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Venezuela beats 10-man Jamaica in Group C opener


CHICAGO – The word early Sunday from Jamaican manager Winfried Schäfer was that star center back Wes Morgan was too tired from Leicester City’s title celebrations to feature in the Jamaica’s Copa America Centenario opener that afternoon.

Morgan did end up appearing in the game, but by the time the imposing center back entered Sunday’s match against Venezuela, the Reggae Boyz had dug themselves a hole they couldn’t escape.

A Venezuela goal and a Jamaican red card within the first 25 minutes helped Venezuela beat Jamaica, 1-0, at Soldier Field in the first game of Copa America Centenario’s Group C.

Venezuela took a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute when a nice piece of combination play at the top of the box put Josef Martinez in on the left side and his left-footed finish went through the legs of an onrushing Andre Blake.

Things went from bad to worse for Jamaica in the 24th minute when the referee showed a straight red to Rodolph Austin for a challenge on Venezuela’s Tomas Rincon. Austin played the ball first, clearing it away, but on his follow through put his studs into Rincon’s shin and it was ruled a red, putting Jamaica down to 10 men.

With things not going Jamaica’s way, Morgan entered in the 40th minute.

Jamaica’s Jermaine Taylor had a chance just before the halftime whistle when he got on the end of a Giles Barnes free kick, but his back-post header was smothered by Dani Hernandez.

Despite being down a man, the Reggae Boyz started the second half with more energy and pushed for an equalizer throughout the final 45 minutes.

Less than five minutes after the break Michael Hector came within inches of tying the score. Hector cut in on his right foot and his curling shot beat Hernandez but hit and the far post and stayed out. 

In the 70th minute, Blake was at full stretch to keep out a low diving header from Mikel Villanueva that nearly doubled Venezuela’s lead. Despite the Philadelphia Union goalkeeper keeping Jamaica within one goal, Je-Vaughn Watson, Giles Barnes and Adrian Mariappa all wasted chances at an equalizer over the final 20 minutes.


Venezuela forward Josef Martinez scored the game-winning goal in the 15th minute and was dangerous throughout.


Already trailing, Jamaica went down to 10 men in the 24th minute when Rodolph Austin was shown a straight red. Despite pushing and having the better of the chances in the second half, the shorthanded Reggae Boyz couldn’t mount a comeback.


Jamaican midfielder Rodolph Austin was sent off in the 24th minute with a straight red when he put the bottom of his boot into Tomas Rincon during the follow through of a clearance.


  1. I’m still baffled as to why that was called a red card. I thought it was called a foul against Venezuela, and the replays didn’t change my mind. The Venezuelan player lost the ball and then plowed into the path of the Jamaica player’s kick.

    • I don’t think they even showed a replay at the game. I was sitting in the 300s and didn’t think it was even a yellow.

    • The way I saw it, the Jamaican got to the ball first and since it was bouncing had to raise his foot to hit it. He got it away and then the Venezualan player ran into him so that he got the cleats into his leg. I don’t know how Austin, the Jamaican, could have avoided hitting him unless he didn’t try to get the ball and the ball was away before the collision. I don’t think it was even a card and maybe not even a foul. Then with two balls off the woodwork, the Reggae Boyz were really unlucky and screwed.

  2. I was there. 25505 was the announced attendance but it sure didn’t seem like that much. Jamaica really should have scored a goal or two today…

  3. That was an empty stadium in Chicago. Conmebol’s greed has no boundaries. The ticket prices for this tournament are nothing short of shocking.


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