Montego Bay United confident of finishing off Waterhouse in second leg
Playing Montego Bay United on home turf is tantamount to trying to storm a castle; it might as well have been named Fort Montego Bay.
The team from Jamaica's North Coast, a haven for tourists from all over the globe, has been far less welcoming to visiting teams to the second city. Coached by Dr. Dean Weatherly, they boast one of the best home records having lost only two games in front of their own fans all season.
Things get even worse for Sunday's visitors, Waterhouse -- they were humiliated 5-2 by their opponents in last year's final and suffered a crushing 3-1 defeat at home last week in the opening leg of their Red Stripe Premier League semifinal at the Drewsland Stadium.
Considering the big game beat-downs that they have suffered against the defending champions, Waterhouse must be feeling less than optimistic about facing Montego Bay again. With no away goal rule and a straight aggregate format, Waterhouse's target of beating Montego Bay United at home is certainly a daunting task.
Cue the Mission Impossible theme song.
Hold on, let us not forget that it's football and nothing is more certain that the glorious uncertainty of the beautiful game. So, as is predictably always the case in the decreasingly decent Hollywood film franchise, perhaps there will be a happy ending for Waterhouse after all.
Bear in mind that Waterhouse are almost as good on the road as they are at home... even if they weren't too good last week. The team from one of Kingston's grittiest neighbourhoods have shown that they are more than capable of rolling up their sleeves and bullying others on the road, winning only two more games in Drewsland than they have on their travels.
JAMAICAN PREMIER LEAGUE
- Semifinal first leg: Arnett Gardens 1-1 Humble Lions
- Semifinal first leg: Waterhouse 1-3 Montego Bay United
- Semifinal second leg: Montego Bay United 5-1 Waterhouse
- Semifinal second leg: Humble Lions 2-3 Arnett Gardens
- Final: Montego Bay United vs. Arnett Gardens, June 1
Andre Leslie's stoppage-time goal will also serve as a rallying cry, a conduit of hope as they look to secure another berth in the championships game and get one over a team they must absolutely despise. Waterhouse will take confidence from the fact that before their late surrender in the first leg, they did manage to control much of the play and created enough opportunities to give the Montego Bay defenders something to think about before they take the field.
Robust 18-goal striker Jermaine "Tuffy" Anderson's crossbar-crashing effort could have given the tie a different feel had it been just a few centimetres lower. Also, it wouldn't be absolutely ludicrous to suggest that two of Montego Bay United's goals came as a result of lapses in the Waterhouse back line.
So who knows? With some better luck and actual defending, Waterhouse may be able to turn what seems like an inevitably fruitless trip to the North Coast into a real contest. Nonetheless, Montego Bay will of course be more than wary of the threat that Sunday's visitors pose.
After four meetings this season, both teams have bulged the other's net on four occasions but in this face-off, the home teams normally take care of their business. In fact, last Monday's result was the first time that the away team left with all three points, a telling sign for the Waterhouse faithful.
Last week's goal-scoring front two of Allan Ottey (quite possibly the fastest player in the Red Stripe Premier League) and Dino Williams will again lead the Montego Bay United lines against their rivals, who will be expecting more from a talented midfield that features Romario Campbell, whose disappearing act last week left his team with very little spark.
Montego Bay United have one foot and perhaps three toes in the Red Stripe Premier League final. The title repeat is near, but they must hold off wounded giant Waterhouse, who are desperate to reclaim the title.