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Preview: Canada eyes momentous three points against Jamaica in World Cup Qualifying

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Depending on other results, a win could see Les Rouges go top of the table.

Mexico v Canada - Concacaf 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Following a memorable night in Mexico City, Canada will have their sights set on continuing to ride the momentum of their bright start to the Octagon when they visit Jamaica on Sunday evening.

With one win and three draws from their first four games, John Herdman’s men have established themselves nicely amongst CONCACAF’s regular WCQ hopefuls. As their fear factor continues to grow, Les Rouges continue to take all the right steps on their journey to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Their next hurdle: a meeting with a Jamaica side that already has some ground to make up. Kickoff at Independence Park in Kingston is set for 6:00 pm EST, with the game available to watch on OneSoccer and Sportsnet.

That night at the Azteca was yet another benchmark for this thrilling Canada team that has continued to turn heads over the last several months. Toronto FC’s very own Jonathan Osorio bagged not only his 55th career goal for club and country, but also the first CanMNT goal at the Azteca since Gerry Gray in 1980.

Osorio’s strike was Canada’s sixth in their four opening games of the Octagon. Cyle Larin remains Les Rouges’ top scorer so far with the two goals he grabbed against Honduras and the USA respectively.

Buoyed by a performance for the ages, Canada will head into their six pointer against Jamaica with hopes of inflicting a blow on the Reggae Boyz’s hopes of propping up the table.

Two second half strikes from USMNT sensation Ricardo Pepi downed Jamaica in a 2-0 win for Gregg Berhalter’s men at the Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas. A third defeat in four leaves Jamaica bottom of the Octagon with just one point from their matchday three draw with Costa Rica.

The current basement boys may be down, but they’re definitely not out. A win for them on Sunday would see them move two points behind Canada, but on the other hand, the Reggae Boyz could lose more ground on the pack above them should they fall to a fourth defeat of the campaign.

As we get deeper into the Octagon, yellow card accumulation is beginning to become a problem for each nation, with Canada set to miss three crucial players for their clash with Jamaica. Richie Laryea, Tajon Buchannan and Steven Vitória are on Canada’s suspension list after the trio were each shown their second yellow cards of the Octagon against Mexico.

On the injury front, Lucas Cavallini is still in Vancouver on the road to recovery, while Atiba Hutchinson and Larin are both still dealing with their own injury problems.

In some positive news, Junior Hoilett and David Wotherspoon will both link up with the squad in Kingston after being unable to travel to Mexico from the United Kingdom due to quarantine requirements.

For the home side, Alvas Powell hobbled off injured in the final few minutes of Jamaica’s loss to the US, making the Philadelphia Union defender a major doubt for the Reggae Boyz.

Toronto FC fans can also look forward to Osorio (and maybe Jacob Shaffelburg) going up against club teammate Kemar Lawrence, who has featured prominently for Jamaica during the early stages of the Octagon.

Sunday’s clash will be the 22nd meeting in history between Canada and Jamaica. Les Rouges have recorded nine wins since the two nations’ first matchup back in 1985, with their latest victory having come in their most recent fixture.

Goals from Osorio and Anthony Jackson-Hamel steered Canada to a comfortable 2-0 friendly win over their CONCACAF rival back in September 2017. A 16-year-old Alphonso Davies was also sent off in that game shortly after coming off the bench in the 70th minute.

Jamaica’s last win came a few prior to Canada’s friendly victory, as strikes from Shaun Francis and Romario Williams handed Jamaica a 2-1 quarter-final triumph to knock Les Rouges out of the 2017 Gold Cup.

Ahead of a must-win game, Herdman will know that three points on the road against Jamaica may arguably one of the biggest steps Canada takes towards their journey to Qatar. With both sides dreaming of a first FIFA World Cup berth in the 21st century, it is safe to say that Sunday’s has all the ingredients to be an enthralling encounter between two sides with a lot to prove.


Predicted Lineups:

Jamaica: Blake; Brown, Lowe, Mariappa, Lawrence; Williams, Watson; Decordova-Reid, Magee, Lowe; Gray

Canada: Crépeau; Johnston, Henry, Miller, Adekugbe; Eustáquio, Kaye; Hoilett, Osorio, Davies; David