The theme for the US throughout most of this Gold Cup was that they needed to start playing much better if they wanted to win the whole thing. Well, the competition got tougher in the semi-finals and the US played their best game of the tournament, defeating Costa Rica 2-0 to advance to a record 10th Gold Cup final. But their opponent in this Gold Cup final is not who it was supposed to be. Every Gold Cup final is supposed to be USA vs. Mexico (or at least that’s what the suits at CONCACAF and the TV execs hope for). Instead, Mexico fell to Jamaica in their semi-final so the US gets a shot a redemption while Jamaica gets another crack at a Gold Cup title.
When the games really started to matter, the US started playing better. It should be said that once the old regulars were added into the squad that the performance level was only going to go up but there were a few questions marks still hanging around after the quarter-final game against El Salvador. Even through the first half of the semi-final against Costa Rica there was a little doubt and anxiety as the US dominated possession but couldn’t put their chances away (the best chance coming just 10 seconds in with Jordan Morris smacking one off the post). But that’s when the aforementioned regulars stepped up. Jozy Altidore finally scored a goal that mattered (even when he does score in competitive games it’s usually once the matter has been decided) to put the US up 1-0 off a beautiful feed from Clint Dempsey who then scored a great free kick to make it 2-0 and seal the deal. In addition to Altidore and Dempsey being good, Tim Howard made a number of smart saves to keep it 0-0 in the early going.
At the end of the day what matters right now is getting results and winning the Gold Cup, but perhaps this tournament has raised more questions than it answered. Bruce Arena started the tournament with “B” team guys and while the US finished first in the group, it was not entirely convincing and with the possible exceptions of Dom Dwyer and Kelyn Rowe, nobody really distinguished themselves leading to the veterans like Altidore, Dempsey and Bradley being called in. The question now is what happens when the US can no longer rely on these guys?
Jamaica is something akin to a surprise package at this year’s Gold Cup. Two years ago they made it to the final (shocking the US along the way) before falling to Mexico. But since then it’s been mostly downhill. They failed to earn a single point at the Copa America Centenario last year and then failed to advance to the final round of World Cup Qualifying leading to the dismissal of Winfried Schafer and to the appointment of Theodore “Tappa” Whitmore (for the fourth different time). 2017 didn’t start off too spectacularly either as they fell in the final of the Caribbean Cup, 2-1 to Curacao. But this Gold Cup has been an entirely different story. They have yet to lose a game and even held Mexico without a goal both times they played them. New York Red Bulls defender Kemar Lawrence scored the winner against Mexico in the semi-final on an absurdly amazing free kick while Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Andre Blake was again stout in goal for the Reggae Boyz. Other players to keep an eye on are forward Darren Mattocks of the Portland Timbers and midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson of the New England Revolution.
• Close to 60,000 tickets had been sold for the Gold Cup final, but with Mexico’s elimination the secondary market has been inundated with them.
• Two US players (Omar Gonzalez and Jordan Morris) and two Jamaica players (Darren Mattocks and Romario Williams) are tied for 2nd in goal scoring this tournament with two each.
• Unlike the quarter-finals and semi-finals, if the final is tied after 90 minutes, two full 15 minute halves will be played and then if it’s still tied there will be kicks from the mark.
When and where to find the game on US TV and streaming
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
9:50pm ET kickoff time
US TV and streaming: FOX Sports 1, Univision, Univision Deportes, DIRECTV NOW, FOX Soccer Match Pass, Sling Blue and fubo Premier (7-day free trial) [TICKETS]
Live from Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
USA leads 14-2-8
USA – 1
Jamaica – 0
Current FIFA Ranking
September 1, 2017
World Cup Qualifying
USA vs. Costa Rica
Red Bull Arena
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, Women’s World Cup, Euro 2024 & Gold Cup
The New Home of MLS
- Price: $14.99/mo. for MLS Season Pass
- Watch every MLS game including playoffs & Leagues Cup
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $9.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $12.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & FA Cup
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & Brasileirāo
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season