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Jul 10, 2013

Belize 1, USA 6, tough loss as Jaguars move on

The 2013 CONCACAF game between Belize and the United States was more than just a pit stop on the road to the Gold Cup. It was a mountain climb. The U.S. won six to one, but it was a tremendous effort for the national team which ranked one hundred and thirty in the world against the U.S. that ranks twenty two. As the Fox Sports analysts pointed out, the US team is burgeoning with professional players, and the Jaguars have only three. A tough match, a David and Goliath story it was called, with the exception that David has an eight to five job prior to soccer practice. The country rooted behind the Jaguars and Belizeans across the Diaspora either watched the game at Jeld-Wen Field or on television screens in anticipation. It was gut-wrenching to watch but the fans look forward to the next games. But if you somehow missed the night’s event, here’s a recap.

 

Isani Cayetano

What was at first billed as a titanic face-off between Belize and the United States, proverbially touted as the modern-day David and Goliath epic, was, for the Jaguars and its legion of supporters, a sobering experience in a great many things.  For this spectator, it all began with the seemingly predisposed commentary by the game’s official sportscasters.  While describing the Jaguars sudden qualification for Gold Cup 2013, the announcers somewhat teetered between expert analysis and snobbery.  Granted, Belize was not expected to make it this far in the regional tournament but mention of the team’s financial woes during the preamble to the soccer match exuded condescension.  That tone would continue throughout the announcing.

 

At the Jeld-Wen Field in Portland, Oregon on Tuesday night, where eighteen thousand, seven hundred and twenty-four fans were in attendance, the Jaguars, led by team captain Shane Orio, took the to the green in regal form, proud to be representing the Jewel.  The playing of the Belize National Anthem, to get the ball rolling on the selection’s foray into the unfamiliar world of this level of CONCACAF competition, was indeed a moment of patriotism.  Belizeans in the bleachers were adorned in the red, white and blue of the nation’s standard, as our boys paid respect to the song of allegiance.

 

In the opening minute of play, tension from the US team yielded a corner kick by Jose Torres which resulted in an overhit.  Eight minutes later, goleador Shane Orio cleared another dangerous corner, this one by Landon Donovan, who regained possession of the ball and crossed it to Clarence Goodson.  It was then passed to Michael Orozco, who squandered the scoring opportunity from close range.  Twelve minutes into regulation time and striker Chris Wondolowski, whose name was misspelled on his team jersey, would commence a series of vicious attacks, putting the US men’s national team on the scoreboard.  Game play would continue for another thirteen minutes before Deon McCauley attempted a shot from the edge of the goalpost.  That effort was deflected by US goalkeeper Nick Rimando.

 

Elsewhere during the match, at the thirty-seventh minute to be precise, number nineteen, with an assist from Kyle Beckerman, would once again successfully attempt a two-nil lead.  Towards the end of the first half, Ian ‘Yellow’ Gaynair capitalizes on a scoring opportunity with a header at the fortieth minute that puts Belize on display.  Unfortunately, this would be our only goal.  Less than two minutes later, Chris Wondolowski would seek vengeance by pulling a hat-trick.  His third goal in the first half quickly silenced the celebration of Gaynair’s short-lived feat moments earlier.  And with that the first forty-five minutes of regulation time came to an end with a score of three to one.

 

The second half would prove disastrous for the Jaguars, as goalkeeper Shane Orio would concede three additional points, including those scored by Stuart Holden, Michael Orozco and Landon Donovan.  In this synopsis, there is glaringly a need for the Belize national team to organize a better, more effective defensive strategy.  While they struggled offensively, the Jaguars were careless in defending against the foreign assault; a harsh reminder that the game cannot be won by playing on one side of the field alone.  In the aftermath of the brutal defeat, former national coach Leroy Sherrier, who led the team to Gold Cup qualification earlier this year before leaving unceremoniously, raised a few pertinent questions.  Among the food for thought offered is the assignment of Shane Orio, who, reportedly, is in poor physical condition, as lead goalkeeper over Woodrow West, who performed exceptionally during the UNCAF series in Costa Rica.  Interestingly, co-captain Dalton Eiley, who came up big for the Jaguars during that competition, did not see any game play.  Meanwhile, coach Ian Mork, on the other hand, may want to revisit his playbook in advance of the remaining games.

 

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6 Responses for “Belize 1, USA 6, tough loss as Jaguars move on”

  1. Firebrand says:

    I was proud and happy to see young brothers that I know representing us and singing our Belizean National Anthem! I think Shane Orio did a wonderful job. However, we need to create passing lanes for the players to make crisp passes rather than be huddled together forcing the players to kick the ball to no one particularly. Also, too many players were standing around or jogging slowly when the americans were running, especially our midfielders. The midfielders looked lazy, tired and uninterested. When we tackled, we tried to reach in with legs only, instead of moving our bodies, so we fell down often. Also, we tackled very softly and weakly and often lost the challenges to a visibly physically stronger American opponent. That has to change. In addition, our players need to communicate with each other to let them know that they are alone and do not need to rush to kick the ball out of bounds or wildly to the other team. And midfielders cannot walk, stand still or jog when the play is moving quickly. We can beat Costa Rica and Cuba, if we communicate, strengthen our tackling, open up passing lanes, and hustle. No silly hard fouls and laziness. I am proud to be a Belizean and I am proud of our team!

  2. ceo says:

    I hope next time we get a little more offensive in the set up

  3. pete says:

    Kudos to Belize to make it to the tournament. Now here is the reality check.The limitation ,physically and Technically of Belizeplayers was exposed by the U.S team.Take into consideration that was a “B” team from the U.S playing in second gear.I’ve played and followed soccer ally my life ,and I feel if Belize don’t invest in a strong youth development program they will never be able to compete at the next level.These players seem to lack basic technical ball handling skill that should be develop at a youth stage,one of the main reason they could not hold the ball well. I listen to Mr Kuylen after the UNCAF tournament saying these players will get contracts,that shows to me he is clueless as to what it takes to play at a professional level.They need to focus on a solid youth system ,and the government should help with that.After looking at all the nonsense going on in Belize .It would be a good investment for the youth to help them grow into something positive.That’s my 2 cents

  4. The Truth says:

    I soooo… totally called this one. jaja

  5. julius ceaser says:

    I have watched the rise of the belize national team from the start of the central American cup and I was very proud of how they where able to rise, to the challenges that where presented to them there. I was watching the game opener with the U.S and was shocked to find that the goal keeper west. Who I watched during the central American cup was not present. With further research I found that the coach decided too start orio. I Do understand that orio is a professional player but I believe that this was a mistake. As the coach had stated belize does not have many professional players so why would you take out the man that was such a driving force in getting to the gold cup. During the central American cup I saw west guiding the defense to protect key vulnerable areas around the penalty area. A trait that I failed to see with orio.
    {and why orio not playing in the central American cup}

  6. NY says:

    It brought joy to my heart to see our National Team representing the JEWEL @ this level of play. I was so proud to hear our National Anthem and seeing our flag draped across many Bzeans who had traveled from both near and far in support of our boys. With that being said, I was not taken aback by the final score, that being 6 to 1, because our team’s strategy clearly demonstrated that we were focusing on preventing the U.S. team from scoring, by overloading on defense. But with the likes of DONAVON and BEISLEY, their skills, strength, speed and endurance, proved too much for our boys, therefore the U.S. team was able to execute their plays and demolished our boys. What the coach needs to do for the remaining games is to go back to what had got us to this point, which is to have more players aid DEON MACAULEY @ the forward position, and trust that the midfielders and defensive players can hold their own, because in order for us to score more goals, we would need players to be in a position where they can draw the defensive players from the opposing teams hence creating space so that DEON can go to work. What this game did was exposed some of our flaws, such as the lack of fundamental technical skills, endurance, strength, endurance agility and executing plays. So going forward, if we want to play at this level, those are the things we need to work on improving.

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