It all comes down to Wednesday night in California. The United States men’s national team and surprise finalist Jamaica play in the 2017 Gold Cup final. The U.S. advanced after beating Costa Rica in the semifinals, while the Reggae Boyz shocked the region on Sunday night, upsetting pre-cup favorite Mexico.
How to watch
When: Wednesday at 9:50 p.m. ET
Where: Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California
TV: FS1 and Univision
Online Coverage: live2watchtv(Free)
Paid Stream: fuboTV and Fox Sports GO (Both Need Subscription)
Three Big Storylines:
The United States put together easily their best performance of the Gold Cup in their decisive 2-0 win over Costa Rica in the semi-final. Jordan Morris got the start while Clint Dempsey came off the bench. Morris almost had a dream start as he hit the post with a shot 12 seconds into the game. Dempsey subbed into the game in the 66th minute and provided the assist to Jozy Altidore’s opening goal in the 72nd minute. Ten minutes later it was Dempsey scoring off a free kick to seal a place in the final and equal Landon Donovan’s all time USMNT goal-scoring record. Donovan was working on the television broadcast, giving an immediate congratulations on tying the record even asking in jest if Dempsey was done so they could share the record.
Jamaica upset Mexico 1-0 in the semi-final to get to their second straight Gold Cup final. In 2015 it was the USMNT they upset in the semi-final before losing to Mexico 3-1 in the final. Jamaica is looking to become the first Caribbean nation to win the Gold Cup. Jamaica has settled into a classic 4-4-2 bunker formation, defending as a 4-4-1-1, and will leave the Portland Timbers Darren Mattocks up top to counter attack at speed. Expect the USMNT to have the majority of possession but how those transitions play out will be the key to who takes home the Gold Cup trophy. Andre Blake has been immense in goal for Jamaica and will easily be the tournament MVP if Jamaica can pull the upset.
If the rosters for both teams look familiar, it is because they are heavily influenced by MLS. 17 of the 23 USMNT players currently play in MLS while only two, Eric Lichaj and Joe Corona, did not start their career in MLS. Jamaica has 9 players in the Jamaican domestic league, 8 players in MLS and 4 more in US Soccer’s second tier (USL & NASL).
From a Sounders Point of View: Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris should both feature in the game for the USMNT. Oniel Fisher started and played all but 25 minutes for Jamaica in the group stage but has not seen the field in the knockout rounds. It appears Fisher has been a lineup victim of Jamaica moving to the full bunker and counter 4-4-2 plan instead of the more open three man midfield they played in the group stage.
John Strong will be on the call alongside Landon Donovan and Stu Holden as in game analysts. Jenny Taft will be the sideline reporter.
Rob Stone anchors studio coverage live from a field-level set at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., alongside Alexi Lalas, Aly Wagner and Fernando Fiore