It wouldn't be a Concacaf Gold Cup without a confrontation between the United States and Jamaica. The two nations have tussled in four of the five last tournaments, all in the Knockout Round.
They will go at it again in the quarterfinals at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Sunday at 10 p.m. ET (FS1, TUDN, Univision). The winner will play victor of the Qatar-El Salvador quarterfinal in the semifinals on Thursday, July 29 in Austin, Texas.
The Jamaicans have become a force to be reckoned with in Concacaf over the past quarter century.
The Reggae Boyz' greatest moments came in the late 1990's, when the team qualified for its first and only World Cup appearance at France ‘98. They accomplished that feat under the guidance of Brazilian Rene Simoes, who also guided the Brazilian Women's National Team to a silver medal finish at the 2004 Olympics, losing to the United States in the final.
In France, the Caribbean side finished with a 1-2-0 mark and in third place in Group H. Jamaica lost to Croatia, which went onto finish third in the competition, 3-1, in its opener and then to Argentina, 5-0. It bested Japan, 2-1, in Lyon, as current head coach Theodore Whitmore struck for a brace.
The Jamaicans have reached the Gold Cup finals twice, becoming the first Caribbean team to accomplish that feat. The Reggae Boyz lost 3-1 to Mexico in the 2015 final and 2-1 to the USA in the 2017 title match.
Jamaica has won the Caribbean Cup on six occasions (1991, 1998, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2014), while they have been runner-up three times.
USMNT HISTORY VS. JAMAICA
This is the 29th meeting between the teams with the USA leads the series, 17-3-8, outscoring the Reggae Boyz, 48-19.
They first met during a home-and-home series for the 1990 World Cup. After playing to a scoreless draw in Kingston on July 24, 1988, the Americans rolled to a 5-1 victory at St. Louis Soccer Park in St. Louis on Aug. 13.The USA holds a 5-1-0 advantage in the Gold Cup.
In the initial encounter on July 10, 1993, the USMNT edged Jamaica, 1-0, in the group stage at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas on Eric Wynalda's 67th-minute goal.
On July 16, 2005, DaMarcus Beasley bagged a brace and set up Josh Wolff's goal in a 3-1 quarterfinal win at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
On June 19, 2011, Jermaine Jones and Clint Dempsey contributed goals for the USMNT's 2-0 quarterfinal victory at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
On July 23, 2015, the Reggae Boyz stunned the Americans with a 2-1 semifinal result at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Darren Mattocks and Giles Barnes struck for Jamaica while Michael Bradley averted the shutout for the USA. It was the first time the USMNT lost to a Caribbean team on its soil since a defeat to Haiti during World Cup qualifying, a 1-0 defeat in San Diego on May 11, 1969.
On July 26, 2017, Jordan Morris snapped a 1-1 tie in the 89th minute to boost the USA to a 2-1 win in the final at Levi's Stadium in San Jose, Calif. Jozy Altidore had given the Americans a 45th-minute lead before Je-Vaughn Watson equalized five minutes later.
And on July 3, 2019, Christian Pulisic connected twice in the second half after Mark McKenzie scored in the ninth minute as the USMNT registered a 3-1 semifinal win in Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. Shamar Nicholson cut the lead to 2-1 in the 69th minute.
In their most recent meeting on March 25, 2021, the USA prevailed in a 4-1 international friendly win in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. Sergiño Dest set the pace with a first-half goal before Brenden Aaronson doubled the lead and Sebastian Lletget added two late goals. Jamal Lowe found the net for Jamaica.
These two teams will clash again during the final Concacaf round of FIFA World Cup qualifying for Qatar 2022. The Americans will host the Jamaicans in Austin on Oct. 7 and will play in the Caribbean Island in Kingston on Nov. 16.
Theodore Whitmore is a Jamaican soccer legend - as a player and coach. He is one of the national team's most capped players (120 appearances, 24 goals). A key member of the Reggae Boyz' lone World Cup appearance at France '98, Whitmore scored two goals in their only victory at the competition, a 2-1 win over Japan. He also was named Caribbean Player of the Year in 1998.
Whitmore, 48, played for Seba United during three tenures in Jamaica, and several other clubs on the Island. He also saw time with Hull City and Tranmere Rovers in England.
After retiring in 2006, Whitmore guided Seba United before taking the reins of the national team on four different occasions. He was named head coach twice and interim coach two times. Whitmore directed Jamaica to the 2017 Gold Cup final and into the 2019 semifinals. In 2018, he signed a four-year contract to coach the team.
Prior to the Gold Cup, Jamaica was winless in three matches (0-2-1) this year. They lost 4-1 to the USA in a friendly played in Wiener Neustadt, Austria on March 25, following that up with a 1-1 draw vs. Serbia on June 7 and a 4-0 defeat to the Japan Under-23 team in Tokyo on June 12.
The Jamaicans started out the Gold Cup on a winning note, registering victories in their opening two Group C contests before finishing with a 2-1-0 mark.
Shamar Nicholson and Bobby Decordova-Reid scored in the opening 26 minutes to boost the Caribbean side to a 2-0 win over Suriname in Orlando, Fla. on July 12.
Second-half substitute Junior Flemmings tallied in the 87th minute to lift Jamaica a 2-1 victory over Guadeloupe in Orlando, Fla. on July 16. Cory Burke had given the winners the lead in the 14th minute.
In a game that was delayed more than two hours because of inclement weather, Jamaica suffered a 1-0 loss to Costa Rica in the final group match on July 20. Costa Rican captain Bryan Ruiz's 53rd-minuute header decided matters. The Reggae Boyz played the final 18 minutes and stoppage time with a man advantage after Ticos goalkeeper Leonel Moreira was awarded a straight red card in the 72nd minute, but could not find the equalizer.
The Reggae Boyz roster is dominated by 13 players who compete overseas, mostly with English teams (eight). Five players perform for Major League Soccer clubs and another three for USL Championship sides.
The English-based players include goalkeeper Dillon Barnes (Queens Park Rangers), defenders Michael Hector (Fulham), Amari'i Bell (Luton Town), Liam Moore (Reading), Adrian Mariappa (Bristol City), midfielder Daniel Johnson (Preston North End) and forwards Bobby Decordova-Reid (Fulham) and Andre Gray (Watford).
Other overseas-based players include defender Damion Lowe (Al-Ittihad, Egypt), midfielders Blair Turgott (Östersund, Sweden) and Tyreek Magee (Eupen, Belgium) and forwards Leon Bailey (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany) and Shamar Nicholson (Charleroi, Belgium).
The Philadelphia Union is the most represented club squad with three players - goalkeeper Andre Blake, defender Alvas Powell and forward Cory Blake. Miami FC of the USL Championship has two players - midfielders Devon Williams and Lamar Walker, as does Charleroi (Belgium). Besides the Union, Jamaica also boasts players from the LA Galaxy (defender Oniel Fisher) and Toronto FC (defender Kemar Lawrence). Forward Junior Flemming performs for the Birmingham Legion (USL Championship).
Backup goalkeeper Dennis Taylor is the lone domestic-based player, playing for Humble Lions F.C. of the Jamaica National Premier League.