New England Soccer Today

U.S. Upset, Eliminated By Jamaica

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/aduamaphotography.ocm

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/aduamaphotography.ocm

The United States Men’s National Team saw their hopes of winning the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup ended on Wednesday evening as Jamaica took a 2-0 first half lead and held on to beat the Americans 2-1 in front of a sold out Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Darren Mattocks and Giles Barnes scored off set pieces in the 31st and 36th minutes, respectively and a comeback attempt in the second half led to only a 48th minute Bradley goal.

Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann made two changes to the line-up that defeated Cuba 6-0 on Friday. John Brooks returned from suspension and replaced Omar Gonzalez at center back, while Brad Evans replaced Timmy Chandler, who had been limited in training this week with an injury, at right back.

The U.S. and Jamaica each exchanged early chances as turnovers led to dangerous counterattacks both ways. Jamaica ‘keeper Ryan Thompson nearly made a costly error in the 27th minute when he spent too much time on the ball with Aron Johannsson closing him down. Johannsson tapped the ball away from Thompson towards goal, but it went wide into the side netting.

Two minutes later a Fabian Johnson long shot forced Thompson to tip it wide for a corner kick.

It was Jamaica who would take the lead, however, after earning a throw-in in the attacking third in the 31st minute. Kemar Lawrence took a long throw into the box where Darren Mattocks rose above the U.S. defense and headed it past Guzan to make it 1-0.

Five minutes later they doubled the lead after Guzan was called for leaving the box with the ball in his hands, giving Jamaica a very dangerous free kick 18 yards out. Giles Barnes stepped up to take it and curled a dangerous shot past Guzan to make it 2-0.

The U.S. would come out of half time with renewed life in the attack and cut the deficit in half in the 48th minute. A shot from Johannsson at the top of the box was saved by Thompson, but Clint Dempsey got to the rebound and quickly hit it on frame. Dempsey’s shot deflected off Thompson and fell to Bradley who put in the rebound to make it 2-1.

Three minutes later the U.S. nearly equalized after earning a dangerous free kick just outside the box. Johnson took it and hit it on frame, but right at Thompson. Thompson made the save, but couldn’t hold it and the rebound came to a wide open Johannsson just yards from goal. Johannsson attempted a header, but sent it high of the net.

Bradley had another effort in the 57th minute from distance, but his shot was save by Thompson, then bounced off the post and went back into play.

A long throw-in from the U.S. via Brad Evans gave the Americans another chance in the 71st minute when his service found Brooks, who directed a header on frame. Brooks’ effort was right at Thompson, however, who made the save.

Substitute Alan Gordon threatened shortly after coming on when he got on the end of an Alejandro Bedoya cross. Gordon put his shot on frame, but Thompson made the save.

The U.S. continued to press from there and outshot Jamaica 15 to 4 in the second half, but couldn’t find an equalizer.

Jamaica advances to the Gold Cup final on Sunday in Philadelphia. The U.S. will play in the third place match on Saturday and as winners of the 2013 Gold Cup, will now need to win a playoff with this year’s Gold Cup winner to qualify for the 2017 Confederations Cup.

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