Much to the dismay of Jamaican soccer fans, the Reggae Boyz Gold Cup 2019 run came to an end early this morning, July 4, as the team lost to the USA 1-3 in their semi-final clash. The Reggae Boyz got to the last four after a 1-0 victory over Panama, while the United States of America beat Curacao by a similar margin to set up Wednesday's encounter.
Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie showed why they are the present and future of the US national team program, and Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley showed why they are still needed to help carry the program into the new era.
After FC Dallas academy product Weston McKennie scored during a flying start in the opening 15 minutes, a lightning delay of almost 90 minutes, combined with some already exhausted legs on short rest combined to produce a bruising, open but sometimes uneven final 75 minutes at Nissan Stadium.
The Americans will now oppose Mexico in Sunday's final at Soldier Field in Chicago, while the Reggae Boyz will head home today. "I think it's a good team, quality players, I think good team concept, a lot of intensity that they play with, and they can hurt teams". Weston McKennie timed his delayed run into the box to perfection, latching onto a cutback from Reggie Cannon and calmly side-footing his finish past Andre Blake. The two met at this same stage in 2015 with Jamaica defeating the United States of America 2-1, the first and only time since 2003 that the United States of America have failed to progress to the final. "We want to go one step forward and one step forward again".
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Pulisic made it 2-0 in the 52nd minute and Shamar Nicholson cut the deficit in the 69th.
Then it was Pulisic's chance to get on the scoresheet, and it proved to be the victor.
Substitute Gyasi Zardes squandered a golden chance to make it 3-0 moments later after being released by a superb first time McKennie pass, lashing his shot well wide. Paul Arriola and Morris were on the flanks, and Altidore was up top. McKennie played a slide-rule pass into the path of the Mercer Island native, whose first-time shot forced a hefty rebound from Blake, which Christian Pulisic pounced on for the game-winning goal. "I think it's going to be a great game".
But with time running out for the Reggae Boyz, Arriola's shot from distance was half-saved by Blake and Pulisic was once again on hand to bury the rebound and take his worldwide goals tally to 15 in 31 games. "I'd say we're critical of that".