For the first time since 2011, the U.S. Men’s National Team will take on Mexico with all the Concacaf marbles on the line.
Despite a lengthy severe weather delay and some late pressure from Jamaica, a goal from Weston McKennie and two from Christian Pulisic were enough for the USMNT as they took down the Reggae Boyz 3-1 in Wednesday night’s Gold Cup semifinal in Nashville.
McKennie got the scoring started in the ninth minute as the USMNT played with a high tempo game. He collected a slight touch off Jozy Altidore’s foot before smashing the ball home for the opener.
The storms hit six minutes later and the game was delayed for an hour and a half as the teams waited for the lightning to clear the area. The restart was a little cagey and Jamaica was able to maintain a little more possession, but the USMNT never really lost control of things. They didn’t create much before the break, but they were firmly ahead 1-0 at halftime.
Pulisic’s goal came in the 52nd minute thanks to a wonderful setup from McKennie. The Schalke midfielder picked out a Jordan Morris run. Morris got a shot away, but Jamaica keeper Andre Blake was able make the save. Fortunately for the USMNT, Pulisic was darting into the box to bury the rebound.
Jamaica gained a little bit of momentum in the 69th minute when some passive USMNT defending allowed Shamar Nicholson to head home a cross from Leon Bailey. Nicholson managed to sneak into the box unmarked to provide an easy target for the winger and the finish was a simple one.
The atmosphere at Nissan Stadium was growing a little nervy when Pulisic showed up to settle things down in the 87th minute. He was once again in the right place to pick up a rebound off a Paul Arriola shot and knock it in to restore the two goal advantage and finish the 3-1 scoreline.
The victory sets up the first USA-Mexico Gold Cup Final since 2011 on Sunday at Chicago’s Soldier Field. The USMNT broke out to a 2-0 lead in that match, but eventually fell 4-2.