Being an American site whose readership celebrates USMNT coverage, we’ve dealt with the U.S. side of Wednesday’s Gold Cup Final in Santa Clara.
Yet the opponent is truly staring down history with little to no expectations. Jamaica enters its second-straight Gold Cup Final also hoping to put one leg in the 2021 Confederations Cup in Qatar.
[ MORE: Gold Cup Final preview ]
The Reggae Boyz are 8:1 underdogs against the United States tonight, and that figure would likely be even bolder if the U.S. was performing to its capabilities. Jamaica enters the game with red-hot Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Andre Blake, a half-dozen MLS players, and the rest of its roster comprised of Jamaican-based or lower-tier U.S. club players.
And as for leaving players behind, as the U.S. clearly did for this tournament, this is not a Jamaican team boasting Premier League players Wes Morgan, Adrian Mariappa, and Michael Hector. Consider that manager Theodore Whitmore has qualified for a final with a far less impressive-looking roster than the one that fell to Mexico in 2015. That tournament roster had only six players from outside the MLS, the Premier League, and the English Football League system.
Jamaica boasted third- and fourth-place finishes in 1993 and 1998, and remains the only team from the Caribbean Football Union to make it to a final. It has a chance to become just the fourth Gold Cup winner in 14 tournaments (Mexico has seven, the USMNT five, and Canada won the 2000 tournament).
Jamaica’s ELO rating is 66th in the world. It’s FIFA ranking is 113, behind Cuba, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Haiti. Behind Antigua and Barbuda.
To win this tournament, whatever you think of the Gold Cup, would be an amazing achievement. But what Whitmore has done in calmly guiding his men to this point is already remarkable. That he’s done it like he’s been there before is even more laudable.