After 24 matches which produced a total of 51 goals (2.13 per match), the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup is into its final stage and will feature hosts, USA against Jamaica.
Road to final:
UNITED STATES – Grouped alongside Panama, Nicaragua, and Martinique.
They were the number one candidate tipped to finish as group winners – a feat which was made manifest following their performance albeit starting on shaking grounds. Their campaign began with a surprise (1-1) draw against Panama, and then a (3-2) win against Martinique, before a solid (3-0) win in the final game against Nicaragua to finish top of Group B. In the Quarter-final, it was a familiar foe in Panama, this time they edged the tie (1-0), before dispatching Costa Rica (2-0) in the semi-final.
JAMAICA – Grouped alongside El Salvador, Curaçao, and Mexico.
The reggae boyz began their campaign with a (2-0) ease past Curaçao, before a (0-0) score line against Mexico and (1-1) draw in the final group tie with El Salvador. They defeated Canada (2-1) in the Quarter-final which setup a Group C re-match in the semis against Mexico. An 88th minute strike from Kemar Lawrence was enough to eliminate the defending champions.
Heading into their 10th Gold Cup final, there’s a lot of pressure on Bruce Arena’s side; a defeat would be bitter pill to swallow for the locals who believe the reggae boyz shouldn’t be hard nuts to crack. This would be Jamaica’s second final in two years after finishing as Runner-up in the 2015 edition. A complete contrast when compared to their opposition who are five time champions.
Players to Watch:
Clint Dempsey (USA) > The experienced leg hasn’t played too many fixtures lately for the ‘The Stars and Stripes’ but his presence always counts when he’s introduced.
Romario Williams (Jamaica) > The Charleston Battery forward has been responsible for helping the team pull the chestnut out of the fire’ all tournament long. If the USA defenders fall short in their duties on Wednesday, he’d likely add to his two tournament goals.
The final would be played at Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, on July 26, 2017.
My Prediction: USA 2-0 Jamaica
Picture Credit: AP’
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