Gold Cup

Gold Cup Final Recap: Jamaica 1-3 Mexico

Photo: Earl Gardner

On the back of their best performance of the tournament, and a couple of serious defensive errors, Mexico made easy work of Jamaica in the Gold Cup final on Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field, claiming a 3-1 victory. Goals from Andres Guardado, Jesus Corona, and Oribe Peralta had the Mexicans flying high and insured not only a comfortable tournament win, but also passage to a playoff with the United States on October 9 for a berth in the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.

After an opening phase of Jamaican control, Mexico roared to life midway through the first half, overpowering Rodolph Austin and Je-Vaughn Watson in the center of the pitch and limiting the influence of Jamaica’s speedy wide players. By the time Guardado smashed home a side-footed volley in the 31st minute, Mexico were already comfortably in the ascendancy.

Down only a goal at the break, Jamaica looked to regroup and find an equalizer, but they never had that chance as less than two minutes into the second half, Michael Hector’s clumsy turnover in his defensive third derailed his side. After seemingly snuffing out a promising Mexico attack, Hector could not dig the ball out of his feet under pressure from Peralta. Corona wasted no time accepting the gift and pounced on the loose ball, driving forward before powering a low drive past Ryan Thompson inside of the far post.

Already down a pair of goals, any hope of a Jamaican fight back was truly dashed in the 60th minute when Hector swung and missed at a clearance inside his box, leaving Peralta with the simplest of finishes past a bewildered Thompson.

From there, Mexico knew that only the final scoreline was in doubt, as both Miguel Layun and Paul Aguilar went close, only to be denied by Thompson at close range.

Jamaican substitute Darren Mattocks provided a consolation goal when he got free in the 80th minute, cutting onto his right foot in the box and finishing beyond Guillermo Ochoa. But, with little energy left in reserve, it was a brief blip in an otherwise clean performance from the now 7-time Gold Cup champion Mexicans.

Final Thoughts

Hard to read

From an American perspective, it is hard to take too much from this match. After stuttering through the group stage, the quarterfinals, and the semi, Mexico put together by far their most composed performance of the tournament. For Jamaica, it was the exact opposite. Austin and Watson were no where near as potent in the center of the park, and the damage done by Hector’s mistakes was plain to see. Perhaps the victory over the US took everything out of Jamaica? Perhaps they were overawed by the occasion of their first trip to a Gold Cup final? But, after giving such a complete showing of their abilities against the US, Jamaica failed to produce anything close to the same level of play on Sunday night in Philadelphia.

Game Planning

Miguel Herrera deserves credit for putting together a game plan that allowed his team to get the best of Jamaica, but not too much credit. In fact, Mexico’s performance did more to highlight Jurgen Klinsmann’s complete mismanagement of the semifinal, from player selection to tactics.

Identifying the lack of mobility in Jamaica’s central midfield, Herrera smartly deployed Miguel Layun and Paul Aguilar as wingbacks. The pair not only kept tabs on the Reggae Boyz’s pacy widemen, they also funneled play back into the center of midfield. With a steady supply of the ball in the middle of the park, the triangle of Andres Guardado, Jonathan Dos Santos, and Jesus Duecas was simply too quick and overran Austin and Watson, both of whom would have seen red cards, had the circumstances surrounding the match been a little less CONCACAF-y.

Once they found space in behind the central midfield pairing, Mexico had little trouble exploiting the large — but again, not terribly mobile — duo of Wes Morgan and Michael Hector.

It was all relatively simple. Simple enough, in fact, that thinking back to the semis it is shocking to consider Klinsmann’s approach to the same team. With Gyasi Zardes a linear runner on one flank, and Alejandro Bedoya looking to challenge Adrian Mariappa up high, Klinsmann left Michael Bradley to essentially go 1 v 2 against Austin-Watson, while Kyle Beckerman stayed glued to his backline. The result was sadly predictable. Whenever Bradley turned the ball over — which he did too frequently from a mix of sloppiness and being at a numeric disadvantage in the middle of the park — Jamaica easily countered into the enormous pocket of space behind the US captain.

Against Mexico in October, Klinsmann must prioritize the center of the park, regardless of what that might do to the formation. Where Mexico was comfortable playing with three at the back, allowing Layun and Aguilar the freedom to hunt up and down the flanks at will, the US cannot boast anything resembling that same familiarity. This likely means a return to some version of a 4-2-3-1 formation that allows the US to compete in the center of midfield while also helping to keep more numbers behind the ball, insuring less free runners popping up to challenge what has been an extremely suspect US backline.

With friendlies against Peru and Brazil on the docket before the October playoff, Klinsmann has a lot of work to do in a short period of time. But, given how his team performed in the Gold Cup, US fans would probably just settle for seeing a consistent starting XI take the field in consecutive matches.

23-Ryan Thompson; 19-Adrian Mariappa, 4-Wes Morgan, 3-Michael Hector, 20-Kemar Lawrence; 10-Jobi McAnuff, 15-JeVaughn Watson (8-Michael Seaton ’90), 17-Rodolph Austin, 22-Garath McCleary (11-Darren Mattocks ’60); 9-Giles Barnes, 18-Simon Dawkins (2-Chris Humphrey ’74)
Subs Not Used: 13-Dwayne Miller, 1-Andre Blake, 6-Lance Laing, 25-Sean McFarlane, 24-Omar Holness, 7-Andre Clennon, 14-Allen Ottey, 16-Joel Grant
Head Coach: Winfried Schaefer

13-Guillermo Ochoa, 22-Paul Aguilar, 2-Francisco Rodriguez, 5-Diego Reyes, 15-Oswaldo Alanis, 7-Miguel Layun; 18-Andres Guardado (17-Jorge Torres ’62), 8-Jonathan Dos Santos, 20-Jesus Duecas (14-Javier Orozco ’86); 9-Jesus Corona (21-Carlos Esquivel ’82), 19-Oribe Peralta
Subs Not Used: 12-Jonathan Orozco, 1-Moises Munoz, 4-Miguel Herrera, 1-Antonio Rios, 10-Giovani Dos Santos, 23-Jose Vasquez
Head Coach: Miguel Herrera

Scoring Summary
MEX – Andres Guardado (Paul Aguilar, Jonathan Dos Santos) – 31st minute
MEX – Jesus Corona – 47th minute
MEX – Oribe Peralta – 61st minute
JAM – Darren Mattocks (Jobi McAnuff) – 80th minute

Misconduct Summary
MEX – Jesus Duecas (caution-foul) – 7th minute
JAM – Je-Vaughn Watson (caution-persistent infringement) – 24th minute
JAM – Rodolph Austin (caution-foul) – 30th minute
MEX – Diego Reyes (caution-foul) – 34th minute

Stats Summary (JAM / MEX)
Shots: 8 / 16
Shots on Goal: 2 / 8
Saves: 5 / 1
Corner Kicks: 3 / 4
Fouls: 16 / 17
Offside: 2 / 0

Referee: Joel Aguilar (El Salvador)
Assistant 1: Juan Zumba (El Salvador)
Assistant 2: CJ Morgante (USA)
Fourth Official: John Pitti (Panama)

Venue: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA
Attendance: 68,930
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET



  2. Jamaica had their chances early and then sporadically throughout the match. They were just overmatched defensively by pinpoint Mexican passes. That being said, they looked much better in their loss than the US did in theirs this weekend. Maybe it really does come down to tactics for the US because they could learn from the difference in which they set up against Jamaica compared to Mexico like you said. Klinsmann needs to come up with something positive for the Oct.9th match or his job should be in real jeopardy. Hey, thinking positively, remember Mexico almost missed the World Cup 20 months ago, so changes can be made whether they’re tactically or more drastic.

  3. what?
    I can’t hear you
    my ears are still ringing
    what a crowd!

  4. I was in attendance with my wife and a group of friends. I’d never been to an international match before, so I didn’t exactly know what to expect. It was a little odd not having a rooting interest in either team since the USA didn’t make the final, but we had an absolute blast. The match was fast-paced and entertaining, the energy in the stands was awesome, and every Mexico and Jamaica fan we met during our tailgate and in the stadium was really friendly, even though we were all wearing our USA jerseys. The Mexico fans really get up for their team, we saw all kinds of crazy matador, Aztec warrior, and luchador costumes. Say what want about all the corruption in CONCACAF and the drama in this tournament leading up to the final, but I was really glad this match was Philly so we could have that experience.

    • i was definitely the better of the 2 matches attended this weekend. MX fan were having a blast. fun to be at but, like you said, weird not rooting for one or the other. it was exciting, one of the better reffed and overall entertaining. aside from a concert there, it was the biggest crowd i’ve had at the Linc.

  5. Adiós Herrera! LMFAO!

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