The Belize Jaguars were not able to replicate the success they enjoyed at the 2013 UNCAF Copa Centroamericana.
On Wednesday night they exited the competition without a win after being beaten 2-0 by El Salvador. Belize played a largely more aggressive, ball-controlling style of play under coach Leroy Sherrier Lewis but their lack of defense and position resulted in three own-goals conceded in the first two games. Elroy Smith and Jeromy James scored against Belize for Honduras in a 2-0 loss, and an error by goalkeeper Shane Moody-Orio was the difference in a 2-1 defeat to Guatemala. Belize’s lone goal came from Deon McCaulay in the Guatemala loss.
In Saturday’s finals at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Honduras plays Nicaragua for fifth place; Panama face El Salvador for third; and Guatemala challenges defending champions and World Cup quarter-finalists Costa Rica for the title. Belize’s only win in this tournament was the one that propelled them to the 2013 Gold Cup, a 2-1 victory over Nicaragua.
The champion plays in the centennial Copa America next year in the U.S., and the top five teams – if the fifth place finisher beats their rival from the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) in a playoff – qualify for next year’s Gold Cup.
The photographs are the courtesy of Paul Pollard.