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USA vs. Jamaica Gold Cup semi-final preview

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The US is once again into the semifinals of the Gold Cup thanks to what was their best display of the tournament thus far, thrashing Cuba 6-0.  The focus now turns to making sure that the US can take care of business against a much improved Jamaica team.

It was a huge positive to see the US finally play up to its full potential.  It wasn’t just the fact that the US scored six goals (though that is a huge positive), it was that there weren’t any glaring mistakes made by any US players.  Granted the opponent was Cuba, but even some of the smaller teams in CONCACAF have given some of the US players (especially the back line) fits so far in the tournament.  So it was nice to see guys like Ventura Alvarado and even Timmy Chandler appear to settle down and finally get into the flow of the Gold Cup.  Of course, Clint Dempsey stole the show but Michael Bradley played like he played during 2013 and Aron Johannsson looked like he is ready to step up in the absence of Jozy Altidore.

Jamaica is making its first semifinals appearance since the 1998 Gold Cup.  Winfried Schafer has worked wonders with this team since taking over in June of 2013, but it has taken some time and it hasn’t always been pretty.  They finished at the bottom of the Hex in 2013 and were beaten 8-0 by France in a friendly early in 2014 but bounced back nicely in the second half of the year to win the Caribbean Cup on home soil and qualify, not just for the Gold Cup, but also for the 2016 Copa America Centenario (should it be held).  So far in 2015 Jamaica is 5-3-1, but those three losses all came in the Copa America down in Chile where they gave a good account of themselves losing each game 1-0.  Players to watch for Jamaica are Houston Dynamo forward Giles Barnes and Vancouver Whitecaps forward Darren Mattocks (who was suspended for their quarter final game against Haiti).  The midfield also has a ton of experience with Je-Vaughn Watson and Rodolph Austin combining for 126 caps.

Notes:

• Clint Dempsey’s hat trick against Cuba was his first US hat trick, though he had come close (by scoring two in a game) on four occasions.

• Clint Dempsey is now only ten goals behind Landon Donovan for first all-time in the US scoring list.  But if penalties are removed from the equation they are dead even with 42 goals apiece.

• This will be the third straight Gold Cup semifinals to feature the US, Panama and Mexico.

When, Where

7/22/15
Georgia Dome
Atlanta, Georgia
6pm ET
FOX Sports 1, UniMas

All-Time Series

USA leads 13-1-8

Last Meeting

10/11/13
Sporting Park
Kansas City, Kansas
USA 2-0 Jamaica

 

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