The script has been flipped from 2015. Two years ago, Jamaica upset the United States in the semifinals of the Gold Cup in what was effectively the beginning of the end for Jurgen Klinsmann as the coach of the USMNT. Now, Jamaica has upset Mexico in the Gold Cup semifinals in what will probably signal the beginning of the end (or the end of the end) for Juan Carlos Osorio.
Two years ago, the Jamaicans ran out of gas in the finale and lost out on the Gold Cup to Mexico. Now, they'll have to see if they can find one last push in the Gold Cup Final on Wednesday night against the Yanks.
Don't miss the Gold Cup action from Levi's Stadium at 9:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Catch every moment of the match live on FOX Sports 1.
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Jamaica was over a 6 to 1 underdog against Mexico in the semifinal and came up with the huge victory. The Reggae Boyz won't be underdogs by quite as much against the United States on Wednesday night in all likelihood, but the margin is going to be fairly large. The Americans have looked the part of a great team since the reinforcements came in for the knockout rounds of this event, and they'll be comfy favorites to ultimately hoist the Gold Cup for the first time since 2013.
How They Got Here
Bruce Arena won't be happy if this tournament doesn't end in triumph for the Americans, but he has to be thrilled with the way his team has played in these two knockout round fixtures. The match against El Salvador was a complete no-contest in spite of the modest 2-0 score line. That fixture could have easily resulted in a 5-0 win for the Yanks had their finishing been better.
Clint Dempsey saved the day against Costa Rica. He came off the bench and finished the job with a goal in the dying stages of a 2-0. Jozy Altidore was fantastic as well with his goal 10 minutes beforehand. Los Ticos put up a valiant fight, but when the chips were on the table, it was the American ringers who came up huge to push them into the finale.
Jamaica has made no bones about what it is here in the Gold Cup. Its possession has been rare throughout this event. Sure, the Jamaicans played well against Curacao in the opening fixture of its tournament, but since then, they haven't won the possession battle against anyone, including against Canada in the quarterfinals in a 2-1 victory.
But the real coup de grace came against Mexico. After playing to a 0-0 draw in the group stage, the Reggae Boyz put El Tri down thanks to a brilliant Kemar Lawrence free kick that got past Jose Corona in the 88th minute. It was a dramatic ending to a match that easily could have gone either way, and it will go down as one of the biggest goals in the history of Jamaican soccer.
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The script has been so similar from 2015 to 2017, and we have a hunch that it's going to play out this way in the finale as well.
The Americans just look completely different with Altidore up front and Michael Bradley again captaining the roster. They haven't had a particularly tough road to get to this point, but this isn't the toughest final in the world either.
If nothing else, we suspect the USA will have learned its lesson: This Jamaican team can play.
But there's only so long that you can keep allowing pressure before that pressure tells, and we can't see the United States failing to score as Mexico did against this team twice.
Gold Cup Odds: USA 2, Jamaica 0
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