Jordan Morris, the 22-year-old who had already struck twice in the tournament, scored the biggest goal of his career -- the 2017 Gold Cup final gamewinner in the 88th minute for a 2-1 victory over Jamaica.
The USA had taken a first-half lead with a long-range free kick by Jozy Altidore but the Reggae Boyz assured an exciting finish by equalizing in the 50th minute off a corner kick on which Morris was beaten at the far post.
USA Player Ratings:
Player (Club) Caps/Goals
5 Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City) 53/5
Right back struggled twice with Mattocks. Blocked a close-range Alvas Powell shot in the 76th minute. Helped bring the ball down the wing quite often.
6 Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX) 45/3
Came to the rescue in the 38th minute after Zusi was burned by Mattocks.
6 Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City) 44/1
Broke up a second-half attack when Jamaica was gaining a momentum. Hit some inaccurate passes out of the back in the first half but played more safely in the second.
8 Jorge Villafana (Santos Laguna/MEX) 11/0
Left back defended winger Owayne Gordon. Moved forward with and combined well with Darlington Nagbe in first half and provided much of the build up play in the second. Crosses provided headers for Paul Arriola and Clint Dempsey.
6 Paul Arriola (Tijuana/MEX)
Enabled the USA to spread out the play by making himself constantly available on the right wing. One of the midfielders who helped USA have 68 percent of the possession.
4 Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas) 14/1
Decent start included a nice back-heel pass on first-half attack but began tackling recklessly and losing ball in midfield. Replaced in 55th minute.
7 Michael Bradley (Toronto FC) 136/17
Was fouled on play that led to the free kick from which Jozy Altidore scored. After central midfield partner Acosta was replaced by forward Dempsey, Bradley took on more defense midfield duties and covered well for the creative Nagbe. Broke up a late Jamaican counterattack.
7 Darlington Nagbe (Portland
From the left wing, provided most of the USA's first-half surges. Passed to Bradley in a dangerous area that resulted in foul for free-kick goal. He moved in the second half to the middle, where his dribbling tormented Jamaican midfielders, making them neglect the wings.
8 Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC) 107/39
Forced a big save with a long-range shot in the 19th minute and opened the scoring with a searing 30-yard free kick in the 45th minute. Made some good passes in tight spaces.
8 Jordan Morris (Seattle
While defending on corner kick, beat to ball by Je-Vaugh Watson on Jamaica's equalizer but made up for it big time. Menaced the Reggae Boyz on the left flank as the USA sought the gamewinner, forced a Dwayne Miller save in the 73rd minute, and became the Gold Cup hero with his 15-yard rocket.
7 Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders) 137/57
His header forced a big Miller save that sent the ball off the post. Low free kick created a goalmouth scramble. One his nifty passes was part of gamewinner setup sequence and he deflected the ball to Morris before the winning shot.
6 Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy) 37/6
After entering in the 76th minute, lost the ball that set up chance that Howard saved. But he did create problems for the Reggae Boyz on the right wing and sent in the cross leading to the gamewinner.
nr Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire)
Replaced Nagbe for the final two minutes.
(Ratings: 1=low; 5=middle; 10=high.)
TRIVIA: Jordan Morris also scored the gamewinner when the USA beat Jamaica, 1-0, in a friendly last February.
July 26 in Santa Clara,
USA 2 Jamaica 1. Goals: Altidore 45, Morris 88; Watson 50.
USA -- Howard, Zusi, Gonzalez, Besler, Villafana, Arriola (Zardes, 76), Acosta (Dempsey, 55), Bradley, Nagbe (McCarty, 90+), Altidore, Morris.
Jamaica -- Blake (Miller, 23), Taylor, Lowe, Lawrence, Powell, Richie (Lambert, 87), Watson, Fisher, Gordon, Mattocks, Williams.
Yellow cards: USA -- Acosta 37, Zusi 76, Howard 92+; Jamaica -- Mattocks 31, Richie 57.
Referee: Walter Lopez (Guatemala).
Shots on target: 8/3
Corner Kicks: 6/3
Whoa there cowboy, take it down a notch. Does everybody get an additional point because it was a final? I agree that we played well, but three players with 8's? I'm not sure the opposition was strong enough to warrant that. Jozy's two excellent shots warrant the highest rating on the team, and Morris' final shot was superb (though he was beaten on the Jamaican goal, but to be fair, he was probably beaten by a sneaky foul, as Watson dragged him right in order to go around him on the left to score). After struggling much of the game, it was nice to see him score the winner. Villafana played very well, but I thought he was a bit too predictable (always crossing the ball early from the flank; after hitting 3 or 4 in a row, it would be nice to see him fake the cross and go around the defender with speed and get to the endline, since I think he has the ability to do that and that would be much more dangerous). Nagbe does have a knack for moving past defenders, so its nice to see his consistently excellent performances. And given the generally high ratings, I didn't think Acosta played that badly; he seemed to be much more offense-oriented this game than last, which I like. Generally, a dominating performance by the US (other than on corners, Jamaica didn't seem likely to score), so I guess it's okay to be generous with the ratings..
Jamaica had an excellent tournament. I hope the keeper's injury is nothing serious. If ever a keeper deserved the golden ball award.... What impressed me the most about the USA was that Arriola and Villafana are steadily improving every game. Jozy did have a really good game. The forwards all did well. Dempsey's header was saved by a finger tip and help from the post, literally. The two US goals were both from good technique. Morris's technique looked so good I knew it was going in when he placed his plant foot before he struck the ball. I thought it was a solid team performance all around including Acosta. Once again a well coached team. I don't think I ever saw the MNT have this much possession and attack hard with it. Such a temptation to slow down.
I must agree that Acosta didn't deserve such a low score. He was in some dangerous positions and it was his attempt on the rebound that ended up injuring Blake. Really sorry to see Blake get hurt. He had a great tournament. Hopefully he will heal quickly. Eight for Morris must have been based on the winning goal. Nagbe again is just a beast on the ball. How many times did he get fouled in dangerous free kick territory. It was his long pass to Bradley that set up the free kick for Altidore. Arriola is a guy who appears to be getting better and really just needing more time on the field in competitions like this. He is constantly putting the ball in dangerous places and arriving in dangerous places for crosses. He had the header that went right to the goalie. The possession by the US is fun to watch. This game was fun to watch. The Reggae Boyz were playing some D. They really made it tough to score.
Yes...way too high across the board. Zardes a '6'?!?! He was poor for his entire shift and fortunate that his cross led to the winner. And, as has been said, Morris did not have his best night - did force a great save and scored a nice goal at a crucial time.
Will, I agree that the '8' is very generous for Morris. Great GWG but overall lackluster game where he threatened only a few times. He's where Altidore was, great physical traits but skill and tactical awareness not where it should be for international play. Altidore had a rough go in Europe but at least he went and came back a much more total package. I'm not sure Morris can sharpen that much without being challenged to that level daily.
I'll recap the game for R2Dad. He doesn't watch crap teams play meaningless games. Altidore lumbered lazily, Bradley turned the ball over, and there wasn't a superstar or a savior in the entire stadium. Oh, and Arena's grandkids made the cutest substitutions! They kept hugging the 4th official. I don't know who won but afterward the US players were all jumping up and down holding a trophy inscribed: "YOU GUYS ACTUALLY KNOW JÜRGEN KLINSMANN."
This was really funny. Thanks.
The match statistics imply the U.S. dominated play with over 68% possession and was the significantly better team. Too bad time of possession was padded by strings of negative 3, 4, and 5 back passes a possession, few players ahead of the ball instantly making supporting runs to create attacking options for their teammate with the ball and almost no passes in front of a running teammate for them to run onto and to attack at speed. Overall the play did not set a good example of creative soccer, a savvy understanding of the game and an ability to press our opponent to shorten the field, press our attack and to deny theirs for our youth players. The U.S. played to be safe, not to inspire our youth to keep playing soccer over other sports that appear more exciting. Our youth need to aspire to learn to be creative, savvy and skillful when attacking while also shortening the field to make it more difficult for our opponents to press attacks on our goal. We played a negative, not to lose, game that might have gone the other way if their most experienced and #1 national team goal keeper had not been injured very early in the first half and forced to leave the game.
They did dominate play and were significantly better. Jamaica created one chance due to Morris falling asleep on a corner and scored from it. Sounds like you are disappointed they didn't lose but you are determined to complain regardless.
Also the USMNT has 73% possession and and had 577 passes compared to 211 for Jamaica (367-130 in the attacking half and 174-65 in the final third). Jamaica came to park the bus and try to hit on the counter and it almost worked.
FPG - My point was the quality of play not the statistics. As John Wooden, UCLA Baskeball Coach and winner of 10 NCAA National Championships in 12 years said "Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability." >> The USA had 577 passes, most of which were followed by square and negative back passes, but only managed 8 shots on goal for a 1.386% shots on goal to passes ratio. Jamica had 211 passes and 3 shots on goal for 1.422% shots on goal to passes ratio. >> Comparing goals from the run of play versus free kicks. The US had 577 passes for 1 goal from the run of play or .00173% while Jamaica had 211 passes for 1 goal from the run of play or .00347%. >> Given the size of our player pool, professional league and coaching resources we should be measuring our program not by results, but what we should accomplish based on our potential.
Sorry Jay, that makes no sense. Jamaica came out with the intent of parking the bus and seeing if they score on the counter or from a set piece. They managed to do so due to an individual error off a corner but they couldn't keep the US off the board. The US were miles better but, as anyone who watches the game knows, that is not always reflected on the scoreboard.
Jay I know you understand the game. Back passes are great when they are used to stretch out a compact defense and create space between the lines.
Bob A, Unfortunately television cameramen, commentators and most spectators, players, referees and coaches have a tendency, according to published studies in Europe, to fixate on the ball and the player in possession of the ball for as much as 54 seconds a minute. This only leaves 6 seconds a minute to scan the field for teammates, opponents and open spaces. These same studies show a small number of elite players scan the field 26 times a minute for 26 seconds and have an acute awareness of what teammates and opponents are doing as well as where open spaces are at all times. In viewing the game on television it is usually impossible to see the full field and where all teammates, opponents and spaces are, which usually makes a definitive analysis of what players are making supporting runs for their teammate in possession and what spaces are available difficult to determine. >> Absent either GPS player tracking and/or player video tracking of all players on both teams, television viewers only see those teammates moving to be open or to create space in the area close enough to what the cameraman is fixated on. >> In many cases the body language of the the U.S. players implied they planned to play the ball square or negative towards their own goal instead of having their supporting teammates make attacking runs to create space for themselves and their teammates. Safe tactics as Johan Cruyff observed "you can't lose if they don't score". >> In sharp contrast the Jamaican team used a theory of Rinus Michels, FIFA's Coach of the 20th Century, Netherlands National team coach in the 1974 World Cup Final, F.C. Barcelona Coach and Ajax Coach. On winning possession Jamaica instantly pressed players forward at speed to 1) get as many defenders as possible behind the ball to keep the U.S. from scoring and 2) to apply pressure to try to score quickly by forcing U.S. players to make an error. While Jamaica has very athletic players, Michel's pressing soccer really requires exceptional technical skills, constant scanning of the field and instant decision making under pressure. >> The use, by the United States, of negative and horizontal passes to create space between the lines is a more effective tactic when you have 1) players in the front two lines making runs to create space for their teammates and themselves, and 2) the teammate with the ball is constantly scanning the field to find open teammates, open spaces and then places the ball in front of their teammate running onto the ball in open space. >> The unfortunate thing about all televised games is that the camera angles and fixation of the cameraman and commentators on the ball and player in possession doesn't give viewers a full view of what supporting off the ball runs and spaces are being or could be created.
Looks like Frankie Schoon is back with a new name. What does 1970s Ajax have to do with this?
FPGN, you say that because of the words he used. This is not something Frank would say. Frank would be critical, but in a different way. Jay, I too am very frustrated with US producers who use the same formula to produce soccer as they do with US football. I noticed a new frustration. When the color commentator was talking about a player, the producer would show a close up of the player discussed instead of showing even a too-tight view of the play around the ball. The only time I saw a satisfactory US production was during a world cup final when they used the stock feeds produced by foreign crews. My biggest frustration are free kicks when they close in on kickers and all I want is to see the movements off the ball and how the defense is set up.
Bob A, I agree about televised games by American camera persons and commentators. In contrast foreign camera persons and comentators often know more about the game, understand it better and provide significantly more wide angle coverage of the field, which is necessary to understanding any game in context. I prefer games televised by crews who understand the moments of the game. >> As an aside on Michels. I read a 20 page translation of an article by him in the late 1970's in which he revealed he preferred to call what the world press called "Total Soccer", "Pressing Soccer" because his players where pressing to win the ball back the instant it was lost. The surprise was a paragraph that explained he preferred always pressing forward, instead of dropping back to defend, because when his players pressed and won the ball back without having to run back to defend and forward to attack, they were actually saving energy. >> Found his advice was good and that pressing works well in Invasion Sports because most opponents are not trained to play under constant pressure. >> And yes Cruyff even has a quote about the Dutch National Handball team benefiting from instantly applying pressure. << Cruyff actually has 188 quotes that I know of on his observations about playing soccer. And that's why Frankie Schoon and coaches worldwide search for, collect and study his observations. >> For those who haven't yet go to the website The Church of Cruyff.
Cruyff is my second most favorite coach, right behind John Wooden. And that is not a bad place to be. My theory is that pressing in soccer was adopted from American basketball. There is some support for the thought, but my belief is based on pressing and fast break offense (counter attack) being widespread in basketball during the 1960s.
Bob A, Also a fan of John Wooden and also of Coach John Thompson's Hoyas at Georgetwon University, who specialized in "pressing basketball". Pressing has long been a successful tactic of teams playing the 16 invasion sports played around the world and, of course, some of the most successful military commanders in history.
I thought the game went as expected. Jamaica in my opinion, showed what we as a country lack, which are players that cant breakdown two banks of four playing deep. I thought Nagbe played well and controlled the Rythm of the game, defensively we looked shaky after Jamaica equalized, overall we need technical players that can play penetrating passes and dribble in behind a defense that is packing it in. Arriola, Morris, and Zardes aren't those players.
I don't recall Nagbe beating anyone on the dribble either, but then he usually had 3 opponents on him, no 1v1 matchups. Some 1v1s would have been more likely if Johnson was on the other flank instead of a U23. All in all Nagbe and the US did a good job finding the spaces and moving the point of attack around.
Agree the scores are a bit high, Villafana w/an 8? Really? Good to see the guys improving - while there is still a lot to work on, it's fun to watch young guys get a shot to play a few games and adjust to the international level of play. Hoping Roldan will get another shot soon, but Arena's got a decent sized player pool already to select from. I would like to see the new young keeper Gonzalez get some action (maybe upcoming friendlies?) as that's the only position we don't have good youth depth sorted out yet.
Really looking forward to seeing the September qualifiers with the addition of the Europe-based guys (Pulisic, Wood, Yedlin, Cameron, Brooks).
No question about it; Jamaica has athletic players, but technically, they are very sub-par.
Considering that Jamaica did not use one player from the EPL and largely relied on MLS and inexperienced Jamaica-based players, it should bother you that the scoreline was only 2-1. Nobody mentioned the ease with which Darren Mattocks dismissed his markers. Credit to the veteran Tim Howard for his leg save against a certain goal from Mattocks. If Morris expects to play at this level then there is no excuse for allowing Watson to score.
Not really. Those English "Jamaicans" are being phased out of the team since they are already out of the World Cup. And only about half of the starters last night will be starting against CR in September. The US were missing Yedlin, Cameron, Brooks, Johnson, Pulisic, Wood etc.
Now you can see why Altidore has started for the last three USMNT coaches. He consistently scores in clutch situations.
Excellent goal, I doubt that Jamaica's first choice goalie would have been able to save it either!
The ratings are a little high if these are compare to international players - glad to see some of the younger players getting some of the best numbers. IMO Nagbe was the most creative player and needs to be in there - splitting time up front with Altidore/Morris/Dempsey and add Wood makes for a hungry group. Get the other middies back for the WC games and that group will be strong - Omar Besler and Villafana are keepers and get a strong right back - Zusi is a capable alternate at a defensive position - there is no competition at keeper at this time. Good job by Arena - the next WC games will be telling. Nice progress this year!
USA technically superior...73% possession and barely come out the winner on a defensive head clearance into the middle which is a cardinal sin.
Wowser when I read MW's rankings, I thought they were typos, but no, read them several times, and even the comments above are spot on. But Acosta a 4?!?!?!? Zusi, a 5?!?!?! Arriola a 6?!?!?! The others, well the first line of the first comments above says it all, and the only guy I'd give as much as an 8 is our GK, but Morris an 8 just 'cause he scores the late winning goal, fat lip and all?!?!?! I've known MW for many, many years, but his rantings are a tad bit high, and in comparing his to Ragin' Ridge Mahoney, folks I am wont to say that his are more realistic. Jamaice played it tough as hell in the first half, before and after we scored, rather Jazzy did, and continued on in the second half. Again, any team playing the USMNT, especially from our hemisphere is going to hack, I mean "play" us tough as hell, and I am sorrey the Ref did not hand out more yellows. And yet, we prevailed, luckily for the US, despite losing the ball/turning it over, etc., Morris did it, Deuce was there, the whole danged squad was there including, as someone above said, "Arenas grand kids" did a pretty nice job, but please, Jazzy should retire. On a not-so related note, the tv announcers were OK, but that guy formerly from Republica Deportiva, Fiori, por favor senor, hasta la vista baby; the guys that did the RM-Man City game, OMG, the English dude put me to sleep but his partner (his name escapes me, wonder why?) had to jump in and put some spark to their coverage.
Nagbe was best player on the field last night. He consistently created breakdowns in the Jamaican's shape opening lanes for Villafana, Morris and Altidore. I have always been concerned how he would handle physicality that Jamaica brings and he was brilliant last night. He also tracks back and tackles so well.
I was really impressed by Bradley's focused effort last night, too. His passing was superb and changed up his positioning a bit to avoid the huge gaps he created against CR. (Perhaps that was partly some adjustments with Acosta, too?)
I really am surprised that Jamaica couldn't expose Zusi or Villafana for speed.
Jozy and Morris did some great things last night. But I don't see goal scoring as putting them above the performance Nagbe had. Some of the plays that Morris had that impressed me the most actually came in the defensive third. He came back to support and then once we gained possession he skillfully avoided losing the ball the help start the attack.
I too am surprised at the high marks. It was a decent performance and that's about it. Overall, I think Omar Gonzalez has matured by playing in the Mexican league. He came into this year as being a question mark, but he is certainly going to be starting in every match in the World Cup. The ones the US plays in, that is.
Setecn S: I've tried to follow Oma G since he came to the LAG, then on to Liga MX, and you are right, he has matured a helluva lot. Apparently and obviously JK didn't care for him at all, but the one guy who did was his former LAG and current MNT HC, BA. While there are those who lambaste and derided Liga MX, it is a tough league to break into, even Bernestein (former LAG) and Beasley, etc. will attest. But I STILL cannot get my head wrapped around MW's ratings!
Ratings points 2 points to high for ALL players. Nobody had A great game. which is an 8.
Wait a minute: I thought the highest rating is from 1 - 10, ten being highest...?
True Ric, but Howard in a 2014 legendary performance against Belgium was rated a 9 by Mike. Some people want to hold 10 back as unreachable perfection. If Howard's performance in that match was a 9, I would not expect to see many 8's.