NEW YORK, CMC – Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz suffered their first defeat of the CONCACAF final round World Cup qualifiers when they went down 2-0 to Costa Rica in San Jose on Tuesday night.
Playing at the National Stadium, Jamaica fell behind to a 22nd minute strike by Michael Umana before their hopes were killed off eight minutes from time through Diego Calvo’s goal.
The result left Jamaica, the only English-speaking Caribbean side in the final round, bottom of the standings on two points, with Panama moving to the top of the standings on five points following their 2-0 whipping of Honduras.
Costa Rica now lie second on four points with the United States third on four points following their nil-all draw with giants Mexico away at the Azteca Stadium.
Honduras are fourth on four points with Mexico struggling in fifth on a mere three points.
Following stalemates with Mexico and Panama in their previous encounters, Jamaica entered the contest needing a victory to jumpstart their campaign.
They started positively with Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas being called upon to pull off an early save but the hosts soon sprung into action and took control of the game.
Alvaro Saborio set up the 30-year-old Umana who clinically beat goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.
Jamaica then had a great opportunity to equalise just before the break when the Turkey-based forward Luton Shelton weaved his way through the Costa Rican defense but then had his shot saved at point blank range.
Down 0-1 at the break, Jamaica came close again through Marin Elliott before Saborio almost doubled the lead for Costa Rica, 13 minutes from the end.
Any hopes Jamaica had of a comeback, however, were dashed when the 21-year-old Calvo beat three Jamaican defenders before hammering his volley inside the far post.
Jamaica’s next assignment will be against Mexico at home in June.