BELIZE CITY, Mon. Jan. 16, 2017 – – Congratulations to our Belize Jaguars on their historic achievement in the opener against Panama! For a team with no international practice matches under our belt, that was a monster accomplishment. Big Up, guys! Never mind the 3-0; that was another outstanding performance against the great Costa Rica. We got their attention; and we’re improving. There’s no turning back. Fahn ya go back, da FAIYAH!!
Belize has already played two games of the five we are scheduled to play in the Copa Centroamericana 2017, being hosted this year at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City, Panama. For the benefit of our Belizean fans, we are below recording the line-ups and changes made on the Belizean team in each of our games. After our historic 0-0 draw with Panama in the opener on Friday night, Belize yesterday lost 3-0 to two-time defending champs, Costa Rica.
Looking back, our team played well in both games; and, despite the 3-0 loss to Costa Rica, our possession time was significantly increased from the previous game, and we ended on a strong note, taking shots. Panama had 68% possession to Belize’s 32%; whereas Costa Rica had 58% to Belize’s 42 %. That’s a good sign. Moreover, and encouragingly, Belize’s passing accuracy, according to game stats comparison from concacaf.com, improved remarkably in the Costa Rica game, suggesting our boys are becoming more confident and aggressive when in possession of the ball. For passing accuracy, which measures correct passes as a percentage of total passes, Panama had 81% passing accuracy to Belize’s 62% passing accuracy. But in the Costa Rica game yesterday, Belize almost matched Costa Rica in accuracy, although Costa Rica accomplished many more passes than Belize. They made a total of 363 passes to Belize’s 237; but in terms of accuracy, Costa Rica achieved 83% accuracy, while Belize was up close at 81% accuracy.
Numbers don’t lie, and that means we’re headed in the right direction. The more international games we play, the better. Hopefully, with more cutting “off the ball” by our forwards when we are in possession, there will be more and better opportunities at goal, and our team can secure enough points to grab a spot in the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2017.
Hey, and we still have some fresh legs available in this grueling series of games. So far, we have not seen any action from Gilroy Thurton, Delone Torres, Luis Torres, Khalil Velasquez, Tyrone Pandy, or goalkeeper Shane Orio. And remember, Deon may not be in top form for so many nineties, having been recuperating from injury during the last half of the recent PLB tournament.
Belize line-up vs Panama: #1 Woodrow West (goalkeeper); #18 Evral Trapp; #7 Ian Gaynair; #8 Elroy Smith; #5 Elroy Kuylen; #12 Denmark Casey; #16 Jordy Polanco (#3 Trevor Lennen at 72’); #21 Nana Amankwa-Mensah (#14 Andres Makin at 79’); #9 Deon McCaulay; #10 Michael Salazar (Devon Makin at 89’); #20 Daniel Jimenez. Head coach – Richard Orlowski.
Referee – Walter Lopez (Guatemala).
Belize line-up vs Costa Rica: #1 Woodrow West (goalkeeper); #7 Ian Gaynair; #18 Evral Trapp; #8 Elroy Smith; #12 Denmark Casey; #5 Elroy Kuylen (#4 Makonnan Clare at 60’); #16 Jordy Polanco (#3 Trevor Lennen at 59’); #21 Nana Amankwa-Mensah (#26 Michael Atkinson at 59’); #20 Daniel Jimenez; #9 Deon McCaulay; #10 Michael Salazar. Head coach – Richard Orlowski.
Referee – Kimbell Ward (St. Kitts & Nevis)
Remaining Belize games:
Tues. Jan. 17, 3:00 p.m. – El Salvador vs Belize
Fri. Jan. 20, 3:00 p.m. – Nicaragua vs Belize
Sun. Jan. 22, 10:00 a.m. – Belize vs Honduras
Les’ go, Belize!!! The Sleeping Giant di wake up now! FAIYAH!!