On a strange night in Nashville, Tennessee, the US men's national team beat Christian Pulisic 3-1 in the semi-finals of the 2019 Gold Cup against Jamaica. The Americans were far from satisfied, ending the game strong on Wednesday and heading to Mexico on Sunday in a highly anticipated final in Chicago.
In spurts, the Americans showed an élan and cohesion that speaks for more comfort coach Gregg Berhalter's system. Jozy Altidore showed what a high-caliber center-forward can mean to the team, and Reggie Cannon turned out to be a viable option for the right-back after a very good night. Pulisic showed again that this is his team.
– CONCACAF Gold Cup: Everything you need to know.
– Complete Schedule for Gold Cups.
Jamaica put the defensive into frailty, especially on long balls that strained the American back line. If the Reggae Boyz had only been a bit sharper in the last third, the result could have been very different. Obvious loss of concentration and the inability to connect passports from back to front made Jamaica have a chance to break.
Manager rating of 10
6 – Berhalter's task was hampered by the 1990s crisis. tiny weather delay that robbed the USMNT of the early momentum and allowed Jamaica to make tactical adjustments. Intervals in which the energy sank and the Americans did not exploit the advantage could lead to ambiguity in the midfield. Berhalter made the clever, pragmatic decision to replace Altidore and rescue him for Sunday's final.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 the best. Players featured after 70 minutes do not receive a rating)
GK Zack Steffen, 7 – Made three strong saves. Safe in the ball and in the distribution.
DF Reggie Cannon, 7 – Excellent on both sides of the field, minus some mistakes on the pass. Played the perfect one-off ball across McKennie's goal.
DF Aaron Long, 6 – Better than the two center-backs. Very good in the first half. He coped well with Jamaica's pace, but was fouled in the 55th minute by a foul on a Jamaican counterattack.
DF Matt Miazga, 5 – Fought for Jamaica's tactical shift with the distribution from the back. He turned the ball over before scoring the goal for Jamaica in the 69th minute.
DF Tim Ream, 5 – He worked hard to cope with the wing's rapid threats, but was often a step slower and overly hesitant. Leon Bailey could not close the gate of Jamaica.
MF Michael Bradley, 7 – Offers the US the platform to jump forward. Has Yeoman worked in defense and regularly braked Jamaica through the middle. Excellent forward play.
MF Jordan Morris 6 – Struggling to get involved in the first half, improved in the second 45th place to score the shot that led to the second goal in the USA. Too reactive in case of ball crashes.
MF Weston McKennie, 8 – Played deeper and more effectively than midfield, especially in late runs. Less influential defensive, but no liability.
MF Christian Pulisic, 9 – Another achievement that led the attack for the USMNT. Scored both goals after a rebound, but managed the second with a shot into the box.
MF Paul Arriola, 6 – Work performance good, but not as sharp as necessary. Well combinable with Pulisic. Forced the parade that led to Pulisic's rebound goal to postpone the game.
FW Jozy Altidore, 7 – Participated in most of the American quality assault attacks. Earned support for the first US goal. I came by to pick up passports and provide a starting point. Physical edge added on both sides of the ball.
FW Gyasi Zardes, 3 – Missed a gold-plated chance to postpone the game shortly after the kick-off. Failed to provide a high-quality hold-up game. Turn the ball over and lead to the gate of Jamaica.
MF Cristian Roldan, NR – Deploys to keep possession of the ball over the entire course of the game. Willingness to purposeful driving and scope for teammates.
DF Daniel Lovitz, NR – Defended in a short cameo. One step slow, but well recovered.