Concacaf Gold Cup

Youngsters Fire USMNT Into Gold Cup Final With Win Over Jamaica

Youngsters Fire USMNT Into Gold Cup Final With Win Over Jamaica

Weston McKennie and Christian Pulisic scored the goals in the USMNT's 3-1 win over Jamaica in the Gold Cup semifinal, setting up a final against Mexico.

Jul 4, 2019 by Steven Streff
Youngsters Fire USMNT Into Gold Cup Final With Win Over Jamaica

A 90-minute weather delay threw a wrench in a fast start for the United States, but Gregg Berhalter's side advanced to the Gold Cup Final with a 3-1 win over Jamaica on Wednesday night in Nashville. Weston McKennie scored before the delay that started in the 16th minute and Christian Pulisic took advantage of two rebounds in the second half to ensure the first U.S.-Mexico final since 2011. 

Shamar Nicholson, who scored the only goal between the two sides a month ago in a pre-tournament friendly, scored a header in the 69th minute to reduce the Americans' lead to just one goal. But Pulisic put the game to rest in the 87th minute, pouncing on a rebound from a Paul Arriola shot.

Berhalter's side, complete with four changes from the quarterfinal win against Curacao, came out flying early against the Reggae Boyz at Nissan Stadium. Arriola had the best chance of the bunch in the opening minutes but was denied a third goal of the tournament from an Andre Blake save. 

McKennie had better luck in the ninth minute, though, as a ball into the box from Reggie Cannon was let through by Jozy Altidore. The Schalke midfielder took one touch to set himself up before prodding the ball past Blake for the early lead.

Then the storm came in the 16th minute, delaying the game for 1:27. That was likely a welcome sight for Jamaica, who had been under a constant barrage for that opening stanza to the game. When the teams finally returned, it was clear that the break favored the Caribbean side, as the game evened out over the final 30 minutes of the first half. 

McKennie's ball into the box for Jordan Morris in the 52nd minute helped the U.S. put some distance between themselves and Jamaica. Morris did well from a tough angle to get a shot on target, and Blake could only guide the ball into the path of Pulisic, who made no mistake with the finish.

Jamaica were undeterred, though, and Leon Bailey provided the assist from the right flank for Nicholson's header in the 69th minute. It was a just reward for Jamaica, who were looking to make their third consecutive final at the Gold Cup.

The pressure was on the U.S. late, but Pulisic settled the matters with his third goal of the tournament. Pulisic's ball in the box didn't find any of the targets in the 87th minute, but Arriola stepped back out to corral possession. With space, Arriola took aim at goal from outside the box, forcing Blake into a save. Pulisic then bounced the rebound over a sprawling Blake, ensuring the U.S. would return to the final for the second consecutive tournament.

The U.S. and Mexico will face off on Sunday night at Soldier Field in Chicago to determine the winner of the 2019 Gold Cup. It is the first meeting in the final between the two Concacaf giants since 2011, when Mexico stormed back from an early deficit to beat Bob Bradley's side 4-2.