Romario Williams

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Jamaica 2-1 Canada: Reggae Boyz reach 2nd straight Gold Cup semifinals

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Two years after their stunning finals appearance, Jamaica is back into the Gold Cup semifinals after holding off Junior Hoilett and Canada 2-1.

Shaun Francis put Jamaica in front just five minutes into the match, as Darren Mattocks expertly cut back to the far side of the box where Francis was trailing the play, and the Montreal Impact full-back put the Reggae Boyz in front.

There was no more action until past the halftime break. Jamaica doubled its lead thanks to a superb strike by Romario Williams, who leaned back and rifled one off the hands of goalkeeper Milan Borjan and into the top corner.

Darren Mattocks got his second assist of the game on the goal with his little nudge backwards to Williams at the top of the box.

The two-goal cushion wouldn’t last long, however, as the fireworks show continued. Now, it was Canada’s turn to put on a show as Junior Hoilett stunned the crowd with a long-distance curler from even further outside the box than Williams’ just 11 minutes earlier.

That would do it for the scoring, although the show wasn’t completely over. With just 15 minutes left, Hoilett unleashed another would-be stunner, but Andre Blake matched the shot with a spectacular save, getting his fingertips to the shot to keep it out.

Blake was critical down the stretch to squelch any chances Canada had late as they pushed for an equalizer. The Reggae Boyz held on to reach the semifinal, where they will take on either Mexico or Honduras.

Report: Atlanta United to sign Jamaican attacker Romario Williams

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Atlanta has already made some big splashes this offseason as the club prepares to join MLS in 2017, but the Eastern Conference side could be adding another attacker to its already deep bunch.

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According to Metro New York, Atlanta is poised to sign Jamaican international Romario Williams, who was originally drafted to MLS in 2015 by the Montreal Impact.

Williams will reportedly be exchanged for allocation money after having made just two senior appearances for the Impact since joining the club two seasons ago. The 22-year-old has spent two separate loan spells in USL with FC Montreal and more recently with the Charleston Battery.

In 2016, Williams netted 10 goals in 27 appearances for the Battery.

In addition to his club duties, Williams has represented Jamaica at the Under-17 and U-23 teams before reaching senior team in 2016.

VOTE: Which of the strikers taken 1-2-3 in the MLS SuperDraft will have the best career? (video)

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So silky Canadian striker Cyle Larin may’ve gone first as expected, but the trio of attackers to go 1-2-3 raises an interesting question.

When it’s all said and done, which player will have the best career: Cyle Larin (ORL), Khiry Shelton (NYC) or Romario Williams (MTL)?

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Drafted strikers don’t need to come and set the league ablaze, but in recent years we’ve seen that the quality general makes itself known. Tesho Akindele surged late last year for FC Dallas and Deshorn Brown netted 10 times for Colorado in 2013, and guys who take a few years like Dom Dwyer and Ethan Finlay might be an exception to the rule.

If you got it, you show it.

So with two expansion teams and lowly Montreal adding these strikers, they’ll get their opportunities to shine. But which will have the best career? Let’s go to the tape:

Cyle Larin, Orlando City SC (UCONN)

You’ll see the Brampton, Ontario, native net with both pegs and his head here. While he won’t have nearly as much time against MLS defense, the 6’2″ man has a wide frame that can help his learning curve.

Khiry Shelton, New York City FC (Oregon State)

Shelton is a bad, bad man. He has tremendous pace, good height (6’3″) and isn’t averse to passing up a chance to give a teammate a better one.

Romario Williams, Montreal Impact (UCF)

Having represented Jamaica at youth levels, Williams might be the smallest of the bunch but he possesses a knack for finding the net from whatever angle.

So….

Consensus No. 1 pick Larin headlines five-man Generation Adidas class

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The MLS SuperDraft begins in one week, and five players stock increased with their naming in the 2015 Generation Adidas class.

One player whose stock likely didn’t need much increasing is Connecticut striker Cyle Larin. The 20-year-old Canadian sophomore scored 23 goals in his two years for the Huskies and will likely be selected first overall (Orlando City SC holds the pick).

Generation Adidas players generally earn higher salaries that do not count against their club’s budget, and also receive further college scholarships since they are underclassmen and forego the rest of the eligibility.

[ REPORT: Altidore pricing himself out of NYRB move ]

Joining Larin are midfielders Cristian Roldan of Washington and Romario Williams of Central Florida, as well as defender Conor Donovan of NC State and goalkeeper Alex Bono of Syracuse.

Bono led the way for the Orange’s surprising and historic NCAA tournament run as part of a stingy defense, while Donovan is a US U-20 player leaving the Wolfpack after his freshman year. Williams is a two-time all-conference attacker coming off a 7-goal season, while Roldan has 10 goals in two years.

The MLS Combine begins on Friday.