U.S. men’s national soccer team coach Bruce Arena became the first coach to win three Gold Cups when the U.S. beat Jamaica Wednesday night 2-1 adding to Arena’s many milestones.
Even though Arena was pleased with winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup title, he believes the team has work ahead of them to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The team will play qualifying matches in September and October.
Jordan Morris, who entered the Gold Cup with only two goals in international play, scored his most important one during the 88th minute on Wednesday after collecting a loose ball near the penalty area and blasting a shot past Dwayne Miller the Jamaican goalkeeper.
The ball came from a cross that was headed away by a Jamaican defender, but bounced off Clint Dempsey’s leg right to the foot of Morris who did not squander his opportunity to give the U.S. a 2-1 lead, with just minutes to play.
The Cup title was the sixth for the U.S. Morris has now won a Gold Cup, an NCAA title with Stanford and the MLS Cup with Seattle.
Jamaica lost its starting keeper Andre Blake in the 19th minute to injury but battled hard throughout the match only to see their chance of a Cinderella ending, lost when Morris scored late in the match.
Blake was voted the top keeper for the tournament with 3 shutouts and only giving up a total of 2 goals. However he was injured after Kellyn Acosta a midfielder for the U.S. kicked him in the hand during a scramble for the ball near the front of the net.
Blake was sprawled on the turf for a number of minutes prior to slowly walking to the sideline with a finger that required stitches to close a deep gash.
Jozy Altidore scored first for the U.S. just before the first half ended on a free kick that even Blake likely could not have stopped.
Jamaica leveled the score five minutes after the break when Je-Vaughn Watson beat U.S. keeper Tim Howard after taking a corner kicker from Kemar Lawrence.
That goal was the first and last Howard allowed in the tournament.
The loss was the second straight Gold Cup finals loss for the Jamaicans but their progress is showing after suffering through a few years of poor play.