Two years ago, Mexico and Jamaica met in the Gold Cup final, a match that proved to be nothing all that close for the Reggae Boyz. They were merely happy to be in the finale, having beaten the United States in the semifinals in one of the biggest wins in the nation's history. Now, the Jamaicans have their eye on the prize that slipped through their hands in Philadelphia. The task of beating El Tri in Pasadena, though, is one that is nothing short on unenviable.
This Gold Cup duel will go down Sunday, July 23, 2017, at 9 p.m. ET at Rose Bowl Stadium. The match will be televised live on FOX Sports 1.
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Mexico hasn't looked the part of a stellar team throughout the Gold Cup, and with Juan Carlos Osorio again left suspended for the rest of this tournament, there could be even more disconcerting efforts here against the Jamaicans. Sure, Mexico will be favored, as it definitely should be based off of its blunt skill alone, but Jamaica is going to be a live underdog for sure.
How They Got Here
Mexico made it clear on Thursday night in Glendale that a 1-0 lead in the early going is going to be one which it won't have a problem sitting on. This has consistently been an issue for El Tri over the course of the last several years. They rest on their laurels and hope that a rather drab, boring and uninspiring style of play where they maintain the ball for long stretches will get the job done. It did against Honduras in the quarterfinals of this tournament, and that keeps the Mexicans unbeaten in four fixtures.
The story of Jamaica's 2-1 win over Canada in the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup can't be told by the stat sheet. Canada held possession for over 60 minutes in the fixture, and it managed to outshoot the Reggae Boyz 19-8 over the course of the game.
But much like Jamaica's match last year in Atlanta against the United States, it took a relatively early lead, doubled that lead right around halftime, and hung on tight from there.
There were so many great moments for Jamaica in that quarterfinal tie, far more than what you would think from Shaun Francis' and Romario Williams' goals. Andre Blake was once again stellar in net, and he remains really the only tremendous player on the Jamaican roster who can be counted upon every single step of the way. He cracked when he allowed Junior Hoillet's 61st minute goal, but with the 2-0 cushion, that safety net came in awfully handy.
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Can Jamaica really do this again? This has been one of the more surprising teams in the tourney, not even so much due to the fact that it's here in the semifinals, but that it is continuing to defy the odds against the best teams it runs up against. This, of course, is the toughest test of the bunch, even after drawing against Mexico in the group stage.
If that first match taught us nothing else, it's that Jamaica is very comfortable in its own skin, playing behind the ball and counting on the best keeper in this tournament outside of maybe Tim Howard keeping things organized at the back.
Goals are going to be few and far between for sure in this one, and we can't help but wonder if this time around, it's going to be the Reggae Boyz who get the best of the Mexicans to move into the Gold Cup final for the second straight tourney.
Gold Cup Odds: Jamaica 1, Mexico 0
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