Scouting Report: U.S. strategy to counter Jamaica threat

While Jamaica's 1-0 victory over Mexico in the semifinals killed the prospect of a sixth USA-Mexico final in the Gold Cup, the USA isn't underestimating the Reggae Boyz, back in the final for the second straight tournament.

Since it exited World Cup 2018 qualifying in the semifinal round, Theodore Whitmore has rebuilt Jamaica. Earlier in the year, the USA got a look at the new-look Reggae Boyz, built entirely around players based in MLS and the USL and Jamaica, when it beat them, 1-0, in Chattanooga.

Gone were the crew of English-based players, many of them born and bred abroad, that reached the 2015 final under German Winfried Schaefer. Just two starters from the 3-1 loss in the final against Mexico -- Kemar Lawrence and Je-Vaughn Watson -- are still with the team.

"They're a different type of Jamaican team than we've seen in the past,” said U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena. “They have a lot of discipline, they're very strong defensively, and they're hard to play against. That to me is not what you typically see of a Jamaican team.”

Whitmore brings into the final an organized team, a hot goalkeeper in Philadelphia Union's Andre Blake and dangerous forward in the Portland Timbers' Darren Mattocks. Jamaica shut out Mexico twice and has allowed a tournament-low two goals in five games.

"They have good experienced players all over," said Arena. "In the midfield with Watson holding down the center part of midfield. The backline has been very good. We all know Blake is an outstanding goalkeeper. Mattocks has really been a very strong striker and is very dangerous and can turn a game on one play."

Michael Bradley on U.S. strategy. The USA will need to shut down the Jamaicans before they can get out on the break and create the kind of chances that opponents have gotten against the USA throughout the tournament.

"A part that we’ve emphasized," U.S. captain Michael Bradley, "is this idea that if we’re good and patient with the ball, then our ability to organize and give balance behind the attack and make sure that we can arrange ourselves in a good aggressive way and really clamp things down before they have the ability to use their speed and athleticism."

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