Armchair Analyst: USMNT cross Jamaica up and claim Gold Cup title

From minutes 1 through 63, the US men's national team hit 12 crosses. From minutes 64 through 88, the USMNT hit 14 crosses.

The last one in that second bunch led to the game- and tournament-winning goal, as the US took a deserved and dominant 2-1 win against a feisty, disciplined, but ultimately overmatched Jamaican side. It's the first US Gold Cup title since 2013, and their sixth all-time. They were pretty clearly the better team on the night, and the best attacking team in the tournament, and they deserved the title.

They also deserved to sweat a little bit, and credit to the Reggae Boyz for bringing the heat in that regard. Jamaica, under head coach Theodore Whitmore, are fit and functional, gamers who get chippy but not dirty, and who wouldn't quit despite playing the two giants of CONCACAF in back-to-back games, and wouldn't quit after losing their best player – and really, the tournament's best player in goalkeeper Andre Blake – to a gruesome first-half hand injury, and wouldn't quit after going down a goal.

But sometimes the numbers are just too overwhelming. The US outshot Jamaica 13-6 overall and 8-3 on target, they out-possessed them 73 percent to 27 percent, and they completed 85 percent of their passes to just 64 percent for Jamaica. It was a thoroughly dominant performance even though the scoreboard was predictably tight.

A few tactical takeaways:

• Jamaica come out in a slightly altered version of their typical, flat 4-4-2. The alteration was a simple one – they inserted Ladale Richie directly in front of the central defense as a classic destroyer, making the 4-4-2 more of a 4-1-3-2. Richie didn't leave that spot, a symbolic figure with "dare you to play through the middle" plastered all over himself.

So the US struggled, at first, to build meaningful possession, too often shunting play down one flank or the other and just keeping it there.

Jozy Altidore, who got the opening goal and was the best US player on the night, was the one who found the key to that particular lock. Altidore, a center forward, dropped waaaaaaay deep into midfield to get on the ball, usually with his back to goal, and started creating ad hoc three-man midfield triangles with Michael Bradley and either Darlington Nagbe pinching in from the wing, or Kellyn Acosta working from his No. 8 position.

• The US did not have a slow start in this game:

 
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