KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – A double strike from Dane Richards restored the pride to Jamaica in a 3-2 victory over El Salvador on Tuesday at the Cuscatlán Stadium.
The New York Red Bulls forward struck twice – a minute apart – midway through first half, and Colorado Rapids striker Omar Cummings added the eventual winner in the 54th minute to help the Jamaicans recover from a defeat against Venezuela last weekend on home soil.
The Reggae Boyz was one of two Caribbean Football Union teams headed for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in June in the United States that used friendly internationals as part of their preparations for the biennial confederation championship.
Cuba, the other CFU side, suffered another setback, when Panama stopped them 2-0 at the Pedro Marrero Stadium on home soil.
In San Salvador, Jamaica made the most of their chances in a lightning fast game that was played before a vocal, partisan crowd.
Richards made the Salvadoran defence pay for two errors, when he struck in the 23rd and 25th minutes.
The Jamaicans made their own mistakes, and Jaime Alas cut the deficit in the 41st minute to bring joy to the faces of the Cuscatlecos to leave the scoreline 2-1 at halftime.
Jamaica exposed the porous Salvadoran defence, when he scored in the 53rd minute, but a few minutes later, they were left with one man less on the field due to the expulsion of Real Salt Lake veteran midfielder Andy Williams.
Fortune favoured the Jamaicans, when second-half substitute Osael Romero missed a shot from the penalty spot in the 80th minute before Edwin Sanchez added a little drama in the final moments of the game, when he scored for the home team.
In Havana, Cuba played with 10 men for the entire second half after Alain Cervantes was sent off in the 45th minute.
By then, Luis Renteria had capitalised on a defensive mistake in the 38th minute, and Alberto Quintero added an insurance goal eight minutes from full time to earn Panama its second victory in four days.