SANTA CLARA, CA (July 26, 2017) – It was an instant classic for both countries. The United States Men’s National Team defeated Jamaica 2-1 on Wednesday night after a first half Andre Blake injury. They are the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Champions. Jordan Morris scored the winner in the 89th minute of play to seal the game and the trohpy.
Both sides came out officially in a 4-4-2 with their first choice lineups. United States Manager Bruce Arena made no changes from the Semifinal match. Tim Howard was in goal. Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez organized the backline. Michael Bradley and Darlington Nagbe started in midfield. Jordan Morris and Jozy Altidore were up top.
Jamaica Head Coach Theodore Whitmore started Andre Blake in goal. Jermaine Taylor and Rose Bowl hero Kemar Lawrence started in defense. Je-Vaughn Watson led the midfield with Owayne Gordon, Ladale Richie, and Oniel Fisher. Darren Mattocks and Romario Williams were the strikers.
Jordan Morris At The Death: USMNT Wins Gold Cup After Andre Blake Injury 2-1
The Americans were proactive in the attack from the start. They had several good sequences, but when the build up led to a final pass, the potential shooter wasn’t ready. Darlington Nagbe had a few good looks to start, but could not get the shots on goal. Paul Arriol and Morris had chances to shoot, but were caught by surprise.
Altidore got the first good chance of the game in the 21st minute. The Yanks had a good build up and Altidore shot from the top of the box. Blake made a great save in the air then blocked a point-blank rebound shot by Acosta. There was a scramble at the post after the save and it was cleared.
Unfortunately for the Reggae Boyz, their captain came up injured on the play. Trainers rushed to Blake’s side and he was down for several minutes. He would ultimately leave the match with a right hand injury, possibly a broken hand. Backup Dwayne Miller subbed in for him. Blake left for the locker room a few minutes later in tears.
With their leader and rock at the back gone, the United States turned up the pressure. Still, they had trouble shooting and finishing. On the other side, Jamaica’s best opportunity of the half came in the 43rd minute with a Kemar Lawrence free kick. Lawrence mishit the shot though, and Howard easily got it.
The United States kept trying to get set piece chances all game, and it finally came to fruition just before half time. Nagbe won a free kick just outside the box. Altidore stepped up to take it. He curled the ball up and over the wall and under the bar. Miller got a hand to it, but couldn’t keep it out of the net. The half ended 1-0 with Mattocks in a yellow card.
Jamaica found their offense in the 50th minute. Watson beat Jordan Morris to the far post on their first corner of the half. He got his right boot the cross and beat Howard to tie the game 1-1.
The U.S. responded with several sequences in the minutes that followed. The turned up the pressure from the run of play and on set pieces. Arriola and Altidore continued to get chances. Jamaica continued to use transition play with Mattocks and Fisher. Dempsey almost took the lead in the 75th minute with a header, but it deflected off the post and was cleared.
The game got stretched in the final minutes and the United States kept pushing. A goal felt inevitable for the favorites and it was. In the 89th minute, substitute Gyasi Zardes got some space on the wing and sent a cross into the box. The ball fell to Dempsey who tapped it to Morris. Morris shot first time into the top corner of the goal and the stadium errupted with joy.
Jamaica could not muster a chance in the final minutes and the match ended 2-1.
45′ United States – Jozy Altidore – Unassisted
50′ Jamaica – Je-Vaughn Watson – Assisted by Kemar Lawrence
89′ United States – Assisted by Clint Dempsey
This was one heck of final. At half time, it seemed the United States was set for a clear victory, up a goal with no Andre Blake for Jamaica. Credit the Reggae Boyz for coming back in the game and making it so hard for the opponet to score. Especially without Blake. It was great to see Morris redeem himself after giving up the goal on a corner. Ultimately the better team won the game. Both coaches learned a lot about their teams and their players going forward in World Cup Qualifying (2022 for Jamaica).
One has to wonder if Blake would have made the difference for Jamaica. Regardless, this is an instant classic for both countires. The USMNT deserved to win this tournament. Jamaica has nothing to be ashamed of.