On a hot but less humid afternoon and evening in Philadelphia PA, the ConCaCaf Gold Cup Quarterfinals returned to Lincoln Financial Field. The opener featured Jamaica Vs Panama, while the night-cap pitted United States against Curacao.
26,233 Futbol fans saw Jamaica and USA score one goal, while keeping the other side scoreless.
Match One: Jamaica Vs Panama
Jamaica Starting XI 4-4-2
GK Andre Blake; Ds Michael Hector, Elvis Powell, Shaun Francis, Kemar Lawrence; MFs Damion Lowe, Je-vaughn Watson, Dever Orgill, Leon Bailey Fs Shamar Nicholson, Junior Flemings
Panama Starting XI:4-5-1
GK Luis Mejia; Ds Harold Cummings, Fidel Escobar, Roman Torres (C), Eric Davis, Michael Murillo; MFs Edgar Barcenas, Armando Cooper, Abdiel Arroyo, Alberto Quintero; F Gabriel Torres
This was a match that if it was not for the handball that lead to the only score, could easily have wound up with 30 minutes of extras and Penalty Kicks, as neither team showed any sign that they could put the ball in the net on a run of play.
At the half Panama had the stat lead of 5 shots to 3, with each team only one on goal, as well as the TOP 54.4 – 45.6. Jamaican GK Blake made some nice plays outside of the net to keep Panama from more dangerous chances.
The referee Mario Escobar did a good job of letting them play, while tamping down after some tough tackles.
Early in the second half he was forced to issue the first yellow of the match to Jamaica’s Hector for a hard tackle on Torres 49′
The half moved along pretty much like the first until in the 73′ a PK was called on Panama’s Murillo for a Hand Ball in the Box. It was an iffy call but his hand was clearly above his shoulder as the ball hit. Jamaica’s Darren Mattocks, who just subbed in, buried it 75′
The play got chippier as the match wound down as an obviously frustrated and pressing Panama team tried to get the equalizer, but it was not to be as the final whistle saw Jamaica moving on to the Semis, 1-Nil.
Michael Hector 49′
Damion Lowe 90′
Shamar Nicholson 90′
Édgar Bárcenas 86′
Darren Mattocks for Orgill 73′
Jamoi Topey for Nicholson 90′
Omar Browne for Gabriel Torres 60′
Rolando Blackburn for Quintero 84′
Valentín Pimentel for Armando Cooper 89′
Match 2 USA Vs Curacao
USA Starting XI: 4-5-1
GK Zack Steffen; Ds Nick Lima, Aaron Long, Tim Ream, Walker Zimmerman, MFs Michael Bradley, Paul Arriola, Weston McKennie, Christian Pulisic, Tlyer Boyd; F Gyasi Zardes
Curacao Starting XI: 4-4-2
GK Ely Room; Ds Juriën Gaari, Cuco Martina, Darryl Lachman, Ayrton Statie; MFs Leandro Bacuna, Elson Hooi, Shermaine Martina, Kenji Gorré; Fs Gevaro Nepomuceno, Jafar Arias
The US started quickly as Pulisic had a couple of good early chances in the 2′ and 4′
Curacao though did not let that bother them, as they had many rushes up the field, but could not really penetrate the US box,
Finally it was excellent ball movement that led to the US scoring first as McKennie headed in a beautiful cross from Pulisic to make it 1-0 USA. 25′
Despite conceding 5 corners and 7 shots, Steffen only had to make one semi-tough save as the US D kept the ball away from him. The US, while leading TOP 54.1 – 45.9 in the first half, only had the one corner kick, four shots, 2 on target, but still led where it counted, 1-Nil.
The second half saw Curacao stepping up their high press – something we are used to seeing in these parts by the Philadelphia Union. This led to many more chances by them as they eventually would go ahead in TOP 52.4 – 47.6, while teeing off on 15 shots, making Steffen work to make four more saves. The toughest one on Leandro Bacuna 84′
In the end, even with all the chances given, the US did what they had to do and held on for the second 1-Nil clean sheet of the quarterfinals, still not having given up a goal in this Gold Cup.
While he did not score Pulisic could easily be the man of the match as he assisted on the goal and had a few good chances. He was marked well by Curacao and drew a yellow card.
Shermaine Martina 30′
Elson Hooi 70′
Jordan Morris for Boyd 63′
Omar González for Arrriola 90′ +2′
Jurich Carolina for Statie Injury 68′
Gino van Kessel for Gorré 75′
Up Next: Semifinal round
Jamaica and the US will square off in what is sure to be a tightly marked and low scoring affair, that could easily go to extras and PKs. They each have MLS all-star quality GK’s and very good defenses, as we saw today.
This match will be played Wednesday night in Nashville Tn. at 9:00 PM. The winner of that match will play the winner of Haiti vs Mexico played on Tuesday night at 10 PM in Glendale Ca.
That final is on Sunday 7/7 at Soldier Field in Chicago Il. at 9 PM.