The Rundown: Takeaways From the USMNT’s 3-1 Gold Cup Semifinal Win vs. Jamaica
Another Goal for McKennie
Weston McKennie memorably burst on the USMNT scene by scoring in his debut match, a 1-1 draw with European Champions Portugal on Nov. 14, 2017. He returned to the scoresheet when he found the game’s only goal in the 1-0 quarterfinal win against Curaçao on Sunday.
Just three days later, McKennie again contributed the USA’s opening goal, making a late run into the box to convert in the ninth minute. The goal was the earliest the United States has scored in this edition of the tournament and settled a few nerves after a few previous chances went begging.
The team looked charged for another one until…
The Inclement Weather Delay
Looking for that second goal, the USA was forced to put things on hold when severe weather rolled into the Nashville area, initiating a delay in the game in the 16th minute that lasted for nearly an hour-and-a-half. The teams got back underway at 10:20 p.m. local time, and Jamaica picked up the pace until halftime.
Having regrouped after the break, the USA produced an important second goal when Pulisic cleaned up a rebound on Jordan Morris’ shot in the 52nd minute.
Shutout Streak Comes to An End
Aside from a lengthy 87-minute weather delay, the only blemish of the night was that the USA’s shutout streak ended at 483 minutes when Shamar Nicholson headed home Jamaica’s goal in the 69th minute.
The goal breathed some life back into Jamaica, but the USA dug deep and saw that an equalizer didn’t come. With Jamaica pushing forward, the team caught the Reggae Boyz out in transition, leading to Pulisic’s second strike that put the game on ice in the 87th minute.
Pulisic Man of the Match
For the second time in the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup, Christian Pulisic earned ussoccer.com Man of the Match honors, with his two goals serving as the difference in the win. Both goals came off rebounds, a variety of which USMNT fans aren’t necessarily used to seeing from the 20-year-old. It’s a part of his game that has been developed since early on.
“As a young kid, I always learned to follow up shots,” Pulisic said after the match. “There’s going to be rebounds for you and all goals count the same. I was in the right place at the right time twice and I was able to finish them.”
The brace was the third of Pulisic’s international career and moved him into a tie with Gyasi Zardes for the team’s joint scoring lead at the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup with three goals. Having been part of 22 goals in his international career (13 scored, nine assists), Pulisic has a current pace of 1.01 goals/assists per 90 minutes (1961 minutes played).
Sunday: A Relatively Big Day
Wednesday night’s result also sets up what could be a huge day for U.S. Soccer. Fresh off Tuesday’s 2-1 victory against England, the U.S. Women’s National Team will go for a record-setting fourth Women’s World Cup title when they face the Netherlands in Lyon, France on Sunday (10 a.m. ET; FOX, Telemundo).
Eleven hours later and seven time zones away, the region’s biggest rivalry will be on display when the USMNT takes on Mexico in search of its record-tying seventh Concacaf Gold Cup title just steps away from Soccer House at sold-out Soldier Field in Chicago (9 p.m. ET; FS1, Univision, UDN). The encounter will mark the sixth time the two Concacaf giants will meet in the tournament final, and while Mexico holds a 4-1-0 edge in those matches, the USA’s one championship win vs. El Trí came in 2007 at the same location that Sunday’s match will be held.
“The sport continues to grow in such a big way in our country, and I think we’re all so proud of that,” veteran midfielder Michael Bradley said post-game. “Tomorrow is July 4th, a few days later the Women’s Team will have a chance to win a World Cup. Everybody will be rooting for them, and we’ll be behind them every step of the way. When that game ends, everybody will have a few hours to regroup and get ready for another edition of USA-Mexico. It should be a great day.”