The United States Men’s National Team takes on Jamaica in the Gold Cup semifinals on July 3 in Nashville, Tennessee. The USMNT has yet to concede during this Gold Cup but will have to play far better than it did against Curaçao in the quarterfinals.
Jamaica defeated the U.S. 1-0, in a June 5 friendly, and will hope for a similar performance.
The Reggae Boyz beat Honduras 3-2, tied El Salvador 0-0, and tied Curaçao 1-1 in the group stage. Jamaica defeated Panama 1-0 in the quarterfinals.
Goalkeepers (3): Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union/USA; 41/0), Amal Knight (UWI; 4/0), Dwayne Miller (Syrianska/SWE; 42/0)
Defenders (6): Shaun Francis (Louisville City FC/USA; 23/3), Michael Hector (Sheffield Wednesday/ENG; 29/0), Kemar Lawrence (New York Red Bulls/USA; 54/3), Damion Lowe* (IK Start/NOR; 23/2), Alvas Powell (FC Cincinnati/USA; 42/0), Jamoi Topey (Bethlehem Steel/USA; 2/0)
*Damion Lowe is suspended for this match due to yellow card accumulation
Midfielders (7): Kevon Lambert (Phoenix Rising/USA; 12/0), Andre Lewis (Portmore United; 5/0), Tyreek Magee (Harbor View; 2/0), Ricardo Morris (Portmore United; 17/2), Peter-Lee Vassell (LAFC/USA; 12/5), Devon Williams (Louisville City FC/USA; 9/0), Je-Vaughn Watson (OKC Energy FC/USA; 81/4)
Forwards (7): Leon Bailey (Bayer Leverkusen/GER; 3/0), Brian Brown (FC Reno/USA; 5/0), Junior Flemmings (Phoenix Rising/USA; 7/0), Maalique Foster (RVG Toros FC/USA; 5/1), Darren Mattocks (FC Cincinnati/USA; 49/18), Shamar Nicholson (Domzale/SVN; 11/2), Dever Orgill (Ankaragucu/TUR; 16/2)
Jamaica’s leading goal scorers (this Gold Cup): 1. Orgill (2) 2. Nicholson, Lowe, and Mattocks tied with 1 each
Most assists: 1. Lewis, Brown, and Vassell tied with 1 each.
Jamaica coach Theodore Whitmore will likely stick with the 4-4-2 he used against Panama, however he may opt for a 4-3-3. Expect Jamaica to attack aggressively and look to utilize its athleticism.
Jamaica Projected Lineup:
Andre Blake is the team’s clear #1 and has been a top MLS goalkeeper for several years now. He is a good shot-stopper with quick reflexes.
Shaun Francis and Michael Hector will likely be the starting centerbacks. Francis is an excellent decision-maker and good on the ball, but his passing is abysmal.
Hector, who spent this season on loan with EFL Championship side Sheffield Wednesday, from Chelsea, is perhaps Jamaica’s best defender. He stands 6’4,’’ is dominant in the air, and is an excellent tackler. His passing leaves much to be desired.
Kemar Lawrence is a solid 1. v. 1 defender, incredibly fast, and will look to join the attack. His only real flaw is his lack of physical strength.
Alvas Powell will likely get the nod at right-back. Powell is perhaps even faster than Lawrence and excels at dribbling and tackling. His often poor positioning and passing are his main weaknesses.
Pre-game lineups will likely list Je-Vaughn Watson as a left-midfielder. However, he will actually play as a defensive midfielder. At 35, Watson is a veteran who will help to guide the team.
He intercepts countless passes and is good at linking the defense to the midfield, with intelligent short passes. However, his tackling has become significantly worse in recent years, and he commits far too many fouls.
Expect Dever Orgill and Andre Lewis to be listed as the starting central midfielders but one of them will end up playing left midfield while Watson moves centrally.
I can not provide much of a scouting report on Andre Lewis of Portmore United, as I am unfamiliar with him and little information is available about him.
Orgill is a deceptively good dribbler and is quite strong, but drifts offside too frequently and is rather slow. He has proven to be a potent offensive threat, leading the team with 2 goals this tournament.
Leon Bailey, of Bayer Leverkusen, is Jamaica’s most talented attacker but has yet to make much of an impact this tournament. Bailey is an excellent dribbler, solid crosser, and is always a threat to score from distance. His major flaw is that he contributes little defensively.
Look for Shamar Nicholson to feature as one of the strikers. He will be joined by Junior Flemmings or Darren Mattocks. Flemmings has yet to record a goal or assist, despite starting in all but one Gold Cup match.
I’m expecting Mattocks to start over Flemmings. Mattocks is an incredibly quick poacher who seems to have not fully lived up to his potential. He disappears in games and fails to make an impact too often.
It’s hard to predict the result of this match. I believe that the score will be 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes and the USMNT will win after a penalty shootout.