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For the third straight Gold Cup, the Jamaicans find themselves on the short end of the stick, by way of the United States. The Americans dominated seemingly all areas of the game, especially possession, as they had the ball nearly 67% of the time. Jamaica made it difficult to find the net all evening until Matthew Hoppe was able to head in a beautifully placed air ball by Cristian Roldan.
Hoppe’s 83rd minute goal was all the U.S. needed to squeak past Jamaica and find their way into the semifinals. There they will meet the hard charging Qataris who have really taken this tournament by storm. Without looking ahead to that matchup, let’s review the night the Americans had against Jamaica:
Kellyn Acosta Almost Costs A Goal
As I watched the game I lost count of how many times Acosta gave the ball away. Some of those costly turnovers allowed Jamaica to run free to the goal. Fortunately, goalie Matt Turner was able to fend off the barrage, holding strong on his streak of only allowing one goal the whole Gold Cup (which was a penalty).
Not only did Hoppe score the lone goal of the evening, but he was peppering the balls at Jamaican keeper Andre Blake. Twice he ripped shots off of volleys that Blake had to quickly reach to, or they would have been in the net. The ability to put shots on target will help him stay on the pitch going forward for this squad.
As the Gold Cup has progressed, the evolution of defender James Sands has done so in parallel. Each game he’s become more comfortable with the pressure of his opposition, especially against a pressing Jamaican squad. If he continues to impress against Qatar, he’s really going to give the staff something to think about going into next summer.
Quiet Night For Daryl Dike
The game really just never came to Dike as he couldn’t seem to find a good spot to slip past the defense. It’s not the end of the world, as he can learn from this performance and see where he could impact the game going forward. He should have better opportunities against Qatar as he can body them up and play as a target man in the semis.
Be sure to check out the U.S. in their semifinal match against Qatar on Thursday at 7 PM ET.