“We’ve gained a lot of confidence” says Coach Johnson

Gold Cup: Game One aftermath

Bravery is the only term available that can be used to describe the Golden Jaguars, who on Tuesday night took on seven time Gold Cup and defending champions who have been a part of the competition since its inception, USA. Unfortunately, in front of a sold out crowd at the Allianz Field Stadium, Saint Paul, Minnesota, Guyana suffered their first Gold Cup loss, 4-0.

Golden Jaguars Coach
Michael Johnson

Witnessed by a crowd numbering 19,418 inclusive of quite a few patriotic Guyanese, the USA; contesting their 74th Gold Cup match, held a slim 1-0 advantage at the end of the first 45 minutes but fired in three more in the second half.
Head Coach of Guyana’s Golden Jaguars, Michael Johnson who took over the job in June of 2018, commended his charges for a competitive performance against a team that has played the most Gold Cup matches (73) and recorded the most wins (56) in the history of the tournament.
Citing the fact that the USA has a depth of experienced players including one player who is worth 52 Million pounds, Johnson, at the post match press conference posited, “To be competitive in that fixture for the best part of an hour, we should be proud.”
Player of the match, Tyler Boyd in only his second match netted a double for the USA in the 51st and 81st minute, the opening goal was scored in the 28th minute by Paul Arriola while Gyasi Zardes accounted for the third in the 55th minute.
Johnson noted that his charges will continue to stick together as a team acknowledging that they {team} will win, lose and draw matches together. The coach also addressed the unorthodox starting XI that was used in Tuesday’s game.
“Nobody in my opinion had a horrible game, yes, there were mistakes but you’re going to get that against a top-class United States team. Was that our best possible starting XI? That’s what we as staff sat down and spoke about, that’s our staring eleven and that’s what we went with, that’s what we believe in, that’s what we trusted; all 23 of the team and anyone of this 23 for me deserves a place to start.”
A lot of confidence was gained from the encounter, Johnson said, and it would serve the team well going into its second and third matches, on Saturday at the First Energy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio from 17:30hrs (18:30hrs) against Panama and June 26 at the Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, KS against Trinidad and Tobago.
“We’ve gained a lot of confidence from tonight (Tuesday), yes there were individual errors but as a team, we speak about how we look dangerous with Callum Harriott at times, we look dangerous with Emery Welshman. We were under no illusions about the task tonight, we’re probably a little bit more realistic going into the next two games, have opportunities.”
He mentioned the names of players the likes of Harriott, Anthony Jeffrey and Stephen Duke- McKenna among others who can be interesting forwards in the next two matches. The Head Coach also mentioned that the task was a tough one but the players gave their all for their country.
Johnson also pointed out that Terrence Vancooten was his choice for player of the match for Guyana: “He tackled, passed the ball incredibly well, very good upstairs against tough opposition as I’ve said and I thought he was outstanding; he really, really was.”
Both nations utilized three subs in the second half, Guyana introduced Sam Cox for Brandon Beresford in the 58th minute; Anthony ‘The Beast’ Jeffrey replaced Keanu Marsh-Brown in the 73rd minute while Captain for the match, Neil Danns was replaced by Sheldon Holder in the 85th minute.