Don’t count us out!

first_imgGolden Jaguars hunting three points against Panama tonightBy Rawle Toney in Cleveland (compliments of Let’s Bet Sports)THE defeat to the USA (4-0) is behind coach Michael Johnson and his troops, and tonight at the FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, the Golden Jaguars will go hunting for three points against Panama in their second game of the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup.Panama got off to a successful start against Trinidad and Tobago, beating the ‘Soca Warriors’ 2-0 in Minnesota, but they too will be approaching today’s contest, which gets going at 17:30hrs, as a must-win, which makes the game with the Golden Jaguars very intriguing.Today’s clash marks the first official international encounter between Guyana and Panama, since the Golden Jaguars had played the Central Americans in an unofficial friendly back in 2012, during their (Guyana) preparation for the penultimate round of the CONCACAF 2014 FIFA qualifier tournamentSpeaking at the pre-match press conference, Johnson said that he’s looking forward to the game against Panama, adding, “I mean after the defeat against the USA, we obviously take a lot of pride and a lot of positives from that game. You know, it’s been really great listening to the world of football over the last few days, some of the comments from international managers and premier league.“It’s been really positive, particularly about the first hour and hopefully we move forward with those positives and it will help us as we play against Panama.”Speaking more specifically to the game, Johnson believes that the playing field today will be closer than that of the game against the USA, telling Chronicle Sport, “It’s not going to be level by all account (because) this is a team that played in the FIFA World Cup last year, so they have a lot of experience and their team composition will show you that, a large number of their team have the most caps for Panama but this is a Cup final for us and this is an opportunity for us to do something.”Johnson spoke of Pamana’s physical style of play, but noted that it will be a plus for Guyana, given the fact that most of the team play their football in England, which is a given style.Some changes will be made In the game against the USA, Johnson went with what some pundits are calling “an experimental line-up”, playing Emery Welshman as his lone striker, while Callum Harriot and Brandon Beresford (mostly defensive) played the wings.Neil Danns was the distributor in the game, playing in the centre midfield position, while Keanu Marsh-Brown and Elliot Bonds played just behind.Coach Michael Johnson, Technical Director Ian Greenwood and Assistant Coach Charles ‘Lilly’ Pollard at the FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland at the team’s final practice session before their game against PanamaMatthew Briggs started in the left-back position, Liam Gordon (debutant) played next to him, while Terrence Vancooten was the central defender, and in the right-back was debutant Jordan Dover. Akel Clarke started in goal.The 45-year-old former Jamaican International took some beating from fans, especially on social media, for the team he fielded, since many believe that he had better players on the substitute bench.Asked about what Guyana’s line-up will look like in today’s crucial game, Johnson confirmed, “There will be one and two changes. I think, you don’t want to make wholesale changes. As a positive we did well, and anything that you did well in, you don’t want to make huge changes.Yes, there will be a few changes and some tweaking to be done. We spoke to players one on one where they probably could’ve done better, but there wouldn’t be wholesale changes.”DON’T COUNT US OUT! Following the team’s 4-0 defeat at the Allianz Field in Minnesota, some Guyanese were harsh on Golden Jaguars, some warranted, while some were just out of pure ignorance. However, most persons had written Golden Jaguars off from advancing out of a tough‘Group D’. Asked what his message to fans back in Guyana would be, especially those who don’t see Guyana progressing, Johnson simply said,, “Don’t count us out.”“This group of players are used to be written off, they’re used to this underdog mentality. We know where we are. Panama probably think they’re going to stick five or six past us. The U.S. probably thought that even at 4-0 they’re disappointed because they didn’t stick nine or ten, so we’re realistic.“We’re a realistic group, but we can’t get wrapped up in the comments and what the people say. What we will do is do everything possible within our means to make sure that we’re competitive and that we are ready for Panama and we will give our best.”Guyana could still advance if they win against Panama (and not concede many goals) and hope that the USA beat Trinidad and Tobago tonight. This will put Golden Jaguars on three points with Panama and the USA will have six points.A draw against Panama tonight means that they will still have to hope the USA beat Trinidad and Panama and that will set up a MUST-WIN game against the ‘Soca Warriors’ on June 26 in Kansas City.last_img

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