USA edge Ja­maica for 6th Gold Cup

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Sport -

JOR­DAN Mor­ris’s late strike lifted the United States to a 2-1 vic­tory over Ja­maica on Wed­nes­day in the Gold Cup fi­nal. The United States cap­tured their sixth Gold Cup crown – one shy of Mex­ico’s record seven vic­to­ries in the re­gional cham­pi­onship for North and Cen­tral Amer­ica and the Caribbean.

Mor­ris sealed it in dra­matic fash­ion with a goal in the 89th minute.

A mis­di­rected Ja­maican clear­ance was knocked down by US su­per-sub Clint Dempsey near the penalty spot and Mor­ris blazed a right-footed shot past Ja­maican keeper Dwayne Miller and in­side the right post.

Jozy Alti­dore’s su­perb free kick had put the United States ahead in the 45th minute, but Ja­maica’s Je-vaughn Wat­son equalised in the 50th as the un­der­dog Ja­maicans pushed the US hard.

Ja­maica were play­ing in their sec­ond straight Gold Cup fi­nal, af­ter falling to Mex­ico in 2015.

That year they ousted the United States in the semi-fi­nals, while this year they sent the Mex­i­cans pack­ing.

Although they have joined the US and Mex­ico as the only teams to reach back-to-back fi­nals, they are now just the sec­ond team to lose con­sec­u­tive ti­tle matches.

Since the in­cep­tion of the Gold Cup, Mex­ico and the US have won all but one edi­tion, with Canada tri­umph­ing in 2000.

Ja­maica lost their tal­is­manic goal­keeper, An­dre Blake, to a hand in­jury early in the con­test.

Miller was in goal as half­time ap­proached, when US cap­tain Michael Bradley was fouled in mid-field and Alti­dore curled the en­su­ing free kick over the wall and into the top cor­ner of the net.

Miller soared to get his fin­ger­tips to the ball but couldn’t keep it out of the net.

Ja­maica pulled level when Wat­son bulled his way past Mor­ris on a Ke­mar Lawrence’s cor­ner kick to vol­ley a short shot past US goal­keeper Tim Howard.

Mor­ris ad­mit­ted that he was stung when the man he was mark­ing scored – and re­lieved he could make up for it with the game-win­ner.

“Credit to Ja­maica – they made it very tough for us,” Mor­ris said. “I was ner­vous – it was my guy that scored on the (Ja­maican) goal. So I was try­ing to make up for that any way I could.

“Ob­vi­ously, I take re­spon­si­bil­ity for it, but luck­ily I could put it in the back of the net.”

For Ja­maica, how­ever, Mor­ris’s goal was “like a dag­ger in the heart,” Ja­maica coach Theodore Whit­more said.

“But again, this is foot­ball,” he said. “If you look in the semi-fi­nal against Mex­ico, the same thing hap­pened in that game (when Ja­maica scored an 88th-minute win­ner).” – AFP

US coach Bruce Arena holds the tro­phy af­ter his team de­feated Ja­maica in the Gold Cup fi­nal on Wed­nes­day. Photo: AFP

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