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USMNT downs Jamaica, sets up Gold Cup final against Mexico

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.


  1. By qualifying next Spring
    I know it’s highly unlikely all of them will be healthy by then.

    • I think that given the lack of an international quality left backs (and probably right back) that a 3 back setup could work for the US. Of course, that requires the wingers be able to get back so it is more of a back 5 when the US is under pressure. I am not sure Weah is ready for that, or Boyd for that matter.

      Because Adams is such a different player than Bradley, I think it will be some time before that transition looks good and I expect people to be expressing dismay at it. Still, it is a change (at least the aging out of Bradley) will come.

      Adams works well in the high pressure system that both Red Bull NY and Leipzig employ, it is not clear his talents at a CB are a match for the system GB is implementing or if GB will change the system to fit the talent.

  2. Here is the US lineup for the T&T WC qualifier the US lost 2-1.
    Tim Howard; DeAndre Yedlin, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, Jorge Villafaña (Kellyn Acosta 72’); Michael Bradley, Paul Arriola (Clint Dempsey 46’), Darlington Nagbe (Benny Feilhaber 85’), Christian Pulisic; Bobby Wood, Jozy Altidore.
    There were only 4 players who are on the current CG roster, yet GB was faulted for not making enough changes. Go figure.

    • This is nitpicking I’m not meaning to be a jerk, but that’s 5. Pulisic Arriola Bradley Omar and Altidore. I think the issues people have is less in number though and more in who. Bradley and Altidore were big ones, Jozy unfortunately always has been a menace with Toronto and when in a USA shirt has frequently looked disinterested and minimal effort, basically only effort is if he has a ball, won’t close down passing lanes or anything defensively won’t chase won’t make runs, and Bradley with the whole sir jogs a lot thing. I think most never wanted them again after the t&t debacle but the main issue is we need someone young to say hey that’s my spot now. I’m fairness I think with all players “healthy” Tyler Adams absolutely does lay claim to that spot but will be used as rb so Bradley can still play and will Trapp still has a handle to see the field

      • Here’s what people are missing the Adams hybrid role is absolutely not designed to keep Tradley on the pitch. Think about where Bradley has been playing then think of the space that Cannon/Lima have been playing. Then Adams talents aren’t going to be best used out wide so we’ll tuck him inside. I don’t know if we’ll ever see it again but it was always designed around Wes, Christian, and Tyler (they really need a nickname).

  3. – We should be thankful Bradley is still playing because right now, because it is a steep drop to the next in line in Wil Trapp. Trapp is just too soft to be playing at the international level. One has to assume Berhalter has noticed and will look to position someone in that slot before WCQ starts.
    – Here’s hoping Bobby Wood rebounds this upcoming season to give us an option behind Altidore. Zardes is fine for MLS, but not at the caliber needed for international play. Sargent is still to inexperienced to fill in this slot just yet.
    – I recall Morris having several offers from Bundesliga clubs a few years back, and he turned them all down to stay with MLS. It looks like his game has reached a plateau.

    • If Berhalter decides to play Adams there instead of RB where we have a number of good options, Adams will be more than a suitable replacement for Bradley.

      • Agree. CDM has become one of our top areas of concern, not because we don’t have some talented players who can fill that role, but because Berhalter insists on playing either Bradley (too slow) or Trap (too soft). Meanwhile, RB seems to be a position of depth with Yedlin, Lima and now Cannon.

  4. Some will never be satisfied.
    The knee jerking comments crack me up.

    Pre-tourney, bc of two friendlies, the sky was falling and we werent going to beat T&T.

    Per Stu Holden (and Gladiator), “are you not entertained?!”

    Great game, havent seen us pin a team back in the beginning of a game like that, in a long time. That weather break was a shame, i think we would,have had a blow out type lead into the half. Jamaica def adjusted itself.

    Jozy vs Zardes – i think the debates over. Saw a drastic diff. when zardes came on and we lost the middle a bit.

    Here we are, where we should be. Final vs Mexico. From what ive seen of Mexicos RB, with the gotee, CP will prob run circles around him.

    Happy 4th everyone, U-S-A!

  5. Cannon should be in Europe. Could def see him being EPL or Bundesliga level. He is better than Chandler in my opinion. Cannon can proably handle playing in more variety of climate than Chandler.

  6. Not bashing MB but he is so slow and he gets a pass for making a few plays but getting exposed on so many others. IF U put Tyler Adams there a whole different game. It seems like GGG has gone away from that RB/CM hybrid role so hopefully when Adams is healthy he will take over Bradley’s role.

    • You have to be blind to fail to see that Bradley won more tackles than not and that he cleared at least 2 corners, one of which was on the path to an attacker in a great position to head the ball in. Also, he played his usual role in maintaining possession by being available for teammates who were under pressure. He is still the only US player who does that consistently.
      He tracked back with Mattocks who had a head start on him and while he did not catch him, he stayed a half step behind and forced Mattocks into Miazga who pretty easily won the ball. Bradley might be “slow” but he is hardly a tortoise. I would agree his quickness in tight spaces is less than stellar, but his job is to relieve pressure by passing, not to dribble under pressure,
      So yes calling him slow and claiming he makes few positive contributions is pretty much bashing.

      • He also got ran down by opponents and had bad give aways. I’m not saying he is terrible but Adams should be in his spot when healthy. Don’t take my opinion as he shouldn’t be starting because I would rather him start than Trapp. I just think in this tournament he has been exposed more than he has in the past.

      • Ok lets stop the back in forth debate, who would u rather have at your number 6, an aging player who plays in MLS with 100 plus caps or a 20 yr old champions league player in this meaningless tournament for the future. That’s all i am saying, I am looking at the future with this team. If healthy Adams should be the number 6

    • I don’t think there is anyone that wants Bradley around long term. This idea that he’s being “exposed”, is just hyperbole, Jamaica wasn’t a constantly targeting him, he was breaking up plays consistently and everyone whose seen him play the last two years knows he’s not fast. Did he have a couple turnovers and get the bell tackled away? Yes, and so did everyone else in the match.
      I don’t know that the hybrid role is out if Adams is available, we’ve only seen that for 90 minutes. This could allow Holmes at the 8/10 and let McKennie take over for Bradley.
      Playing in a central position has allowed CP to pop up all over the pitch making him hard to mark out. He and Arriola interchange so well. Would be interested to see if he and Boyd could play on the same side.
      Sargent needs a loan if he isn’t going to play at a Bremen.

      • I am not saying he was the only one with bad give aways but what I am trying to say they can’t hang on to a player just because what he has done in the past. I agree for him to be on this roster and starting but when Adams is healthy that should be Adams role.

      • Or McKennie can slide there, Adams can play the hybrid and Pomykal or Holmes can play next to Pulisic.
        I am concerned about integrating new players without a long camp like this.

    • I don’t think there is anyone that wants Bradley around long term. This idea that he’s being “exposed”, is just hyperbole, Jamaica wasn’t a constantly targeting him, he was breaking up plays consistently and everyone whose seen him play the last two years knows he’s not fast. Did he have a couple turnovers and get the bell tackled away? Yes, and so did everyone else in the match.
      I don’t know that the hybrid role is out if Adams is available, we’ve seen that for 90 minutes,

      • Adams is a much different player than Bradley. In club play, they occupy similar spots on the field, but they do different things. If/when Adams starts for the USMNT in the place of Bradley, the entire team will have to make adjustments. That could be good or bad and the next couple years will shine the light on how different the team performs with one versus the other.

        I fully expect the first couple games w/o Bradley and with Adams in that role that it will not be as pretty as many would like, but after some adjustment it might be better. The Gold Cup was never the time to learn that;I think GB got that right and hence his repositioning of Adams to the RB/RM role

      • HAHAHAHAHAHAHA……Here we go again with the Michael Bradley is the best CM we have comments
        “Adams is a much different player than Bradley”
        “Also, he played his usual role in maintaining possession by being available for teammates who were under pressure. He is still the only US player who does that consistently”

        What does the Central Midfielder do? TO THOROUGHLY understand that though Michael Bradley played well but is not suppose to be in that position in the first place, we first need to understand the role of the CENTRAL MIDFIELDER

        They link defense and attack (that we all know). They literally strengthen the team in its core and are characterized by constantly being in position to receive and pass the ball. In addition to a number of defensive tasks, they lead the offensive game-play after receiving the ball from the center backs. The number #6s are suppose to control the ATTACK like a Quarterback and play a key role in the implementation of their team’s game plan (AND WE WONDER WHY THE USMNT ARE TOOTHLESS). The modern central midfielder stands out due to high total distance covered and a lot of EXPLOSIVE SPRINTS (Key word EXPLOSIVE!!!!). His significant role in the combination play is reflected by a high number of passes played (AND BACK PASSING DOESN’T COUNT), which makes him the offensive leader of a team.
        The scientific data clearly shows that central midfielders are characterized by highly developed PASSING SKILLS (the ONLY SKILL BRADLEY HAS). The central position on the pitch ALSO requires explosiveness (and again he is EXTREMELY SLOW), which will allow the player to release into open space immediately after playing a pass and therefore supporting the attack. Explosiveness is also of great use after an intercepted pass as it will help the midfielder to immediately switch to counter-pressing or alternatively to move back to a defensive position

        Five Key traits of a Central Midfielder
        Explosiveness – COVERED -HE LACKS THAT
        Passing Ability. The center midfielder must make short passes on the ground, long passes over the heads of the forwards, and passes to the corner flag for wingers to run onto (THATS ALL HE CAN DO – ONE DIMENSIONAL).
        Ball Control – Good center midfielders can receive the ball well and keep the ball close to their body, away from defenders (HE LACKS THAT)
        Dribbling – Good center midfielders can dribble into open space, turn well, and beat players (HE LACKS THAT)
        Shooting Ability – Good center midfielders can finish that means shoot well, pass the ball to a teammate, run towards goal, receive and control a return pass etc (THE BRADLEY OF OLD YES…..NOT THIS ONE. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME HE SCORED A GOAL OR TESTED A GK???)
        Shielding Ability – A good center midfielder can shield the ball when dribbling; they are able to turn, shield, then pass to a defender (WEAK AND ALWAYS HURRIED OFF THE BALL – HE LACKS THAT)

        Players BETTER at this particular craft than Michael Bradley at CM/DM:
        Weston McKennie (20) – Bundesliga
        Tyler Adams (20) – Bundesliga
        Alfredo Morales – Bundesliga
        Darlington Nagbe (28) – Dynamic MLS team
        JUST TO NAME A FEW…..

        Bradley and Altidore are part of the weakest link associated with US Soccer (yes Zardes and Trapp included too – hence the word “part off”) and as long as they are one the field, MLS and USL players from other countries will ALWAYS have a chance against the slow USMNT midfield, because all it takes is a quick one-dimensional player to beat a slow one-dimensional player

      • Nate,
        are you comparing Pirlo to Michael Bradley and Trapp ???…

        “….bizzy thinks that pirlo wasn’t a good center mid….because Bradley sucks as a Center mid hahahahahaha, Wow (there is a reason those two will never play in any other league than MLS, BECAUSE THEY LACK PHYSICAL AND MENTAL SPEED OF THE GAME ?)??? Pirlo and Bradley in the same sentence HAHAHAHA ?????? Just because “speed” works for Raheem Sterling or Kylian Mbappé does not mean it WILL work for David Accam ???…..there has to be “SKILL” somewhere in the mix

      • Buzzy- Absolutely no one said Bradley is our best CM or that he’s a good option a year from know, plus he isn’t playing CM he’s playing DM, which in Berhalter’s plan requires different traits than you listed. Also Nate didn’t say Bradley=Pirlo, he’s just pointing out Pirlo didn’t meet your criteria for CMs either.

      • …..MB sucks even more as a DM. hahahahaha, He has never been known for his defensive qualities or abilities, furthermore he is too slow and cannot defend against the likes of Jamaica or Curacao let alone if we are trying to EVOLVE and play with the big boys. As far as Pirlo, he has ALL OF THESE TRAITS…..which reinforces my point about MB on the team ???

        Passing Ability.
        Ball Control
        Shooting Ability
        Shielding Ability

        hahahaha, Please watch the video (or WHO EVER thinks Pirlo doesnt have the traits of a CM?)

  7. It would have been interesting to see the first halfplay out without the lighting delay. At that point, the US had 64% of the possession and was flying. It was the most cohesive and proactive playing we’ve seen in the past 2 years. I wasn’t surprised we came out flat after the weather delay and Jamaica was looking rejuvenated.

    I’ve been wanting MB retired for a while, but I thought he played pretty decent last night. His biggest contribution is his 40-yard balls to shift the point of attack. But his lack of speed continues to be a huge liability. Unfortunately, his back up is Trap, so we need Bradley to hang in there for one more game.

    I’m not a huge Jozy fan, but his play is so superior to Zardes, it’s shocking. As soon as he was subbed off, we looked like a different team. And Zardes just seemed lost out there.

    I don’t get starting Morris over Boyd. He contributed very little during his shift on either side of the ball. Sure hope Boyd gets the start for final.

    I hadn’t seen Cannon play much before, but I thought he did quite well. Certainly deserves more looks until Yedlin returns (assuming Adams moves to CM when Bradley announces his retirement…)

    • Agree on all 4 points. As soon as someone can replace Bradley they should. Lots of people think Adams would do that, but he is a much different player than Bradley so it would not be a like-for-like replacement, the team dynamic would be changed quite a bit. That might be a good thing, but until it actually happens we will not know.
      Similarly Altidore needs a replacement, but there are even fewer replacements for him than there are for Bradley.
      I do not get the inclusion of Morris; it is true he got off a decent shot that Pulisic finished off, but his defense is awful and most of the time he looked lost out there.
      Cannon looked great getting forward and defensively, he was the reason Jamaica moved Boyd from his preferred left side to the right. (That and that Ream is slower.)

  8. That was the best performance in years by a USMNT. They passed the ball to each other; pulisic attacked individually; the defense was solid. Yes there was a let down after the delay, but the first 15 minutes was like an entirely different mood, feel and intensity. Hopefully this can continue and is not just a once off

  9. Maybe this is nit picking, but I felt like this game could have and should have been put away much earlier and been a much more comfortable win. The terrible miss by Zardes was inexcusable unless he slipped. The replay was inconclusive, but he didn’t need to blast it. He was so open he could have passed the ball into the net. Secondly, when they go to a possession game to kill the game off, their intensity level drops way off and they end up turning the ball over, much too easily, giving the opponent plenty of opportunities for a comeback. The way Jamaica was throwing numbers forward, I think the US could have scored a couple of goals, but instead they chose to pull the ball back instead of attacking. Too often when they did attack the final pass was bad. It just seemed like that third goal by Pulisic was there for the taking most of the second half and they could have even added another if they had maintained their intensity and attacked when they had the chance. A good result, but I just had the feeling that it could have been considerably better.

    • Zardes was a big part of that let down. Jamaica knew everytime the ball went to him it was going to be a turnover.

    • Not to mention that they should have buried about 3 goals before Mckennie scored.
      Overall a pretty fun game to watch, the chess match between coaches shifting their defensive shape, but we’ve gotta be deadlier in front of goal.
      Wonder who gets the start vs Mexico at RB, RCB, and RW.
      Cannon looked like he belonged, Morris was almost invisible much of the game, and Miazga didn’t have his best showing. (I bet he starts Omar)
      Still a few shaky times playing out of the back.. Didn’t seem like everyone was on the same page a few times.. And I’m sure Tata sees that.
      I guess Scott Norwood was helping Zardes prep for this match..

    • Gary, I think without that weather delay it probably would have been. Reality is yesterday was basically two separate matches. The U.S. won both.

  10. Quick Thoughts:
    -Sorry if you can’t see Bradley and Altidore should be starting on this squad you are not actually watching the game. (Still would love Bradley to retire from international soccer after Sunday)
    -Morris is so bad defensively, he’s out of position a lot and struggles to ever get into it. Before the goal hadn’t contributed much to the offense either.
    -I thought Roldan looked good at RW especially in a with a lead looked much more comfortable than at CM.
    – Cannon looked very comfortable.
    – I really hope Wagner plays McKennie as a CM all season because he could be really really good.


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