The 63,032 in attendance at the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California had very few nails remaining as the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup final approached the 87th minute.
With the game still locked at 1-1, LA Galaxy midfielder Gyasi Zardes’s decent ball from the right was smoothly slotted home by Seattle Saunders’ forward Jordan Morris to send the whole stadium absolutely crazy.
The 22-year old’s goal in the dying moments indeed proved to be the winning goal, and thus won the United States of America their 6th Gold Cup title. A valiant effort from the spirited Jamaicans was not enough to trounce the mighty Americanson their home soil this time.
The match was competitive from the start, with Jozy Altidore forcing Jamaican captain Andre Blake to a wonderful save in the 19th minute of the game. The rebound was also brilliantly stopped by the Jamaican number 1 of Kellyn Acosta.
It was however the semi final hero Jozy Altidore (again) who broke the deadlock for the hosts, right on the stroke of half time. The former Sunderland forward followed in the footsteps of Clint Dempsey from the semis, to curl in a brilliant right footer from a free-kick.
Pretty soon after the restart of play, Jamaica struck back. Semi final hero Kemar Lawrence’s curling corner kick from the right was slotted in by New England Revolution midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson to send the Levi’s Stadium to silence. The 33-year old took advantage of some poor defending on the parts of the American defence and got the better of Jordan Morris to slot in the corner kick unchallenged, 5 minutes into the start of play.
Clint Dempsey had a chance to surpass Landon Donovan as the all time leading scorer for the Stars and Stripes and win it for the US in the 75th minute. A brilliant cross from the left by full back Jorge Villafaña was smartly headed in by the US legend, only for Andre Blake to make probably the save of the tournament to deny him.
The US have been on a role since Bruce Arena took over from Jurgen Klinsmann as head coach in November last year. In addition to winning the Gold Cup, Michael Bradley and co. have been unbeaten in 14 matches ever since with 9 victories.
Roll of Honour:
Fair Play Award: USA
Golden Ball: Michael Bradley (USA)
Golden Boot: Alphonso Davies (Canada)
Golden Glove: Andre Blake (Jamaica)
Best Young Player: Alphonso Davies (Canada)
Photo by Ruth L