CONCACAF Gold Cup 2015Sports

Jamaica stuns U.S. in Gold Cup semifinals

Courtesy of CONCACAF
Courtesy of CONCACAF

Jamaica held on after a late rally to upset the United States 2-1 in the 2015 Gold Cup semifinals on Wednesday in Atlanta, Georgia.

Jamaica became the first Caribbean team to reach the Gold Cup finals with the win, while the loss means the U.S. will miss the finals for the first time in 10 years.

The game started slow through the first quarter hour of play as the teams felt each other out.

After the 20 minute mark, the U.S. started to find some holes and created good chances.

Alejandro Bedoya found a streaking Aron Jóhannsson in the 23rd minute. Jóhannsson played a dangerous ball across the box that was begging to be one-timed into the back of the net, but it was cleared by the Jamaican defense.

A minute later, Gyasi Zardes found some open space in the top right corner of the box, but his shot sailed high and wide.

Jamaica did produce a chance against the run of play in the 25th minute when a cross from Garath McCleary was deflected and dropped to the feet of Giles Barnes in the center of the box. Barnes got under hit shot and sent it flying over the net.

The U.S. kept pressuring, and Jóhannsson almost took advantage of a mistake in the 28th minute. Jamaica goalkeeper Ryan Thompson fumbled the ball at his feet and Jóhannsson dived at the ball and tried to tap it toward goal, but the ball hit the outside of the net as Thompson breathed a sigh of relief.

The Americans were back on the attack a minute later. Fabian Johnson tried to curl a shot into the back post from the left side, but Thompson’s diving save prevented another scoring opportunity.

Jamaica was the first to get on the board in the 31st minute. Kemar Lawrence sent in a long throw in and found Darren Mattocks despite being in the middle of four American defenders. Mattocks flicked the ball backwards with his head and hit both posts before going in for the 1-0 lead.

While the U.S. was still shocked from giving up the opening goal, the Reggae Boyz doubled their lead five minutes later from a rarely seen foul call. U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan was whistled when his arm left the box during a throw. On the ensuing free kick, Barnes lifted the ball over the flat-footed wall and past a diving Guzan to put Jamaica up two goals to the good.

The U.S. threatened once more before halftime. Clint Dempsey ran towards goal and took a touch to the left with a defender draped on his right side. Dempsey’s left-footed shot was saved by Thompson.

Minutes into the second half, the Americans came storming back with a goal. Thompson left a big rebound from a long shot. Thompson and Dempsey met the ball at the same time and Michael Bradley rushed onto the loose ball and deposited it to spark the comeback effort.

The Americans desperately sent attack after attack into the Jamaican half, but despite putting 10 shots on goal and earning 11 corners, Jamaica was able to hold on for the win and earn a berth into the finals.

Jamaica will face Mexico for the championship on Sunday in Philadelphia, while the U.S. will take on Panama for third place on Saturday. The U.S. and Panama battled to a 1-1 draw in the group stage, while Jamaica and Mexico have yet to face each other in this year’s tournament.

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