Owain Evans

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Phoenix Rising’s Flemmings secures start, helps Jamaica land quarterfinal spot

LOS ANGELES – Phoenix Rising’s Junior Flemmings started for the Jamaican national team as it sealed a Gold Cup quarterfinal spot with a 1-1 draw against Curaçao.

Rising teammate Kevon Lambert was also brought on in the 73rd minute for his first appearance in this year’s Gold Cup. The pair will remain on international duty through at least the next weekend.

Jamaica entered this game knowing that a victory or draw would be enough to seal its progression from the group.

With Leon Bailey benched after suffering a strain in his right foot last Friday, Flemmings was initially put out on the right wing for an important Group C decider.

Jamaica had the best of the opening exchanges. A trio of chances was shared between Shamar Nicholson and Damion Lowe, with two just missing the target and the other being cleared off the line by Ayrton Statie.

Flemmings was a big part of that early success, spraying a variety of through balls that penetrated the Curaçaoan defensive line.

That pressure paid off. Andre Lewis’s effort from distance was almost certainly heading wide, but a slight touch from a well-placed Nicholson was enough to divert it trickling into the lower corner past a hapless Eloy Room in the Curaçao goal. Fourteen minutes in, Jamaica had its lead.

While the Jamaican team would enjoy several more chances as the game progressed, it also allowed Curaçao back into the match. In fact, by halftime, Curaçao held a 54-46 advantage in possession.

Curaçao was also creating chances – with Jurien Gaari’s distance effort requiring the fingertips of Andre Blake to tip it wide, and Jarchino Antonia inexplicably putting a shot past the far post as he broke passed the Jamaican defense.

Halfway through the second half, it fell to Lambert to help solidify the midfield and counter the Curaçaoan threat.

Yet Curaçao did continue to create chances and a collective sign was let out as Gino Van Kessel’s attempt hit the bar.

It took until deep into injury time for Curaçao to find its equalizer, with Gaari curling a long range effort past Blake.

Jamaica will now travel to Philadelphia, where it will take on either the United States or Panama. The exact matchups will be decided with the conclusion of Group D on Wednesday.

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