Atlanta - Jamaica's "Reggae Boyz" delivered
defending champion United States a humbling 2-1 defeat Wednesday, becoming the
first Caribbean squad to reach the Gold Cup final by shocking the heavily
After Jamaican defenders disrupted US attacks for the first
half hour, Darren Mattocks nodded home the first goal in the 31st minute and
and Giles Barnes scored on a free kick in the 36th -- set up by a controversial
violation on US goalkeeper Brad Guzan -- to put Jamaica ahead 2-0 and signal an
epic upset was in the making at the sold-out Georgia Dome.
US captain Michael Bradley answered in the 48th minute but
the Americans never managed an equalizer against the stubborn Caribbean
backline and lost to a Jamaican side that was 1-13 with eight drawn in their
"We made history by getting into the final. It shows
what this team is capable of," Barnes said.
"We've shocked a few people along the way but we've not
shocked ourselves. We don't fear anybody. We put out a great team."
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On Sunday in Philadelphia, Jamaica will play for the crown
against six-time champion Mexico, which edged Panama 2-1 in the other
semi-final of the biennial North American regional football championship.
"We cannot have a party now. We still have one more
match," Jamaican coach Winfried Schaefer said. "Bob Marley comes
after the match."
In Jamaica, the late reggae legend's music might be playing
all day and night until the match.
"Just incredible. The feeling right now is just
insane," Barnes said. "The phone hasn't stopped. Back in Jamaica
there's got to be a party on. It will be even bigger when we lift the Cup on
The five-time champion Americans had won their past five
Gold Cup semi-finals but were undone by a Jamaican side that matched its best
runs in 1993 and 1998 just to make the last four. It was the first Caribbean
semi-finalist since Guadeloupe in 2007.
- Bitter pill for USA -
"The team is disappointed," US coach Jurgen
Klinsmann said. "I cannot complain about the performance of the team. They
kept pushing, pushing, pushing. We had enough chances. We had enough chances to
put three, four, five in there and we didn't do it and that's why we lost.
"Congratulations to Jamaica on making the final and we
have to swallow that pill."
A long throw from the left side found Mattocks, who
outleaped two defenders and headed the ball in off the far post, and the second
goal came off a free kick set up when Guzan was whistled for a throw with his
foot outside the area.
"In all of my years of being professional, I don't
think I've seen that call," Guzan said. "Especially since seeing a
still image of it -- maybe (it was) an inch or two."
Bradley called it "a head scratcher," adding,
"You don't see it very often. It's not a call that I would be making if I
were a referee."
Barnes curved a free kick from just outside the penalty area
over the wall and into the upper right corner of the goal.
The US scored when Aron Johannsson blasted a shot that
Jamaican goalkeeper Ryan Thompson stopped but couldn't keep in his grasp. Clint
Dempsey followed and spilled over prone Thompson as the ball came loose and an
onrushing Bradley buried it into the back of the net.
From there it was a case of missed opportunities.
Johannsson fired a free kick in the 51st minute that
Thompson could not fully grip but Johannsson headed the rebound over the
crossbar. In the 57th, Bradley fired a hard outside shot that bounced off
Thompson's chest, deflected off the goalpost to his right and out of danger.
"The luck was not with us but maybe we were not
clinical enough as well," Klinsmann said. "We saw a lot of good stuff
but it's the goals that matter."
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