US Player Ratings: Altidore, Morris, Nagbe shine en route to Gold Cup glory

The US national team left it late again, requiring a big Jordan Morris strike a minute from full time to win the CONCACAF Gold Cup with a 2-1 decision over pesky Jamaica on Wednesday night.

The Nats had the same troubles creating sustained attack pressure and shots as they experienced in the semifinal, and again found the extra creative gear needed to pull out the victory after Clint Dempsey entered the fray as a second-half sub.

Tim Howard (5) - The US netminder, who had next to nothing to do all night, definitely shrank away from Je-Vaughn Watson's corner-kick conversion.

Graham Zusi (5) - The Sporting KC right back didn't offer a great deal going forward, but he made a few important first-half stops when Jamaica got out on the break. Zusi's grade dipped below average because he also got caught up or beaten on a few highly dangerous rushes by the visitors.

Omar Gonzalez (6.5) - The right center back was the most solid US defender on the night. Gonzalez regularly stepped into passing lanes and crosses to avert danger.

Matt Besler (6) - Less busy than his central partner, Besler was decent without being flawless.

Jorge Villafana (6) - As you'd expect, Villafana constantly tilted the field on his flank and played in some tempting crosses. He had a couple of hairy moments while defending, but recovered well on both occasions.

Michael Bradley (6.5) - While his restart serves were often disappointing, Bradley earned the free kick that led to Altidore's opener. The skipper also adequately moved US traffic with his passing.

Kellyn Acosta (5) - Once again, the FC Dallas man failed to shine in a key starting role. Acosta repeatedly wandered away from showing for the ball, and didn't do much with it when he did get on it beyond Jamaica's midfield lines.

Darlington Nagbe (7) - When Dempsey replaced Acosta, and Nagbe slid into the latter's central station, one could really see the positive effect of having two players available to receive the ball in the middle of the park. The Portland possession hound never really cracked Jamaica's code in the final third, but he was always pushing the home team to their door.

Paul Arriola (5.5) - As he had in previous tournament outings, Arriola buzzed around well from the start. After middling attempts when put in positions to threaten the Jamaica goal, he faded until his removal on 76 minutes.

Jordan Morris (7) - It was a roller coaster outing for the youngster, who struggled mightily to have any offensive impact in the opening period. Before and after intermission, Morris tracked back well to make a couple of helpful defensive plays, only to switch off in the box on Jamaica's equalizer. The Seattle forward finally came alive in the final half-hour, which culminated in him heroically blasting home the Gold Cup clincher.

Jozy Altidore (7.5) - The Toronto FC forward spent most of the first half dropping deep just to get touches, but closed it by striking a fatal dead ball to open the scoring. As the USMNT closed in on the winner, Altidore again showed why his passing is so important to the team's "half-court" offense.

Coach Bruce Arena (6) - For engineering a title-winning victory, this grade is actually a little tricky because of some lineup choices. Zusi predictably had some trouble with Jamaica's speed on the counter, this clearly wasn't the matchup for Morris to excel as a center forward and the team again dithered with creating chances from possession until Dempsey was brought on. In the end, though, Arena pulled the right levers for the boys to raise the trophy.

Subs:

Clint Dempsey (7) - Unsurprisingly, the US attack really started turning the screws on Jamaica when Deuce entered. He was robbed of a potential winner/record-breaking goal when Dwayne Miller cruelly pushed his 76th-minute header onto the post. It's hard to tell if he did it with intent, but Dempsey knocked down a poor clearance for Morris to fire the Cup decider.

Gyasi Zardes (6.5) - The fresh-legs sub was hardly clinical, but he did put Jamaica's defense under pressure. Zardes also sent in the cross that eventually found its way to Morris on the winning play.

Dax McCarty (-) - More clean-up duty for the Chicago ace.

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