Denzel Washington’s John Creasy told us in “Man on Fire” that revenge is a dish best served cold. In the case of Team USA in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Championship, revenge was served late and hot.
After losing in the semis to Jamaica in 2015, Team USA had revenge on their mind. So when the Reggae Boyz defeated Mexico in the semis on Sunday, Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey and the rest of Team USA had to be smiling as it was time for payback.
After much back and forth in the first half, Altidore scored the first goal for the U.S., and his 39th in international play, in the 45th minute of the first half, giving the team the momentum heading into halftime. But Jamaica struck back only five minutes into the second half, when Je-Vaughn Watson scored a goal and evened things up at 1-1. Over the next 40 minutes, the game boasted nothing serious but two yellow cards and just when fans were thinking overtime and then the dreaded penalty kicks, Clint Dempsey stepped up for a free kick, setting the stage for a fairy tale ending for the long time veteran. After he ricocheted the ball off of another player, Jordan Morris sent it through the net, just past the outstretched hand of Jamaican goalie Dwayne Miller, putting the US up 2-1 with roughly four minutes to play.
Jamaica made a few attempts in the remaining minutes, but four minutes later the referee picked up the ball, signifying that the game was over and the US had won the title. This was their sixth Gold Cup championship, which included victories in 1991, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009 and now 2017. This puts them one victory behind Mexico for all time Gold Cup championships.
For Jamaica, its the second consecutive tournament in which they have finished as the runners up, and this defeat was made even harder to swallow as they lost goalie Andre Blake in the game’s twenty third minute.
Congrats to Team USA, who now looks forward to September, when players will be turning their attention to World Cup qualifying. But tonight they’ll be enjoying CONCACAF gold.