Jamaica stunned CONCACAF again on Sunday night, knocking off heavily favored Mexico 1-0 in a tense Gold Cup semifinal at the Rose Bowl via a last-minute free-kick goal by New York Red Bulls left back Kemar Lawrence to book their place in the tournament's championship final for the second straight edition.
The well-organized Reggae Boyz stifled and frustrated El Tri throughout the match, while Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Andre Blake stepped up with several stellar saves on the occasions when Jamaica's defense was breached.
As time ticked away, it appeared as if the match would have to be decided by a penalty-kick shootout. But Lawrence stepped up to lash a curling free kick into the top corner, earning the islanders their first-ever Gold Cup win over mighty Mexico.
- 88' – JAM – Kemar Lawrence
- CONCACAF Man of the Match: Andre Blake
- SAVES BY DRE, GOLD CUP EDITION: Blake has been the best goalkeeper in this tournament by a safe margin, and on Sunday Philly's favorite shotstopper underlined his credentials for straight-up MVP. He made five saves, some of them jaw-dropping, and showed complete mastery of his penalty box as wave after wave of Mexico attacks crashed on the rocks of the Reggae Boyz back line.
- TIMELY TAXI: MLS observers have long recognized Lawrence as one of the region's top left backs. But on Sunday he produced what is surely one of the most memorable moments of his career to date, summoning a rare goal – and a beauty at that – at the perfect time for his country, who will now carry real hopes of another upset into their championship final meeting with the United States, where 11 of Jamaica's squad play their club soccer.
That was Lawrence's 3rd goal for Jamaica.— Official J.F.F (@ItsTheJFF) July 24, 2017
2014 vs Canada (Freekick)
2014 vs Antigua and Barbuda
Now 2017 vs Mexico
- CATASTROPH-EL-TRI: This month Mexico have rarely looked like the CONCACAF juggernaut that they are widely perceived to be. But few would have expected the defending champs to crash out at this stage of the event. This shock loss will crank up the heat under coach Juan Carlos Osorio's seat several more notches, and if the Mexican federation reverts to its traditional norm, it might just spell a rapid end to his time in charge.
- MEX: Eliminated
- JAM: Wednesday, July 26 vs. USA (9:30 pm ET | FS1, Univision, UDN)