International Notebook: Timbers players feature in national team World Cup qualifiers
Timbers midfielder Lovel Palmer continued to play a key role for Jamaica as the Caribbean nation attempts to reach the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Palmer played the full 90 minutes in the Reggae Boyz historic 2-1 upset of the United States (highlights) last Friday night at Independence Park in Kingston, Jamaica. Having earned the trust of celebrated Reggae Boyz head coach Theodore Whitmore, it was the third World Cup qualifier in a row Palmer has played the entire match for Jamaica as he also helped the island nation to a 2-1 victory over Guatemala on June 8 and a 0-0 draw with Antigua and Barbuda on June 12.
Timbers fans know of Palmer’s versatility as a player, having seen him compete for the club as a defender and central midfielder. He displayed that valuable quality for his home country against the U.S., slotting in at right back where he helped keep the Yanks’ Fabian Johnson and substitute Brek Shea quiet.
The victory puts Jamaica in the driver’s seat in CONCACAF Group A qualifying. The Reggae Boyz have taken seven points from three games and own a three-point lead over the U.S. and Guatemala, which are tied for second with four points apiece; Antigua and Barbuda is fourth with one point.
Riding the high from last Friday’s match, Palmer and Jamaica now face the tough task of tackling the U.S. on its home soil Tuesday night at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The match, which is scheduled to kick-off at 5 p.m. PT, will be broadcast on ESPN2 and online at ESPN3.com.
Defender/midfielder Rodney Wallace was also busy last Friday as his Costa Rican National Team were defeated 2-0 by Mexico in San José, Costa Rica. Wallace entered the match as a 71st-minute substitute.
Mexico took the lead just before halftime in the 43rd minute. Mexico's Carlos Salcido played the ball off of a deflected corner kick and knifed a shot through the Costa Rican defense and into the back of the net. The insurance goal for “El Tri” came in the 52nd minute and again off a corner kick. El Tri midfielder Jesus Zalvada corraled the ball and blasted a shot near-post and over the keeper.
Mexico remains at the top of Group B with nine points. Costa Rica sits in second in the group with four points, and will play Mexico on Tuesday at Estadio Azteca in the final meeting between the two clubs in group play.
La Selecta had the lead twice in the match first going ahead 1-0 in the 4th minute behind a Jose Gutierrez strike and again in the 29th via a Osael Romero goal. However, Guyana's Trayon Bobb scored a brace, the second of which gave them a draw and their first point in 2014 World Cup qualifying.
The two teams face off again on Tuesday night in Guyana at Providence Stadium in Georgetown. El Salvador sit third in Group B on two points behind Costa Rica and Mexico with Guyana last on one.