The United States Men's National team and the national team of Jamaica meet tonight in Atlanta with a berth in the final on Sunday in Philadelphia as a reward for the victor. The USA will come into this match as favorites, but Jamaica will feel like they will be able to shock CONCACAF and knock off the Red, White and Blue.
The Goal for the USA: nothing less than a victory is acceptable.
What to Watch For:
1) The Strikers: A lot has been made that Jozy Altidore was swapped in favor of Alan Gordon after Jozy played the first two games in the Gold Cup. And I tend to agree with those who are wondering why, if Altidore was injured or unfit, why he was brought to the tournament at all. And in my opinion, Altidore did not look great in the first two games of the group stage. But now that he is gone, I really want to see how well Clint Dempsey and Aron Johannsson play together as they both played quite well against Cuba (granted, it was Cuba). And if for some reason you need a late goal, you could do far worse than Gordon off the bench late in a game to grab that goal.
2) House Money: The USA is the heavy favorite in this match and they should not have any trouble in beating Jamaica, who does have some good players (Giles Barnes for example). The Reggae Boyz are playing with house money at this point and should play like they have nothing to lose. And there is some hope for them as there have been moments that the USA has struggled in this tournament. Yes, the US are heavy favorites, but they are not invincible.
3) Defense: Jamaica has some great team speed and will be able to get behind the US defense and will be able to cause problems. Whomever is along the back line, need to be prepared for this, especially the right and left backs. And for the center back pairing (I think John Brooks and Omar Gonzalez) will need to be prepared for the crosses that will eventually show up. While I feel as if the US should be able to handle this, Jamaica is not going to sit back and defend for 90 minutes. They could pip a goal.
How to Watch:
Match Date/Time: Wednesday, July 22 at 4:00 PM MDT
Venue: George Dome--Atlanta, George
TV Information: Fox Sports 1 and UniMas
The Road So Far:
United States: WIN vs Honduras (2-1), WIN vs Haiti (1-0), DRAW vs Panama (1-1), WIN vs Cuba (6-0)
Jamaica: DRAW vs Costa Rica (2-2), WIN vs Canada (1-0), WIN vs El Salvador (1-0), WIN vs Haiti (1-0)
I think that Jamaica will throw the kitchen sink at the Americans and they will grab a goal in this one, but the quality of the United States wins out in a 3-1 victory.