The U.S. Men’s National Team is back in the Gold Cup final after finishing a disappointing fourth in the 2015 tournament. Their opponent? Jamaica, the team that knocked them out of the 2015 tournament in the semifinals. As the players get set to take the pitch tonight at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, here’s what you need to know.READ MORE: Science of Weather: Sea Life Michigan Turtles
How They Got Here: USA
The Americans have run off three consecutive shutouts against Nicaraugua (3-0), El Salvador (2-0), and Costa Rica (2-0). Bruce Arena’s side had some squirrely moments in the first two games of the group stage as they tied Panama (1-1) and barely squeaked by a weak Martinique side 3-2. Since, they’ve recorded 270 minutes of shutout soccer and look to be in good form. In the Costa Rica match, Clint Dempsey tied the all-time record for international goals by an USMNT player on a beautifully taken free kick in the waning stages of the game.
The goal was the 57th of Dempsey’s career, tying him with Landon Donovan for the all-time mark. It came after he set up the first goal of the game with a perfectly placed pass to Jozy Altidore. He’ll look to try and break that record against Jamaica tonight.
How They Got Here: Jamaica
You may be surprised to see Jamaica here, but maybe you shouldn’t be at this point. Consider that this is their second consecutive Gold Cup final, and that they have given up just two goals in their five games to this point. After getting out of the group stage, they beat Canada in the quarterfinal 2-1 and then faced off with Mexico for the second time in the tournament (they were in the same group).READ MORE: Motown Museum Set To Reopen This Weekend With Expansion Project Near Completion
In the semi-final, it took until the 88th minute for someone to break through and it was thanks to Kemar Lawrence, like Dempsey, delivering on a free kick.
Jamaica shut out Mexico in both games they played in the tournament. With just two goals allowed in five games, the defensive performances have been impressive.
The U.S. is 14-2-8 (wins, losses, draws) all-time against the Jamaican national team across all forms of international play. In the Gold Cup itself, the Americans hold a 3-1 edge, but as previously mentioned, they lost the last time the two met on the Gold Cup stage. In that match, a 2-1 victory for Jamaica, Darren Mattocks and Giles Barnes tallied for Jamaica as they stunned the Americans in front of their home fans in Atlanta.
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Time: 9:30 pm ET