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USA shocked by Jamaica in Gold Cup semifinals

Jurgen Klinsmann's team should have rolled over Jamaica but the team lost a 2-1 semifinal.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s team should have rolled over Jamaica but the team lost a 2-1 semifinal.

In stunning fashion, the US men’s soccer team is out of the CONCACAF Gold Cup after a 2-1 loss to Jamaica in the semifinals. Jamaica, the 76th-ranked team in FIFA with only one World Cup appearance in their history, beat the federation power-house that is the USA.

In the 31st minute Darren Mattocks headed a cross into the goal. Coming off his head the ball hit the far post but bounced in and rolled over the line. Then, just five minutes later Giles Barnes put a free kick directly into the goal to give the Jamaicans an improbable 2-0 lead at the break.

It was an awful start for the Americans, whose defense at times in this Gold Cup has looked very suspect. While not having Tim Howard certainly hurts them, Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan should have been better. He did make some big saves in the tournament but he was also caught out of position far too often.

Also, considering the USA likes to sit defensive midfielder Kyle Beckerman right above their two centerbacks for an extra defensive presence, giving up two goals to the Jamaicans is indefensible. Beckerman was issued a yellow card in the 32nd minute and was the first American subbed out when they went for a more offensive look with Mix Diskerud in the 66th minute.

In the 48th minute, USA finally got on the board when Michael Bradley stormed in for a cleanup goal. Aron Johansson rocketed a shot at the goal from the top of the box. It was directly at the Jamaican goalkeeper Ryan Thompson but Clint Dempsey ran in as he was trying to handle the ball, knocked it loose and Bradley ran up and blooped it into the net.

Just about two minutes later, USA had a great opportunity to score the equalizer. Johansson picked up a foul and Bradley’s free kick was punched out by Thompson. Johansson was right there to head the knocked ball into the goal but it went over the net.

In the 57th minute, Bradley perfectly placed a corner in front of the goal for there to be a play but while the ball was loose on the ground John Brooks kicked it right at the goalkeeper in front of him instead of to the wide open space on the left side of the goal.

USA kept the pressure on. In the 56th minute, Bradley ripped a long shot at the goal, a good attempt, but the Jamaican goalkeeper dove at the last second and it bounced off his chest and off the post.

But despite the American pressure, they would never get the tying goal. After going up 2-0, Jamaica moved their guys back to sell-out on defense and went even tighter in the back after the Americans scored their goal after halftime. It appeared to wear USA down too because near the end of the game they settled too much for getting the ball back to the goalkeeper in an offense re-set instead of making a push toward the goal.

Even though USA did win Group A, outside of their dominant quarterfinal victory over Cuba the Americans did not have a good showing in the tournament, especially not on the defensive side. That alone has to be a reflection on the coaching.

Jurgen Klinsmann has been very vocal against Americans playing in the MLS and ironically, two MLS players scored against his defense. A defense that featured a Premier League goalkeeper that just looked lost and a Bundesliga centerback in John Brooks that keeps making simple mistakes. The two best players on the team, Dempsey and Bradley, are MLS stars. It is also a wonder why DeAndre Yedlin was only used off the bench and in the midfield when he is a very good right back and was recently signed by Tottenham.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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