Gold Cup Final Preview: Mexico and Jamaica battle for shot at Confederations Cup

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If Jamaica thought taking on the United States in the semifinals of the 2015 Gold Cup was a David vs. Goliath battle, they have an ant vs elephant matchup in taking on Mexico in the finals from Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

The Jamaicans weathered an attacking storm against the United States, but they’ll have to take on the villified Mexican squad that will have massive home-field advantage and have been the recipients of a number of generous refereeing decisions.

The winner gets the opportunity for a shot at the 2017 Confederations Cup in a playoff against the U.S. in October. Conspiracy theorists will have a ball as CONCACAF would surely prefer a Mexico vs United States playoff, but that won’t stop the defensively sound Reggae Boyz.

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Head coach Winfried Schäfer has revolutionized this team into an organized, compact unit that rarely leaks at the back. After an impressive Copa America appearance where they frustrated Argentina and Uruguay, the United States pummeled their back line and still came up nearly empty. Wes Morgan was phenomenal in the air, and Mexico will be ill-advised to attempt the same cross-heavy attacking game-plan that failed their neighbors to the north in Atlanta.

However, for all their defensive abilities, Jamaica must still find a way forward. They weathered a U.S. attack that couldn’t finish, but it’s unlikely they would survive a repeat of that match. Set-pieces are their strength, and it will likely come down to those again. In addition, goalkeeper Andre Blake must be better, having made nine saves against the U.S. but nearly all of those he spilled before collecting.

[ MORE: All of PST’s Gold Cup coverage

Jamaica has plenty to go up against, but Mexico has some adversity as well. They’ve played the entire tournament without Javier Hernandez – and it’s showed – but now they’ll miss Carlos Vela due to yellow card accumulation, serving to sap it’s already thin attack even further.

There are two likely results on Sunday: either Mexico’s luck runs out and, like the United States, their poor performances catch up to them against Jamaica’s brick wall; or El Tri turns things around and Jamaica is helpless to stop a rejuvenated squad galvanized by its villainous casting it didn’t ask for but now must embrace. Things are sure to be feisty either way.

Real Monarchs beat Louisville City to win first ever USL Cup

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Real Monarchs scored three unanswered goals as they routed Louisville City 3-1 at Lynn Stadium to win their first ever USL Cup title.

Noah Powder’s goal in the 66th minute sealed the deal for the visitor’s, adding to the goals scored by defenders Erik Holt and Konrad Plewa in the first half.

Surprisingly enough, it was Lou City who got off to a superb start on Sunday night, though.

Only six minutes after the initial whistle, Lou City’s leading goalscorer, Magnus Rasmussen, scored the game’s first goal, breaking a record for the fastest goal in a USL Cup final.

The defeat brings an end to Lou City’s historic run of consecutive USL Cup-winning seasons.

On July 1, former Real Salt Lake defender, Jamison Olave, took over as the Monarchs interim coach following Martin Vasquez’s unexpected resignation.

Man arrested after English soccer player reports homophobia

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TRANMERE, England — A footballer in England’s third tier reported being subjected to homophobic abuse from the stands, leading to police making one arrest.

Wycombe goalkeeper Ryan Allsop told the referee of the abuse at halftime of the League One soccer game at Tranmere as his team won 2-0.

Tranmere says it is very disappointed to learn of a homophobic comment made.

In a statement, Merseyside Police condemned abhorrent incidents.

Police Chief Inspector Jason Crellin added that “hate crime has no place in our communities, and not least at a showcase sporting event attended and watched by many people.”

Brazil beat Mexico to win U-17 World Cup (video)

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Brazil became Under-17 world champions for a fourth time in dramatic fashion as Lazaro Vinicius Marques’ scored a 93rd-minute winner to edge Mexico 2-1 at Estadio Bezerrão on Sunday.

Brazil’s comeback started in the 84th minute when Kaio Jorge converted from the penalty spot, following VAR’s decision which ruled contact on the tournament’s Golden Ball winner, Gabriel Veron, inside the 18-yard box.

With Brazilian legends Ronaldo and Cafu in attendance, the host’s had the better of chances throughout the first 45 minutes. Without any luck, however, Brazil were unable to get the ball past Eduardo Garcia, instead hitting the bar on several occasions.

Then in the 66th minute, Mexico – winners of the tournament in 2005 and in 2011 – stunned the home crowd when Bronze Ball winner Eugenio Pizzoto’s cross into the box was headed into the back of the net by Bryan Alonso Gonzalez Olivan, breaking the deadlock between two sides that had met in the same game back in 2005.

What was going to be a stunning, underdog victory for El Tri, turned into a heartbreaking night for Marco “Chima” Ruiz and company.

Brazil, on the other hand, are now only one championship away from tying Nigeria’s record of five championships.

EURO qualifying wrap: France, Iceland, Turkey earn wins

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With their tickets already booked to next summer’s big tournament, France and Turkey picked up wins in Sunday’s Euro qualifying action, which saw defending champions Portugal clinch qualification.

[ READ: Defending champions Portugal qualify to EURO 2020 ]


Albania 0-2 France

Albania opened their new, 22,500-seat stadium with a hard-fought loss against France.

Early on, Bayern Munich’s Corentin Tolisso gave the impression that the home fans were in for a long night at the inaugurating Air Albania Stadium, opening the score just eight minutes in with a well-placed header. In the 31st minute, an unfamiliar face, Leo Dubois, connected with Antoine Griezmann, who slotted the ball into the bottom-right corner. France finish the qualifiers leaders of Group H with 25 points. Throughout the 10 matches, the world champions lost only once, a 2-0 loss against Turkey.

Andorra 0-2 Turkey

Real Valladolid’s Enes Unal scored a first-half brace as Turkey coasted past Andorra 2-0. Turkey, who clinched a spot next summer after finishing Group H two points behind France, controlled possession and chances at goal.

Moldova 1-2 Iceland

Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson scored the visitor’s second and winning goal in the second half, as Iceland walked away from Zimbru Stadium with a 2-1 win on Sunday.

With 19 points throughout 10 games, Rúnar Kristinsson and company felt five points short of qualifying directly for next year’s competition. That said, they’ll partake in the Euro 2020 playoffs, looking to squeeze their way in.

Elsewhere

Luxembourg 0-2 Portugal

Serbia 2-2 Ukraine

Kosovo 0-4 England

Bulgaria 1-0 Czech Republic