With the Gold Cup Final seemingly headed for extra time, Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris picked up a deflected cross and broke the deadlock with an 89th-minute blast that beat Jamaica’s backup goalkeeper Dwayne Miller to give the U.S. MNT a 2-1 win over the Reggae Boyz and a sixth Gold Cup title.
This may have been an off year Gold Cup with World Cup Qualifiers and the Confederation Cup (the latter for Mexico) taking center stage but Bruce Arena will still earn plenty of kudos for claiming the team’s first piece of silverware in his second go around as coach of the U.S. MNT.
Despite an overwhelming possession edge, the game remained goalless until the 45th minute when a beautiful free kick off the boot of Jozy Altidore beat Miller’s dive. Jamaica’s number one keeper Andre Blake had been forced out with a hand injury after taking a kick from Kellyn Acosta on a rebounded shot in the 23rd minute.
Altidore struck his shot well and although Miller got a hand to the ball the understudy was unable to keep the U.S. striker’s shot out of the net. It was an easy leap to think that Blake, who was awarded the Golden Gloves after the match, would have made the save.
The dominant first half performance by the Americans was keyed by a dominant midfield display by Darlington Nagbe and Michael Bradley, solid defensive work by the old reliable defense pair of Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez and strong play up front from Altidore.
But with the action all going the home team’s way, Jamaica pounced on some poor marking by Morris on a corner kick as Je-Vaughn Watson slipped behind Morris to head home the equalizer five minutes after the second half restart.
With the U.S. attack sputtering Arena sent Dempsey in for a very ineffective Kellyn Acosta just five minutes after the Jamaica goal and while the newly minted super sub was unable to get the goal he needed to pass Landon Donovan as the top all time U.S. MNT goalscorer, Dempsey did provide some immediate spark.
Still, extra time looked to be on the cards before Morris picked up a poorly hit cross from another sub, Gyasi Zardes and clobbered his shot past Miller for the U.S. win.
The victory improves Arena’s record to 9-0-5 in his second stint in charge of the national team and should give the team at least a slight confidence boost heading into September’s important World Cup Qualifiers.
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 1 2
JAM 0 1 1
USA – Jozy Altidore 45th minute
JAM – Je-Vaughn Watson (Kemar Lawrence) 50
USA – Jordan Morris (Clint Dempsey) 88
USA: 24-Tim Howard; 19-Graham Zusi, 3-Omar González, 5-Matt Besler, 2-Jorge Villafaña; 20-Paul Arriola (9-Gyasi Zardes, 76), 23-Kellyn Acosta (28-Clint Dempsey, 55), 26-Michael Bradley (capt.), 25-Darlington Nagbe (13-Dax McCarty, 90+2); 8-Jordan Morris, 27-Jozy Altidore
Subs not used: 12-Bill Hamid, 4-Matt Miazga, 7-Chris Pontius, 10-Joe Corona, 15-Eric Lichaj, 16-Justin Morrow, 18-Juan Agudelo, 21-Matt Hedges, 29-Jesse González
Head coach: Bruce Arena
JAM: 1-Andre Blake (13-Dwayne Miller, 23); 2-Kemar Lawrence, 21-Jermaine Taylor, 4-Ladale Richie (17-Kevon Lambert, 87), 3-Damion Lowe, 5-Alvas Powell; 8-Oniel Fischer, 15-Je-Vaughn Watson, 18-Owayne Gordon; 22-Romario Williams, 10-Darren Mattocks (11-Cory Burke, 90)
Subs not used: 23-Damion Hyatt, 6-Segio Campbell, 7-Shaun Francis, 2-Rosario Harriott, 12-Michael Binns, 9-Ewan Grandison, 19-Ricardo Morris, 16-Jermaine Johnson, 14-Shamar Nicholson
Head Coach: Theodore Whitmore
Stats Summary: USA / JAM
Shots: 13 / 6
Shots on Goal: 8 / 3
Saves: 2 / 6
Corner Kicks: 6 / 3
Fouls: 13 / 20
Offside: 1 / 5
JAM – Darren Mattocks (caution) 31st minute
USA – Kellyn Acosta (caution) 37
JAM – Ladale Richie (caution) 57
USA – Graham Zusi (caution) 76
USA – Tim Howard (caution) 90+2