On its own, Team USA’s loss represents one of those days when things just didn’t go its way (and the reverse is true for Jamaica). It was.
The United States lost to Jamaica 2-1 in the Gold Cup Semi-Final.
Captain Michael Bradley was able to make it 2-1.
Andres Guardado scored two penalties to lead Mexico to a 2-1 extra-time victory over 10-man Panama in a bad-tempered match in Atlanta and set up a Gold Cup final showdown with Jamaica.
As for the United States, they will be facing Panama in the third place match on Saturday at PPL Park. The playoff is scheduled for Columbus Day weekend. It sure as hell doesn’t on home soil, but it did, marking its first loss to a Caribbean side at home in 46 years.
“Its very disappointing, very frustrating”, Bradley said. It completely bucked years of history that said the U.S. would be in the final and that no one besides Mexico could cause them team any problems.
“Obviously the team is disappointed”.
“I was running down the field when I heard we had a free kick”, said Barnes, who plays in Major League Soccer with Houston Dynamo. “There’s going to be new players that come into the side and I think the last few camps new faces have come in and Jurgen is looking at guys who can help this team”. Time to throw them back to their club teams to figure it out and see what else is in the player pool.
The United States was fit but no more-so than a Jamaica team that has spent the summer together – first at the 2015 COMNEBOL Copa America and now at the Gold Cup. A mixture of poorly taken shots, nerves, and a little bit of bad luck assured we wouldn’t snatch back the necessary two goals.
“Coach has three or four of us working on free kicks daily”, Barnes said. “It doesn’t erase a lot of the good stuff that we’ve done. But it’s the goals that matter”.
Jamaica took a shock lead on the half-hour mark as striker Darren Mattocks flicked on from Kemar Lawrence’s long throw-in, first beating goalkeeper Brad Guzan with his effort, which then struck the inside of the post before bobbling over the line. After making a prior save, Guzan ran to the edge of the box to give a long throw to Aron Johannsson, but when he let go of the ball, the sideline referee made an unusual hand ball call on Guzan, which allowed the Jamaicans a risky free kick from 18 yards out.
A fusillade of shots – 10 on goal, 10 more off target – severely tested the often shaky Jamaica goalkeeper Ryan Thompson. The U.S. never hit fifth gear against the Reggae Boyz, who managed to punish the defensive mistakes of their gracious hosts twice within a span of five minutes in the first half. Eventually, U.S. fatigue and frustration set in.
Certainly, the USMNT’s loss Wednesday, just its second to Jamaica in 23 matches, caused much debate online about the coach’s performance. The goal sent the Jamaicans sprinting for the corner flag and the Americans swarming Montero in protest. “We thought if we could drop back and soak up the pressure that would be a the best way to handle it”.