Mexico picked the right time to put in its first comprehensive performance of the 2015 Gold Cup against a quality opponent.
After becoming the beneficiary of some friendly decisions to reach the finals, El Tri looked solid defensively and dangerous up front despite a thin squad thanks to injuries and suspensions, and swarmed past Jamaica 3-0 behind goals from Andres Guardado, Jesus Corona, and Oribe Peralta. The win sets up an October showdown with the United States for a spot in the Confederations Cup.
The first 10 minutes had a very CONCACAF feel to it, with Mexico holding much of the possession but unable to unlock Jamaica’s final third. The Carribbean nation had an early set-piece that Randolph Austin sent just wide.
As Jamaica built themselves onto the ball, the game opened up slightly, but Mexico grabbed back the advantage by the half-hour mark with Oribe Peralta sending a shot just wide of the top corner. The referee, looking to keep hold of the game, showed three yellow cards inside the first 30 minutes – two of which to Jamaica midfielders.
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Then, just past 30 minutes after Austin earned his yellow, Mexico broke through. The free-kick went out wide to Jesus Duenas who swung in a cross to a wide-open Guardado at the back post. The Mexican captain needed just one touch – a poke with the left foot – to blast the ball into the top corner leaving Ryan Thompson with no chance.
The goal for Mexico ended a run of 270 minutes without a goal from open play. As the second-half progressed, things remained chippy, and Austin was lucky to remain on the field after 40 minutes having scythed down Francisco Rodriguez.
Mexico took their 1-0 lead into halftime, and they got off to a dream start in the second half. Jesus Corona won the ball in the Jamaica half and burst towards goal, beating Wes Morgan and firing a low shot into the opposite corner to double Mexico’s lead less than two minutes into the second half.
Jamaica brought on Whitecaps striker Darren Mattocks on the hour mark looking for some attacking help, but they would be stunned moments later. A failed clearance by Michael Hector went back to El Tri, and Paul Aguilar sent in a cross from the right that went through the legs of Hector and fell to Oribe Peralta who struck home Mexico’s third.
Mattocks would make a difference, scoring with 10 minutes remaining to ruin the clean sheet, but it wasn’t enough for Jamaica to get back into the game.
The title is Mexico’s seventh Gold Cup championship, the most in the tournament’s history and two more than the United States. El Tri has won three of the last four tournaments, and remain a stellar 6-1 in Gold Cup finals. Jamaica put in a valiant effort, but the Carribbean nation failed to break the U.S.-Mexico chokehold on the tournament, as the last nation other than the two CONCACAF giants to win the Gold Cup remains Canada back in 2000.
Mexico: Ochoa; Rodriguez, Reyes, Layun, Alanis, Aguilar; J. dos Santos, Guardado (Torres 62′), Duenas (Orozco 86′), Corona (Esquivel 82′); Peralta.
Goals – Guardado 31′, Corona 47′, Peralta 61′
Jamaica: Thompson; Hector, Morgan, Mariappa, Lawrence; McAnuff, Watson (Seaton 90′), Austin, McCleary (Mattocks 60′); Barnes, Dawkins (Humphrey 74′).
Goals – Mattocks 80′