Jamaica stuns USA 2-1 in Gold Cup semifinals, reaches first final
The U.S. men's national team's potential road to the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup is going to have to go through a playoff against the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup winner.
The U.S. was stunned in the Gold Cup semifinals by Jamaica, falling 2-1 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta and having a streak of five straight trips to the tournament finals snapped. As a result of winning the 2013 Gold Cup, the U.S. is still in position to earn CONCACAF's berth in the Confederations Cup, but winning the 2015 Gold Cup would've secured that automatically. Now it'll come down to an October playoff against either Jamaica, Panama or Mexico.
Jamaica, which advances to its first Gold Cup final, put the U.S. on the back foot by taking a stunning 2-0 lead in the first half in a matter of minutes. Darren Mattocks's looping header off a long Kemar Lawrence throw-in opened the scoring in the 31st minute, while Giles Barnes's thunderous free kick five minutes later doubled the lead and stunned the Georgia Dome crowd. The free kick was granted after U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan was ruled to have crossed the line of the box while throwing a ball from his own area.
Michael Bradley sliced the deficit in half three minutes after halftime, pouncing on a spilled ball from goalkeeper Ryan Thompson. Aron Johannsson's initial shot was saved and spilled, Clint Dempsey followed up with a similar effort and Bradley was on the spot to fire home from close range.
The U.S. couldn't pull even, though, coming closest when Bradley rifled a long-range shot off Thompson's chest, and the ricochet hit off the post. Johannsson had a chance to head home another spilled rebound off Thompson but missed high, and Gyasi Zardes scuffed a one-timed effort inside the box off a splitting ball from Alejandro Bedoya.
Jamaica heads to Sunday's final at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field, while the U.S. is relegated to PPL Park to play in Saturday's third-place game.
Here's how the shocking result unfolded:
GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), William Yarbrough (Club Leon)
DEFENDERS: Ventura Alvarado (Club America), DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers)
MIDFIELDERS: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Joe Corona (Veracruz), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS: Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Alan Gordon (LA Galaxy), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
GOALKEEPERS: Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union), Dwayne Miller (Syrianska), Ryan Thompson (Pittsburgh Riverhounds)
DEFENDERS: Michael Hector (Reading), Lance Laing (FC Edmonton), Kemar Lawrence (New York Red Bulls), Adrian Mariappa (Crystal Palace), Wes Morgan (Leicester City), Alvas Powell (Portland Timbers)
MIDFIELDERS: Rodolph Austin (Unattached), Simon Dawkins (Derby County), Joel Grant (Yeovil Town), Christopher Humphrey (Preston North End), Jobi McAnuff (Leyton Orient), Garath McCleary (Reading), Je-Vaughn Watson (FC Dallas)
FORWARDS: Giles Barnes (Houston Dynamo), Andre Clennon (Arnett Gardens), Darren Mattocks (Vancouver Whitecaps), Allan Ottey (Montego Bay United), Michael Seaton (Orebro)