USA edge Jamaica for 6th Gold Cup
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