Seattle Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan is ready to host Jamaica in Thursday's World Cup qualifiers, praising the Reggae Boyz before adding that the USMNT is “up for it.”
The United States last faced Jamaica during the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal on July 25, where the US managed a 1-0 victory. The Reggae Boyz were not an easy opponent, maintaining an offensive style throughout the matcH.
“Jamaica was really good in that Gold Cup game and I felt like our players were up for it in that game, in particular Kellyn Acosta, who set the tone,” said Roldan, who came off the bench to deliver the telling cross that teammate Matthew Hoppe headed to score.
“Counterattacking is something that we need to do a really good job of in this game, and taking advantage in wide areas.
“In the Jamaica game they dropped off when we tried to run in behind, and that’s just going to create a lot of space out wide. So being able to exploit the wide areas and also getting runners in the box – good things happen when we have a lot of guys in the box. That’s how we got our goal and that’s how we can punish Jamaica.”
Despite the score, Roldan warned against undermining the newly-rejuvenated side, claiming it may be the “strongest Jamaica side” ever. The player cited physicality and athleticism as factors to watch out for ahead of the match before stressing the importance of counterattacking.
“I think this will be one of the strongest Jamaica sides that we’ll play, and it’ll be a difficult game,” he said.
“The amount of physicality, athleticism that they provide is something that we have to be aware of – both on the counter and also taking advantage. Because once they go forward they go forward in numbers and they can leave themselves exposed in the back.
“They’re using, really, their key guys that they were unable to use in the last cycle. And we’re looking forward to it. That’s what World Cup qualifying’s all about, and the competition it brings.”
Jamaica is the first of three October qualifying matches for the United States, facing Panama and Costa Rica soon afterwards.