KENYA BROWN - Thursday, July 4, 2019
Goals from Weston McKennie and Christian Pulisic helped the United States Men's National Team to a win over Jamaica on Wednesday night to book their place in the final of the Gold Cup.
Coming off a lackluster 1-0 win over Curacao in the quarterfinals of the tournament a few days ago, the Americans needed to make rapid improvements as they were set to face their 2017 Gold Cup final opponents who were looking to exact revenge as they came close to winning their first title but fell short in a 2-1 loss that day. The Reggae Boyz did come into this game with a bit of confidence as they defeated the US in a 1-0 friendly last month in Washington, DC.
The US came out aggressive in the early minutes of the game and should have scored in the fourth minute when a cross from Jordan Morris on the right ended up at the feet of Paul Arriola, but his shot was saved by goalkeeper Andre Blake. That was followed a few minutes later by a shot from Reggie Cannon that ended up hitting the side netting.
However, the host would break the scoreless deadlock in the ninth minute through McKennie that started with Michael Bradley sending the ball towards Cannon on the right side. The right back then crossed the ball into the are to Jozy Altidore, who laid it off for the Schalke midfielder to slam home.
Pulisic then had a chance to double their lead two minutes when he sent a blistering free-kick towards the goal, but Blake would get a piece of the ball to push it towards the post.
The US had the momentum, but then a 90-minute weather delay halted proceedings, allowing the Jamaican team to make the adjustments they needed before heading back out to the field.
While the Americans did play well for stretches of the game, they did also show once again their discomfort as they tried to get accustomed to Berhalter's tactics.
But that didn't matter when Pulisic made it 2-0 in the 52nd minute. Morris fired a shot at goal, forcing Blake to make the save. However, he only parried the ball into the path of the No. 10, as he ran into the area to put it into the back of the net.
Jamaica would make things interesting later when they cut the deficit in the 69th minute. Shamar Nicholson headed the ball past the outstretched hand of Zack Steffen.
However, the US restored their two-goal lead in the 87th minute when Pulisic once again pounced on a loose ball to put it past Blake.
Overall, a good win for the US, but there a still some issues that need to be addressed before they play the final in Chicago.
Sunday should be an exciting game as once again the US faces its cross-border rival Mexico in the Windy City.