Defending champions the United States set up a blockbuster CONCACAF Gold Cup final against rivals Mexico after beating Jamaica 3-1.

Goals from Weston McKennie and Christian Pulisic sent USA through to Sunday's decider following a weather-interrupted semi-final in Nashville.

After McKennie's early opener, Wednesday's game was stopped for one-and-a-half hours due to lightning, but USA were not to be denied when the clash resumed in the 16th minute, with Pulisic doubling the lead seven minutes into the second half.

USA did concede their first goal of the tournament as Jamaica substitute Shamar Nicholson set up a nervy finale with 21 minutes remaining but Pulisic capitalised on another rebound to make sure of the result in the 87th minute.

It was a rematch of the 2017 final won by a Bruce Arena-led USA and the hosts burst out of the blocks and were relentless in attack, with Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake preventing a certain goal by somehow denying Paul Arriola from point-blank range in the fourth minute.

But USA were not to be denied five minutes later as Bradley picked out Reggie Cannon before Jozy Altidore laid the ball onto the oncoming McKennie, who fired past Blake.

However, USA's momentum was abruptly halted by a lengthy delay due to serve weather in 16th minute and the temporary suspension aided Jamaica.

Jamaica emerged from the delay with renewed energy and looked far more threatening, while the United States were disjoined and lacked rhythm.

The half-time interval provided USA with the chance to regroup and the Americans did just that as they moved 2-0 ahead through Chelsea-bound Pulisic in the 52nd minute.

Morris latched onto a McKennie pass and managed to get a shot off, with Blake only parried the ball straight into the path of Pulisic, who tucked away the rebound.

After Gyasi Zardes wasted a great chance for USA, Jamaica's Nicholson headed a Leon Bailey cross into the net to pull a goal back for the 2015 and 2017 runners-up, only for Pulisic to pounce on another rebound with three minutes remaining.

 

Another final for USA

After the pain of missing the 2018 World Cup, USA's rebuild under Berhalter continues to gather pace. Mexico stand in the way of back-to-back Gold Cup triumphs in the first final showdown between the nations since 2011.

Bradley, McKennie impress

It was a fine team display by USA. Not short of critics, veteran midfielder Bradley was cool and calm in possession with his passing a clear highlight. Schalke's McKennie, meanwhile, showed why he is so highly rated with a goal and a couple of defence-splitting balls.

Jamaica can hold heads high

For much of the game, Jamaica were outclassed. But the Reggae Boyz, despite limited resources compared to their USA counterparts, made it tough for the six-time champions just like they did in the 2017 final.

What's next?

USA will look to retain their crown again Mexico in Chicago on Sunday, while Jamaica can look ahead to the CONCACAF Nations League – starting against Antigua and Barbuda on September 6.

United States Manager Gregg Berhalter has plenty of respect for his team’s opposition in the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup Semifinals. It was none other than Jamaica who beat the U.S. 1-0 in a pre-tournament friendly in Washington D.C. back on June 5.

“We’ve been watching them and it’s a good team,” Berhalter said. “We see similarities in the way they played in Washington to the way they’ve been playing in this tournament.”

Berhalter broke down some of his studies on the Jamaica team.

“We know they’re not afraid to play for second balls,” said the coach. “They’ve got wingers coming inside to win second balls. They’ve got some good physicality and quality up top, with attacking midfielders who support the play.”

“They’ve got good counter-attacking quality, good speed up front, and a robust backline,” Berhalter continued. “We’ve been really looking at how we can break them down and do it efficiently.”

The U.S. and Jamaica have matched up in the semifinals or the final in the last two editions of the tournament, a 2-1 win for Jamaica in the 2015 Semifinal in Atlanta and a 2-1 win for the U.S. in the 2017 Final in Santa Clara, California.

Jozy Altidore, who scored one of the great Gold Cup goals in that 2017 Final, has played just once in this 2019 tournament. Berhalter was asked about Altidore’s status going into the semifinal.

“Jozy’s exactly where we need him to be,” Berhalter said.

When asked if that meant he was ready to play on Wednesday, Berhalter replied, “He’s been ready to play.”

Berhalter then concluded by saying that he already has his mind made up as far as his starting eleven against Jamaica is concerned.

The semifinal between the U.S. and Jamaica kicks off at 9:30 ET on Wednesday night at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.

Chairman of Jamaica’s Independent Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel Kent Pantry has been appointed as an arbitrator of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Pantry’s appointment is with immediate effect and is for a term of four years.

The United States will take on Jamaica at Nissan Stadium in Nashville on Wednesday night for a spot in the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup Final. 

The England Lionhearts, a powerful representative team from the amateur leagues in England landed in Jamaica on Monday, July 1, for a 14-day Tour of Jamaica.

Experienced campaigner Darren Mattocks held his nerve from the penalty spot to book Jamaica’s place in the semi-final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup as they triumphed 1-0 over Panama in a battle of attrition at the Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.

In a game that saw few quality chances created by either side, Mattocks came off the bench to first win the spot kick and then convert it in the 75th minute, sending Jamaica through to the final four for a third consecutive tournament.  Only minutes after on to the field Mattocks headed a hopeful long ball into the area off the outstretched arm of defender Michael Murillo.

After a brief dispute over who would take the spot kick, the forward wrested the ball away before placing it on the spot and firing past Panama goalkeeper Luis Mejia.  The goal was Mattock’s fifth overall in the competition.  With defenders dominating the play for most of the afternoon, Panama had missed a golden opportunity to take the lead when  Abdiel Arroyo broke through on goal but blasted a shot into the side netting at the near post from close range in the 26th minute.

The result will mean the Jamaicans will face the United States in the next round after the defending champions narrowly got by Curacao 1-0 in the day’s other game.

Jamaica international Kemar Lawrence has been named to the 2019 MLS All-Star ahead of a match against La Liga team Atletico Madrid next month.

The New York Red Bulls defender has been considered as one of the best wing backs in the league but never managed to secure the honour in three previous seasons.  The player went close last season, after being named to the Best XI team, but still missed out on selection for the All-Star squad.

Interestingly, the player has featured far less this season for the Red Bulls making only 8 in New York’s 17 MLS games.  Earlier this season, Lawrence missed six games due to an MCL injury and is currently on duty with the Jamaica national squad.  Despite playing limited games, however, the defender has shown plenty of quality during his time on the pitch.  The only four times The Metros racked clean sheets in the MLS the Jamaican took part in the match.

The 26-year-old, who was selected in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Best XI in 2017, has also been a steadying force for his national team at the current edition of the tournament.  Jamaica are scheduled to play against Panama on Sunday, with a spot in the Gold Cup semifinals up for grabs.

The world number-one sprint hurdler Janeek Brown has signed a professional contract with Puma and has gone pro.

She reportedly signed her contract last Thursday night, the same day of the start of Jamaica's national championships to select a team to the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

The 21-year-old Brown, a sophomore at the University of Arkansas set a world-leading 12.40s to win the 2019 NCAA title, setting a new Jamaican national record in the process.

However, she was unable to show her talents at the SVL/JAAA National Championships in Kingston on Sunday after the 100m final was aborted.

The former Wolmerian posted the news of her decision to join the professional ranks on Twitter Wednesday evening.

“Blessed is she who believes the Lord will fulfil his promise to her…I am professional,” she tweeted while thanking the coaching staff at Arkansas for their support in the two years she ran as an amateur.

Sportsmax.TV, however, has been reliably informed that she will remain in school.

Brown set world-leading times of 12.57 and 12.55 while representing Arkansas this past season before setting her national record time at the NCAA Championships in Texas in early June.

The Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) on Tuesday launched the third staging of the Sandals Resorts Under-19 cricket competition and academy at the Trelawny Multipurpose Stadium.

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz advanced to the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, despite a deeply frustrating 1-1 draw against Curacao, at the Banc of California Stadium on Tuesday night.

The result also saw the back-to-back finalists top Group C, a scenario that seemed very much under threat after a 90th-minute rocket from the boot of Jurien Gaari ensured the Jamaicans paid the price for their sinful profligacy.

Honduras, however, took their first points of the tournament with a 4-0 thrashing of rivals El Salvador and that ensured the Reggae Boyz were not overhauled on the final day.

Against Curacao, it was Shamar Nelson who gave the Jamaicans a 14th-minute lead.  After spurning an earlier opportunity to hit the target with a point-blank header, the forward purposefully redirected another wayward attempt from midfielder Andre Lewis into the back of the net.

 The Jamaicans would continue to be guilty of shocking wastefulness throughout the match, which invited a dogged Curacao to try and take something from the match late on.  The tiny nation eventually took up the invitation, with Gaari’s fierce blast flying past Andre Blake in the dying embers of the match.  In fact, the Reggae Boyz had another heart in mouth moment late on as substitute Elson Hooi missed another long-range shot by just inches, with virtually the last kick of the match.

Curacao also advanced to the knockout stage on goal difference, ahead of third place El Salvador after both teams finished on four points.  The Jamaicans topped the group with five.

Jamaica will play the runner-up of group D, either the United States or Panama, who are locked on six points ahead of their match on Wednesday, the U.S. with a vastly superior goal difference.

Curacao will meet the winner of Group D.

After earning its first-ever CONCACAF Gold Cup win, Curacao has its sights set on adding to its story as it faces Jamaica for a spot in the quarterfinals on Tuesday at Banc of California Stadium.

Curacao controls its destiny and needs only a win to assure itself a spot in the next round. A draw would have its players hoping for a Honduras win in the second match of the evening.

Not wanting to depend on outside results, Head Coach Remko Bicentini knows what his players must accomplish.

“We must win, we must score a goal. We cannot, the whole game, play in defence,” said the Curacao Manager in a pre-match press conference.

“We must score one more goal than Jamaica and we are through to the next round.”

Bicentini counts on a squad with 18 of his 23-man roster based in European leagues at the club level – the most of any squad in this year’s Gold Cup.

Forward Elson Hooi is one of eleven players who practice their club careers in the Netherlands. He scored his first two international goals against Jamaica in the 2017 Caribbean Cup final.

“For myself, the national team is more important than my own team so it means a lot,” said Hooi in Monday’s presser. “Our players are very happy. We worked so hard for this. Now we just stay together and work hard to win the third game.”

The two teams also met in Curacao’s first Gold Cup appearance two years ago, a tournament Bicentini continuously points to as a learning experience.

On Tuesday, the two Caribbean nations meet once more with high stakes on the line.

“The whole team from Jamaica is very powerful,” said Bicentini. “We learned from our first Gold Cup in 2017 and that was our preparation for this tournament.”

 Jamaica Head coach Theodore Whitmore is focused on one goal heading into Tuesday night’s match against Curacao at Banc of California Stadium - advancing to the knockout stage.

“If you look at the group, three teams have a chance to qualify for the next round,” Whitmore emphasized in Monday’s pre-match press conference. “It’s neither here nor there whether we win the group or are runner-up, the most important thing, right now, is to get out of the group.”

A win against Curacao will assure Jamaica advances to the knockout stage, but its place in the group could still depend on the result of the preceding match between Honduras and El Salvador.

“We can’t look on the Honduras-El Salvador game going forward, this is a must-win or at least for Jamaica get a point out of the game so we expect Curacao to come with everything at us,” said Whitmore.

“Well, no doubt about it, Curacao have quality in their team,” added the former Jamaican national team player. “We have a game to play tomorrow, we have a tough team to play against. We just have to go out there and put our best foot forward.”

Whitmore described his team’s attitude as positive and upbeat ahead of the pivotal clash. He also praised his players for the work done up until this point.

Leon Bailey and Michael Hector were brought up as injury concerns and are under watch for the upcoming match.

When asked about the upward progress of Concacaf teams, Whitmore pointed to the evolution of the region and why his team must not be overconfident with Curacao.

“Everybody has to be in tip-top shape,” said Whitmore. “We can’t take anything for granted, we can’t take anybody for granted because everybody’s evolved.”

Reigning Olympic champion Elaine Thompson was in imperious form as she completed the sprint double by claiming the women’s 200m title at the Jamaica National Championships on Sunday.

Thompson, who just edged out training partner and rival Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in the women’s 100m on the previous, did so in much more convincing fashion over double the distance.  On this occasion, Thompson pulled away from Fraser-Pryce down the stretch to stop the clock at 22.00.  Fraser-Pryce, who was also well clear of the field, finished second in 22.22, with Schillonie Calvert-Powell third in 22.92.

Fraser-Pryce was out of the block quickly to close ground on Thompson in the first 100m and held a slight lead coming off the turn.  Her MVP teammate, however, had plenty in reserve and pull clear of the rest of the field with relative ease.

In the men’s equivalent, Yohan Blake was denied the satisfaction of claiming a sprint double when he was passed on the line by Rasheed Dwyer.  Blake controlled the race for most of the way but it was a late charging Dwyer who claimed first place in 20.23.  Blake was second in 20.27 with Andre Ewers third in 20.48.  

Olympic bronze medallist Shericka Jackson looked a cut above the rest as she coasted to a big personal best to claim the women’s 400m title at the Jamaica National Championships on Sunday.

The 24-year-old crossed the line in 49.78, her best time in the event since she clocked 49.83 at the Rio Olympics.  Jackson finished well clear of second place Anastasia Le-Roy who caught and passed Stephenie-Ann McPherson on the line to take second place in 50.94.  McPherson was just behind in 51.01.

Jackson seemed to stay well within herself for the first 200m before beginning to blast away from the field at the midway point.  A struggling McPherson who tried to keep pace with Jackson faded toward the end and was caught on the line by Le-Roy.

“My main aim today was to have a little fun and get the best execution possible.  I think I did that and I got a personal best so I am happy,” Jackson said following the event.

“I was a bit surprised because at the Rome Diamond League I got a little cramped up so I was a little worried.  So I was really trying to keep calm and I delivered big so I am really happy,” she added.  

 In the men’s equivalent, Demish Gaye was also in full control as he clocked 44.83 to finish ahead of Terry Thomas, who was second in 45.47 and Javon Francis who was third in 45.60.

Jamaica Reggae Boyz goalkeeper Andre Blake insists the team must learn to adapt to all different types of conditions if they are to succeed in the ongoing CONCACAF Gold Cup.

With one game remaining in Group C, the Jamaicans, who have appeared in the last two finals, find themselves on 4 points following a lacklustre 0-0 draw against El Salvador in the team’s latest fixture. 

The Jamaicans, who top the group on goals scored, will consider themselves favourites to advance with a match against Curacao in their final match.  Despite finding themselves in such a strong position, the team has, however, been criticized in some quarters for their play so far, particularly against a defensive El Salvador in sweltering conditions on Friday.

“Obviously we would have wanted three points to secure our spot in the next round, but it's football and they came out to sit back and play on the counter and sometimes it's tough to play in games like those when they are getting everybody behind the ball, and it's hard to break them down in situations like those,” Blake told the Jamaica Observer.  The player, however, insisted the conditions were not an excuse.

“It was hot, it was humid, Jamaica was hot just the same, but both teams were playing in the same conditions, so I'm not going to say that's the reason for anything. Obviously, we wished it would have been a little cooler, but that was not the case and we have to learn to deal with different weather conditions and I don't think we looked as tired as we did in the game in Jamaica, so we dealt with it.”

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