The USMNT takes on Jamaica on Sunday night seeking birth in the CONCACAF Gold Cup semi-finals. The winner would face off against the winner of Qatar and El Salvador. This matchup between the two has come off in the knockout phase multiple times in recent years, including the 2015 semi-finals, where Jamaica won 2-1, and the 2017 final where the USMNT got revenge with a 2-1 win. This matchup has taken place in each of the previous Gold-Cup knockout phases dating back to 2013, with the exception of the 2019 edition.
Gold Cup Quarterfinals Preview: USMNT takes on Jamaica
How they got here
The USMNT defeated Haiti 1-0, Martinique 6-1, and Canada 1-0 on their way to winning Group B. Darryl Dike is their top scorer at the moment, while Shaq Moore impressed as their player of the group stage. James Sands and Gianluca Busio had plenty of good moments as well. Walker Zimmerman was replaced on the roster by Henry Kessler, as Zimmerman sustained a knee injury in the final match of the group stage. Cade Cowell was called in as an injury replacement as well, but Paul Arriola and Darryl Dike were deemed healthy enough, and Cowell was sent back to the Earthquakes.
Jamaica defeated Suriname and Guadeloupe by the scores of 2-0 and 2-1 respectively, then lost to Costa Rica in the final match of the group stage by the score of 1-0. Andre Blake starred as usual, as well as players like Leon Bailey and Bobby Reid. Reid starred in their first match of the group stage, scoring the goal of the tournament so far, but he will continue to miss time as he tested positive for COVID-19 after their opening match. They have talent on the backline and out wide, with some questions coming at the Striker and central midfield positions.
What to watch for
- Guys like Leon Bailey will cause problems down the right-hand side for the USMNT. Bailey’s speed and ability to play at a very high level will make him the most dangerous for them, but Shamar Nicholson and Daniel Johnson will also be players to keep an eye out for.
- The USMNT’s midfield will be what decides the match for them. Either they link the defense to to the attack and create for the attackers, or they shrink and get run over by a more experienced Jamaica team. If they play as they did against Canada, they probably will find themselves on the losing side.
- Can the USMNT defense hold strong without Zimmerman? The USMNT backline has certainly looked like the strongest group of players in their roster. They had been able to hold their group to only one goal against. While Jamaica only allowed two, the USMNT really seemed dominant defensively. That mainly came with help from Walker Zimmerman who is now gone with injury. Can Donovan Pines continue to step up or does his inexperience outside of MLS cost them?
Jamaica just have a stronger, more talented, more complete roster than the USMNT, and this seems to be the place where the USMNT run in the Gold Cup comes crashing to an end. Jamaica wins 2-0.