The United States men’s national team has avenged their loss from the last Gold Cup semifinal and won a CONCACAF title, defeating Jamaica 2-1. Jozy Altidore opened the scoring in the first half and Je-Vaughn Watson came up with a quick equalizer, but the hero was Jordan Morris. He smashed a winner into the back of the net in the 88th minute to deliver the title to the USMNT.
Both teams struggled to find their rhythm early as they tried to cope with a very bad field. Chunks of the turf came up easily, and players had to replace divots during stoppages in play.
But once players got used to what they were dealing with, the action picked up considerably.
Altidore had the first good chance of the game in the 19th minute, but unfortunately, it led to an injury for Jamaican goalkeeper Andre Blake. Arguably the best player at this Gold Cup, Blake made an incredible save on Altidore’s hard shot from the edge of the box, but Kellyn Acosta accidentally kicked Blake’s hand on a follow-up attempt. Blake was in visible pain, and had to be substituted, with Dwayne Miller replacing him.
Miller went onto have a very good game in net, but fans of the Reggae Boyz were left to wonder if their first-choice keeper might have sent them into halftime level. He couldn’t keep out a free kick by Altidore, who ripped a gorgeous shot into the back of the net from 30 yards just before the end of the first half.
The U.S. didn’t hold onto their lead long, though. Jamaica found an equalizer very quickly, scoring from a corner in the 50th minute. Morris switched off for a split second, allowing Watson to win a race to Kemar Lawrence’s cross and poke the ball past Tim Howard.
Bruce Arena responded instantly by subbing in Clint Dempsey, taking off Acosta, and moving Darlington Nagbe to midfield. And Dempsey nearly scored in the 75th minute. Jorge Villafaña set him up with a cross, but Miller tipped Dempsey’s header onto the post.
Extra time looked like an inevitability as regular time wound down, but Jordan Morris popped up out of nowhere to score a winner in the 88th minute. And guess who set him up? Of course it was Dempsey, his club teammate and the USMNT’s super sub.
This is the sixth Gold Cup title for the United States, and continues their undefeated run since Arena was hired as the manager. And the Americans don’t just get this trophy, but a guaranteed shot at qualifying for the next Confederations Cup, and a lot of momentum heading into their next round of World Cup qualifiers.