The CONCACAF Gold Cup wrapped up yesterday, with Mexico defeating Jamaica, 3-1, to claim the championship trophy. It is Mexico’s seventh title in the 23-year history of the tournament.
After some uneventful play for most of the first half, Andre Guardados scored on a beautiful crossover in the 32nd minute, giving Mexico a 1-0 lead, which they held through the first half.
Within the first two minutes of the second half, Jesús Corona scored again for Mexico with an on-the-ground shot from the 18-yard line, putting Jamaica down by two. Another Mexican goal by Oribe Peralta put Jamaica in a hole they could dig out of.
Jamaica had a few more shots on net and Darren Mattocks eventually scored with about 11 minutes plus stoppage time left. But that was the last chance they had in the game.
“We dominated the ball. We got the rhythm we wanted and controlled the play,” Mexico manager Migual Herrera said after the match.
Throughout the match, Jamaica never changed the strategy that got them to the championship round. They play best with four defenders, four midfielders, and two strikers.
Jamaica is a team that experiments a lot and capitalizes on the other team’s mistakes. In this game, Mexico didn’t make a lot of them.
For its part, Jamaica was happy with how they played.
“Nobody gave us a shot,” said Jamaican manager Winifried Schaefer. “This team played all its matches over its head. I’m very proud to coach this team. Jamaica should be very proud.”
Mexico made it to the final in a controversial 2-1 win against Panama in the semi-finals.
On a debatable call, Andre Guardados scored for Mexico on a penalty kick, and won the game in overtime on another, less debatable, penalty kick.
A game official “accepted that officiating errors had been made” and said that those errors impacted the outcome of the game.
But the final matchup was not at all what fans were expecting. Mexico was supposed to be there. Jamaica? Not so much.
Heading into the Gold Cup, the US Men’s National Team was favored to win it all. But the Americans were stunned by Jamaica in the semifinals, then lost to Panama on penalty kicks in the third-place game.
There would be no ticker tape parade — or celebration of any kind — for this US national soccer team.
Team USA can’t dwell on its CONCACAF failure too long. On October 9, it will face Mexico in a 2017 Confederations Cup qualifying match.
Photos: Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images (Mexico), Patrick Smith/Getty Images (United States)