Shocker: Jamaica will play USA in Gold Cup final

There will be no USA-Mexico match for the 2017 Gold Cup title.

Jamaica spoiled the Concacaf party with a 1-0 win over El Tri in a half-empty Rose Bowl in Sunday's semifinals, moving into Wednesday's final against the USA in Santa Clara.

Kemar Lawrence, one of nine current or former MLS players in the starting lineup, broke a scoreless deadlock when he scored on a bending free kick, leaving El Tri keeper Jesus Corona motionless, in the 88th minute.

Jamaica had already shown it was Mexico's equal, playing to a 0-0 tie during the group stage. In Sunday's semifinal, Philadelphia Union keeper Andre Blake made five saves to keep the Reggae Boyz even long enough for Lawrence to send them back into the Gold Cup final.

Two years ago, Jamaica beat the USA, 2-1, in the semifinals. Its run in the 2017 Gold Cup is all the more surprising in that it failed to reach the final round of World Cup 2018 qualifying.

After Jamaica's exit, German coach Winfried Schaefer was fired and replaced by former national team midfielder Theodore Whitmore, installed as head coach for the fourth time.

Jamaican soccer has been in transition since the death of longtime Jamaica Football Federation president, Captain Horace Burrell, who died after a long illness in June.

The conditions at the team's training facility at the University of West Indies, where it prepared for the Gold Cup, were so bad training sessions had to be cut short, and Blake, the captain, complained to Jamaica's sports minister.

Unlike the 2015 Jamaica team, which was built heavily around English-based players, including Leicester City captain Wes Morgan, Whitmore's team at the 2017 Gold Cup has only one European-based player: backup keeper Andre Miller from Swedish minor league club Syrianska FC.

The rest of the team consists of eight players based in MLS, four in the USL, plus 10 players from Jamaica's Red Stripe Premier League.

Jamaica was only the third Concacaf team to beat the USA in the Gold Cup when the Reggae Boyz won, 2-1, in the 2015 semifinals in Atlanta. The loss was the first of series of setback for the USA in the post-World Cup 2014 period that ended with U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann's firing in November 2016.

Just six starters from the 2015 match will be at Wednesday's final at Levi's Stadium:
Michael Bradley, Gyasi Zardes and Clint Dempsey for the USA and Je-Vaughn Watson, Darren Mattocks and Lawrence for Jamaica.

July 23 in Pasadena, California
Jamaica 1 Mexico 0. Goals: Lawrence 88.
Mexico -- J.Corona; Alvarez, Pereira, Molina, Ayala; Duenas, Gutierrez (Gallardo, 59), Pizarro; E.Hernandez Lopez, 79), Torres (Sepulveda, 46), Orbelin Pineda.
Jamaica -- Blake; Powell, Lowe, Taylor, Lawrence; Gordon, Watson, Richie, Francis (Morris, 53); Mattocks, Williams (Binns 77).
Att.: 42,393.

14 comments about "Shocker: Jamaica will play USA in Gold Cup final".
  1. Gus Keri, July 24, 2017 at 8:50 a.m.

    Half empty stadium for Mexico game? What is going on?

  2. Mike Calcaterra replied, July 24, 2017 at 3:21 p.m.


  3. Jay Wall, July 24, 2017 at noon

    The most dangerous teams in the world are those teams that no one expects to play in the Finals who have nothing to lose by making every effort and taking every risk. > The pressure is on the U.S. coaches and players to perform to the best of their ability given Jamaica was not expected to play well enough to be in ths Final.

  4. Winston Stewart, July 24, 2017 at 12:32 p.m.

    Jamaica has not "spoiled the Concacaf party", as it never came to the U.S. to party. Of course in these United States freedom of speech is assured, but perhaps it is also time to stop the default condescension that too many U.S. journalist are wont to display when writing about perceived "lesser" entities.

    May the better team win this Wednesday.

  5. stewart hayes, July 24, 2017 at 12:59 p.m.

    Very true Jay, just as dangerous as the teams that tie a game late and take the ensuing penalties as if there is nothing to lose. I really want nothing more than an entertaining game and Jamaica certainly gave us that against Mexico. Not knowing when they will click on the counter keeps you on the edge of your seat.

  6. Scot Sutherland, July 24, 2017 at 1:37 p.m.

    The MLS has helped the region more than it has helped the United States. I am fine with that. Jamaica knows they would not be in this position if it weren't for MLS. Mexico has largely kept to itself, but the US has welcomed players from all over the region. Now Mexico must face the reality that the minnows are growing into bigger fish, and teams like Jamaica are beginning to look like a barracuda. I see this final as a triumph for US Soccer in general. I want to see a good game. I obviously hope the US wins, but I am very happy for Jamaica, and sad for Mexico. Mexico needs to adjust. I hope they have it in them.

  7. Bob Ashpole replied, July 24, 2017 at 2:55 p.m.

    What is good for CONCACAF is also good for the US and Mexico in the long term. Another strong performance (3 countries advanced to the round of 16) at the 2018 finals will help raise respect.

  8. schultz rockne, July 24, 2017 at 2:07 p.m.

    Like many other fine soccer leagues, I look forward to the added prestige of the corporate moniker on the U.S.'s own:
    The Anheuser-Busch Major Outdoor Soccer League. Scream it with feeling!

  9. Mike Calcaterra, July 24, 2017 at 3:25 p.m.

    Great play on both sides. Happy to have Jamaica in the final. Scot Sutherland is completely on target. Last night was a great night for US Soccer. It matters not the side which wins on Wednesday, US soccer fans are the winners.

  10. RICHARD CEONZO, July 24, 2017 at 3:36 p.m.

    ICE? No.
    Sunday evening Catholic Mass? Yes.

  11. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, July 24, 2017 at 6:50 p.m.

    Neither. Mickey Mouse tournament with a bunch of B teams? Yes.

  12. Nick Daverese, July 24, 2017 at 6:17 p.m.

    Did they fire the Mexican manager yet?

  13. Nick Daverese, July 25, 2017 at 6:28 a.m.

    let's talk about B teams no National team will ever have enough B players to ever win anything worth while. What you want is to have enough good B players now that have the real potential to become an A player eventually. Maybe three that can fit in with the A team now in case of bookings or injuries so you can still do well in an important games now.

    To expect more that that is a pipe dream.

  14. Eve Montgomery, July 25, 2017 at 9:01 p.m.

    Gus Keri: Boo & hiss to Paul Kennedy for manufacturing "half-empty" stadium concerns over nothing. Although technically true (because the Rose Bowl has a capacity of 93,000!!!!!), there were nearly 43,000 folks in attendance -- hardly a point of controversy. I really hate when journalists do this (manufacture controversy gratuitously)!!!

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