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WCQ: Third Round - Window 2 (October 7-13, 2021)


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6 hours ago, The Beaver 2.0 said:

Let's see who from our squad is in good form heading into the next window. We might see some changes due to one or two guys looking really good heading into October.  Eyes will certainly be on Arfield, maybe also Millar, ZBG, Jebbison and Corbeanu.

........and maybe Richie Ennin!

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I haven’t posted here in a long time, so apologies if this turns into an essay.

To those who are suggesting we go for it against Mexico, here’s a couple thoughts:

  • Last window was one of the easiest we could have gotten: 2 home games, short flight, easiest/thinnest opponent in our third game... and we still had only 3 players who made it through all 270 mins (4 if you include Eustaquio). We will not be able to play our strongest 11 in all 3 games. 2 away games, altitude, Caribbean heat, compressed timetable. It’s not happening. Sacrifices to quality will need to be made in at least one game. If not Mexico, then where do we rest some of our key players? There is no El Salvador game in this window.

 

  • Jamaica has not won a home game WCQ at The Office since October, 2012 against Antigua & Barbuda. Since then... 2014 Hex: Panama (1-1), Mexico (0-1), USA (1-2), Costa Rica (1-1), Honduras (2-2). 2018: Nicaragua(2-3), Panama (0-2), Costa Rica (1-1), Haiti (0-2). 2022: Panama (0-3). 0 wins, 4 draws, 6 losses. Past results are not an indicator of future performance, but there’s no way this doesn’t play into the psychology of the Jamaican team/public right now. They are extremely vulnerable, and will likely still be playing without fans in October. This game may even be more winnable than our home game against Jamaica, because we get to face them early in the cycle, before their English players build familiarity with the rest of the team. This game screams 3 points.

 

  • Panama at home is a must win, not only because it is a home game, but because they are surprisingly hard to beat in Panama. In 8 matches in the 2018 qualifiers, they lost only 1 home match. They got draws against the USA, Mexico and Honduras in the Hex. They split a series with Costa Rica between the Hex and the previous round. We do not want to go into Panama on match day 14 needing a win if they are still in the mix for a spot. Anything less than a win in the home leg puts us in significant danger if Panama maintains form.

 

With all that in mind, I cannot fathom going all out against Mexico in the first game. As others have said, the best bet is to put out a gritty 11 in the first half, and sub in the big guns in the second half if we have a chance at a result. You can do the inverse by start ing the A-squad and subbing in the backups if we’re losing, but that opens up the pathway to the worst case scenario.

The worst possible way for this window to go is to put out our first string in Mexico city, stay competitive late into the game, resist subbing out core guys... and lose anyways. Now we have a tired core heading into what would otherwise be two very winnable games, and 0 points in the bag to show for it.

Given the odds of a result in Mexico City, it just isn’t worth it. Could we get a draw? Maybe. A win? Extremely unlikely. Take the points where they’re available, and against the opponents we need to beat to ensure a spot. 

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I suspect we will see a similar approach to the Mexico match as we saw to the US in the last window.  Starting with a weakened team which will bunker and hit them on the counter in the first half, with possibly subs of some starters coming into the second half if its close and then take the game more to them (as we did in the Gold Cup).  Due to the altitude and the increased travel, its possible we may seem some more rotation and with a more an emphasis on players with engines who can run at altitude for 90 minutes.

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13 hours ago, footballfreak said:

I haven’t posted here in a long time, so apologies if this turns into an essay.

To those who are suggesting we go for it against Mexico, here’s a couple thoughts:

  • Last window was one of the easiest we could have gotten: 2 home games, short flight, easiest/thinnest opponent in our third game... and we still had only 3 players who made it through all 270 mins (4 if you include Eustaquio). We will not be able to play our strongest 11 in all 3 games. 2 away games, altitude, Caribbean heat, compressed timetable. It’s not happening. Sacrifices to quality will need to be made in at least one game. If not Mexico, then where do we rest some of our key players? There is no El Salvador game in this window.

 

  • Jamaica has not won a home game WCQ at The Office since October, 2012 against Antigua & Barbuda. Since then... 2014 Hex: Panama (1-1), Mexico (0-1), USA (1-2), Costa Rica (1-1), Honduras (2-2). 2018: Nicaragua(2-3), Panama (0-2), Costa Rica (1-1), Haiti (0-2). 2022: Panama (0-3). 0 wins, 4 draws, 6 losses. Past results are not an indicator of future performance, but there’s no way this doesn’t play into the psychology of the Jamaican team/public right now. They are extremely vulnerable, and will likely still be playing without fans in October. This game may even be more winnable than our home game against Jamaica, because we get to face them early in the cycle, before their English players build familiarity with the rest of the team. This game screams 3 points.

 

  • Panama at home is a must win, not only because it is a home game, but because they are surprisingly hard to beat in Panama. In 8 matches in the 2018 qualifiers, they lost only 1 home match. They got draws against the USA, Mexico and Honduras in the Hex. They split a series with Costa Rica between the Hex and the previous round. We do not want to go into Panama on match day 14 needing a win if they are still in the mix for a spot. Anything less than a win in the home leg puts us in significant danger if Panama maintains form.

 

With all that in mind, I cannot fathom going all out against Mexico in the first game. As others have said, the best bet is to put out a gritty 11 in the first half, and sub in the big guns in the second half if we have a chance at a result. You can do the inverse by start ing the A-squad and subbing in the backups if we’re losing, but that opens up the pathway to the worst case scenario.

The worst possible way for this window to go is to put out our first string in Mexico city, stay competitive late into the game, resist subbing out core guys... and lose anyways. Now we have a tired core heading into what would otherwise be two very winnable games, and 0 points in the bag to show for it.

Given the odds of a result in Mexico City, it just isn’t worth it. Could we get a draw? Maybe. A win? Extremely unlikely. Take the points where they’re available, and against the opponents we need to beat to ensure a spot. 

Great Analysis. I know each window we will talk about how important the upcoming window each is but this one is huge for a few reasons. First, Jamaica is in a quick slide after only getting 1 of 9 points and if we can take 3 on the road at an empty stadium (don't believe it'll be for the public yet) we can put them in a hole so deep players like Antonio might not bother playing in the last few windows especially with West Ham looking very strong this year. Second, Panama is massive because they are off to a good start and like mentioned above very strong at home. We know what happens to Canada end of qualifying cycles when we need results in hostile environments.... 

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13 hours ago, footballfreak said:

Jamaica has not won a home game WCQ at The Office since October, 2012 against Antigua & Barbuda. Since then... 2014 Hex: Panama (1-1), Mexico (0-1), USA (1-2), Costa Rica (1-1), Honduras (2-2). 2018: Nicaragua(2-3), Panama (0-2), Costa Rica (1-1), Haiti (0-2). 2022: Panama (0-3). 0 wins, 4 draws, 6 losses. 

Thanks for digging up this shocking statistic. Wow.

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19 hours ago, Kent said:

Thanks for digging up this shocking statistic. Wow.

Always felt aside from the US, Jamaica is the best spot for Canada to go on the road and get a result...I actually expect 3 points from Canada in this one..especially if its decided to sit many of the top guys in the Mexico game to go for six points in the final two....a draw in Jamaica wouldn't be the worst thing in the world but then the pressure is really on at home vs Panama...

 

Agree from a travel standpoint Window 1 was by far the easiest three game window for Canada....

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10 minutes ago, gator said:

I know this is arguably the best squad we have ever put together but we have never won in Jamaica, something has to give!

I said it earlier and I still believe it - this is the cycle where w change that bleak Sportsnet table showing away wins.  I don’t think these guys will succumb to the pressure the way that others have.  

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El Salvador is the only goalless team after the first window. They were my pre-Octagonal pick to finish 8th. Even though they're not 8th right now, I will be surprised if they don't finish last. We could use their help though in this window. It would be nice if they could start October by taking some points off Panama at home. Given what we saw from them at BMO Field to end the first window, it's hard to believe they had an automatic spot in the final round before the format changed.

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9 minutes ago, narduch said:

We may be forced to bring extra players. Our UK based players may not be able to go to Mexico (and possibly Jamaica).

I've heard that the UK government is working on exempting players for next window - as they should, it's ridiculous what went down in September. If they don't that would work out nicely for us though. We would be missing Hoilett, Wotherspoon and maybe Arfield and Corbeanu, while Jamaica would be missing half their squad and Mexico would be missing Jimenez. 

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7 minutes ago, CanadaFan123 said:

I've heard that the UK government is working on exempting players for next window - as they should, it's ridiculous what went down in September. If they don't that would work out nicely for us though. We would be missing Hoilett, Wotherspoon and maybe Arfield and Corbeanu, while Jamaica would be missing half their squad and Mexico would be missing Jimenez. 

This is good news if they allow exemptions. They did in March.

Right now only Mexico is on their  Red List.

 

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Honestly, it's probably better for us if they have all their UK based players. They tried to play them all at once against Panama at home and spectacularly lost 3-0 because they had no chemistry. Roolfe, Antonio and other newcomers didn't do shit.

If Tappa is going to throw them all on the field at once, I hope we do play them. 

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7 minutes ago, Obinna said:

Honestly, it's probably better for us if they have all their UK based players. They tried to play them all at once against Panama at home and spectacularly lost 3-0 because they had no chemistry. Roolfe, Antonio and other newcomers didn't do shit.

If Tappa is going to throw them all on the field at once, I hope we do play them. 

That was a tough one for Tappa. He convinces all these players to come and play one match - I'm sure he felt obliged to start them all. I expect we'll see a much more balanced lineup from them in October, particularly as we have some stars they'll want to shut down. 

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21 minutes ago, CanadaFan123 said:

That was a tough one for Tappa. He convinces all these players to come and play one match - I'm sure he felt obliged to start them all. I expect we'll see a much more balanced lineup from them in October, particularly as we have some stars they'll want to shut down. 

Will be completely different, as I keep saying. 
There is even talks for the game being moved from Kingston to the states if the JFF can't have fans in the stadium.

If they bring 33 guys again, and have zero player restriction. Tappa has the opportunity to manage the squad better, meaning playing balanced squads throughout their games. I can see Jamaica taking points from each of their games, but the thing for them is they need at least 4 pt to stay in the race.

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21 minutes ago, Shway said:

Will be completely different, as I keep saying. 
There is even talks for the game being moved from Kingston to the states if the JFF can't have fans in the stadium.

If they bring 33 guys again, and have zero player restriction. Tappa has the opportunity to manage the squad better, meaning playing balanced squads throughout their games. I can see Jamaica taking points from each of their games, but the thing for them is they need at least 4 pt to stay in the race.

Yeah and the downside for us is that their backs are against the wall. They are going to claw and scrap for everything next window.

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