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Gold Cup Recap: United States 1 - 1 Jamaica
U.S. battles back late to pick up a draw in their Concacaf Gold Cup opener.
The United States Men’s National Team returned to action Saturday night as they kicked off their 2023 Gold Cup run against Jamaica inside Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.
Saturday’s Group Stage opener marked the first time the United States competed since the reappointment of Gregg Berhalter to the Head Coach position on June 16th. Despite Berhalter’s return, Interim Head Coach B.J. Callaghan remained in charge of the US throughout the Gold Cup.
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Saturday also marked a special occasion for Revolution defender DeJuan Jones, as the now 26-year-old defender celebrated his birthday with the team. Jones was not the only one celebrating as former Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner celebrated his 29th birthday as well.
Callaghan gave Matt Turner the best birthday gift as he started in goal while dawning the Captain’s armband. John Tolkin, Aaron Long, Matt Miazga, and DeAndre Yedlin made up the backline while James Sands and Aiden Morris served as defensive midfielders. Jordan Morris, Alan Soñora, and Alejandro Zendejas were higher up in the midfield while Jesús Ferreira served as the lone striker.
Disaster struck in the 13th minute as a foul by Aiden Morris led to Demarai Gray lobbing a free kick into the box. Damion Lowe read the United States defense perfectly as he leaped forward and sent a diving header into the net to give the Reggae Boyz a 1-0 lead early.
Things went from bad to worse in the 27th minute as Jamaica won a throw-in in their attacking half. Jamaica sent a long throw-in into the box as the ball bounced around. Aiden Morris attempted to clear the ball, but instead of connecting with the ball, Morris’ boot connected with the ribs of Kevon Lambert inside the box, which awarded Jamaica a penalty kick.
Leon Bailey stepped up to the spot looking to double Jamaica’s lead just 28 minutes into the match. Bailey sent a shot to the bottom-right corner, but Turner was all over it as he stretched to make the save.
Jordan Morris had a golden opportunity to find the equalizer in first-half stoppage time as he broke through the Jamaican defense and found himself one-on-one with Andre Blake. Morris attempted to slot the ball to the left side of the net, but Blake’s right arm was in the right place as Blake deflected Morris’ shot out for a corner kick.
There was one change for B.J. Callaghan before the second half, as Jalen Neal came on for Aaron Long. Another change came in the 55th minute as Cade Cowell came on for Jordan Morris. Two more changes came in the 63rd as Djordje Mihailovic and Cristian Roldán came on for Alan Soñora and Alejandro Zendejas.
Roldán came close to getting the US on the score sheet as Cowell cut the ball into the box to Roldán, who sent a close-range shot, but Blake was all over it as he made the save.
Callaghan’s final change came in the 82nd minute as Brandon Vázquez came on for John Tolkin as the U.S. looked to evade their second-ever Gold Cup defeat.
When it looked like the aforementioned loss was coming, substitute Brandon Vázquez put the USMNT on his back in the 88th minute. Jesus Ferreira’s cross landed at the feet of Dexter Lembikisa and when Lembikisa chested the ball down toward Lowe, a miscommunication between the pair led to Vázquez taking advantage as he ran onto the ball and slotted it home to level things in the closing minutes.
It wasn’t the cleanest performance for the USMNT, but they bounced back to avoid defeat as they walked away with one point following a 1-1 draw. The U.S. see themselves tied with Jamaica atop Group A as they await the results of Trinidad and Tobago versus St. Kitts & Nevis on Sunday.
The United States will look to get back in the win column on Wednesday as they travel to CityPark in St. Louis, Missouri, as they face St. Kitts & Nevis at 10:00 PM ET on FS1 and UniMás!