ON THE MOVE: Goalscorer Austin in action from Thursday's match.
Just when you thought Jamaica 50 couldn’t get any sweeter, here comes the Reggae Boyz with a fresh serving of inspiration and genuine cause for memorable, euphoric celebration. On Friday evening, before a jam-packed National Stadium, our senior footballers (after 18 previous encounters) defeated the United States for the first time.
Clint Dempsey had earlier scored a tap-in goal for the visitors in the opening minute, stunning the Jamaican team and the 25,000-strong home crowd. But we were not to be denied. Rising to the occasion, Rodolph Austin (in the 24th minute) and the ever-reliable skipper Luton Shelton (in the 64th) struck contrasting free-kick goals in each half to hand Jamaica the historic win, a 2-1 World Cup-qualifying result.
Rekindling memories of the Reggae Boyz’s historic World Cup Finals qualification for France '98 (when the team's current head coach, Theodore ‘Tappa’ Whitmore, was a player), scenes of wild celebration greeted the final whistle, as hundreds of fans scaled the perimeter fencing to celebrate the win with the athletes on the field.
Now perched atop Group A with seven points, the Boyz will go up against the Americans again on Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio, for the return leg.