Darren Mattocks and Giles Barnes netted minutes apart to give Jamaica a 2-0 lead in the 36th minute, and Michael Bradley’s second-half goal was all the USMNT could manage in flaming out of the Gold Cup on Wednesday in Atlanta.
[ MORE: U.S. player ratings ]
Jamaica becomes the first Caribbean team to make a Gold Cup final, stopping the U.S. in their quest to go to a sixth-straight final.
Now the United States will be forced to contend a playoff match with the tournament winner for a berth in the 2017 Confederations Cup.
[ MORE: Tim Howard confirms USMNT return date ]
The U.S. controlled possession off the kickoff and quickly won a corner that came to nothing.
The next real chance came when Kyle Beckerman made a needless sliding foul on Rodolph Austin about 20 yards out from goal, but a Wes Morgan foul short-circuited the Jamaican chance.
Je-Vaughn Watson had a rip from distance after the U.S. had trouble clearing an 11th minute corner kick, but it moved wide of the far post.
The USMNT found a bit of good fortune when a shaky Ale Bedoya troubled his touch during a solid build-up, but that allowed Fabian Johnson to bomb forward, pick up the ball in the 18 and win a corner. That beget another corner, which Jamaica sent to midfield.
Johannsson and Bradley worked well to provide Zardes a chance outside the 18 in the 24th minute, but the L.A. Galaxy youngster blasted over goal.
The AZ striker took a ball off Ryan Thompson’s foot on the doorstep, but poked the loose ball wide. Moments later, Thompson danced into the box before his shot forced Johnston into a diving save.
Then, Guzan was victimized by Mattocks. The Jamaican leapt in front of Brooks and flicked a header over the too-advanced U.S. keeper to make it 1-0 in the 32nd minute.
Guzan then gifted Giles Barnes a free kick on the edge of the 18 when he carried his distribution just past the line, and the linesman whistled it. It’s a call that’s rarely made, but it was correct by the letter of the law. Barnes buried it past Guzan to make it 2-0.
At the other end, Thompson kept it clean with a sliding stop of Clint Dempsey just before halftime.
There were no changes for either side at halftime, and it paid off for the States as Thompson committed a goalkeeping error of his own. The Pittsburgh Riverhounds keeper fumbled Johannsson’s shot and Dempsey pushed the ball free for Bradley to bury. 2-1.
Johannsson won a dangerous free kick for the States, dead center and just outside the 18. Dempsey’s free kick was right to Thompson and parried point blank to Johannsson, who headed over the goal from close range.
Five minutes later, Bradley tore into knuckling shot that hit Thompson’s chest and the post before going out for a throw. Then Dempsey had a shot deflected out for a corner that wouldn’t produce an equalizer.
Zardes lifted an in-tight shot over the goal. Then Thompson stifled Brooks’ header of a long Evans throw. Thompson stopped sub Alan Gordon in the 78th minute. Could Jamaica hold on to become the first Caribbean team to make the Gold Cup final?
Yes. The Yanks could not make their way through the tightly-packed Jamaican defense, and the upset was complete.
USMNT: Guzan; Evans, Alvarado, Brooks, Johnson; Bradley, Beckerman (Diskerud, 68′); Zardes, Dempsey, Bedoya (Yedlin, 78′); Johannsson (Gordon, 73′)
Goal: Bradley (49′)
Jamaica: Thompson; Lawrence, Hector, Morgan, Mariappa; McAnuff, Watson, Austin, McCleary (Grant, 90+3′); Mattocks (Dawkins, 57′), Barnes (Humphrey, 85′).
Goals: Mattocks (31′), Barnes (35′)