Resilient underdogs Jamaica pushed them to the limit. But the US national team held their nerve and showed their quality to earn a last-gasp 2-1 win in the 2017 Gold Cup final at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California on Wednesday, paced by well-taken goals from Jozy Altidore and Jordan Morris.
Jamaica lost their talismanic goalkeeper, the Philadelphia Union's Andre Blake, to a hand injury early in the match, and things soon got even grimmer for the Reggae Boyz as Altidore blasted a scintillating long-range free kick off the underside of the crossbar past Blake's replacement Dwayne Miller.
But the islanders persevered, as they have throughout this tournament, and drew level against the odds when New England Revolution utility man Je-Vaughn Watson muscled around Morris on a corner kick and volleyed past Tim Howard at the far post.
The US turned the screws down the stretch, forcing Jamaica deeper and deeper before Morris struck a sweetly-hit finish into the top corner to claim the Yanks' sixth Gold Cup trophy.
- Jamaica provide update on Blake's hand injury
- MLSers Bradley, Blake, Davies sweep Gold Cup awards
- Analyst: US cross Jamaica up & claim Gold Cup
- Gold Cup By the Numbers: USMNT victories
- US Player Ratings: Altidore, Morris, Nagbe shine en route to glory
- 45' – USA – Jozy Altidore Watch
- 50' – JAM – Je-Vaughn Watson Watch
- 88' – USA – Jordan Morris Watch
- CONCACAF Man of the Match: Jordan Morris
- REDEMPTION SONG: It's not often that a player gets a quick chance to atone for a costly error in a cup final. Morris got outfoxed by the canny veteran Watson on Jamaica's goal, but kept his head and showed stellar technique to bury his late winner. As the only player to appear in every US game of the tournament, the Seattle Sounders star certainly seems to have elevated his USMNT stock.
Morris falls asleep at the back post, and it's 1-1. #JAM score on their first shot of the night.— Matthew Doyle (@MattDoyle76) July 27, 2017
- JOZY HOISTS HARDWARE: His goal, and this victory, will be sweeter than most for Altidore, because it meant he finally got to win his first trophy in his country's colors. A few eyebrows were surely raised when he stepped up to that first-half free kick placed nearly 30 yards out from goal – such situations are not seen as his specialty – but he showed why, netting one of the more clutch goals of his career.
- BOLD, BRAVE BOYZ: Blake has been pivotal for Jamaica (he was awarded the golden glove as the tournament's best goalkeeper postgame). So when he walked off in obvious pain after diving at Kellyn Acosta's feet to block a point-blank shot, few expected his team to keep pace with the US. Yet the Reggae Boyz kept defending doggedly, continued to pose danger on the counterattack and via set pieces, were eventually rewarded and even had chances to bag another. It was a stirring display.
- USA: Friday, Sept. 1 vs. Costa Rica (WCQ, 6:30 pm ET | ESPN and Univision networks)
- JAM: Saturday, Sept. 2 at Canada (Friendly, time/TV TBA)