this game. With that in mind, the draw and both teams to score is a tempting bet and can be backed at 4/1 with Ladbrokes.
The experienced Leandro Bacuna is expected to be on set-piece duty for Curacao in this match and has popped up with goals in the Caribbean Cup from open play. The Aston Villa man is available at 17/2 with Ladbrokes to score at any time.