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USMNT draws Jamaica in first CONCACAF Gold Cup match: What this means for the U.S.

USMNT draws Jamaica in first CONCACAF Gold Cup match: What this means for the U.S.

Jun 24, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; United States forward Alex Zendejas (17) battles for the ball against Jamaica defender Joel Latibeaudiere (15) during the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

The U.S. men’s national team completed a 1-1 draw against Jamaica in the first group-stage match at the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Saturday. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Damion Lowe scored the lone goal for Jamaica in the 13th minute.
  • Brandon Vazquez scored the equalizer in the 88th minute. It was his second career goal for the U.S.
  • The U.S. men outshot Jamaica 13-6 while winning the possession battle. USMNT had 68 percent possession while Jamaica’s was 32 percent.
  • The USMNT’s next match is against Saint Kitts and Nevis on Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET.

The Athletic’s instant analysis:

What this means for the U.S.

Vazquez’s goal salvaged a 1-1 draw and what would have been just the second time ever that the U.S. lost in the Gold Cup group stage. (The first and only time was in 2011 to Panama.) The draw leaves the U.S. in a fine position to advance out of the group stage, as the top two teams from each group advance to the knockouts, and the U.S. will be favored in their next two games against Saint Kitts and Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago.

After Saturday’s draw, goal differential will likely factor into seeding, so the U.S. will need to bag as many goals as possible on Wednesday night against a Saint Kitts and Nevis team against whom they are heavy favorites. — Tenorio

What is the takeaway from this draw?

It wasn’t pretty, but it’d be tough to argue that Vazquez’s goal wasn’t a justified equalizer for the USMNT. The U.S. was playing a decidedly different squad from the team that won the Nations League trophy just last week in Las Vegas. Goalkeeper Matt Turner, who saved a penalty to keep the game within one goal, was the only holdover in the starting lineup, and the lack of firepower in the attacking end was evident, as was a massive difference in how the U.S. was able to push the game through its midfield. While Jamaica had multiple Premier League players in its lineup, the U.S. featured a squad made up of North American domestic players based in either MLS or Liga MX.

The U.S. had a couple of dangerous moments, but never really looked fluid or dangerous as they did with their best players on the field against Mexico and Canada in Las Vegas. Players like Aidan Morris and Alan Soñora struggled, the U.S. gave up a goal on a defensive set piece and Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake made several important saves to stymie the Americans. It looked like Jamaica was going to pick up the win, but the U.S. controlled so much of the ball and had Jamaica on the back foot for much of the second half. Eventually, Vazquez found the goal when Jamaica failed to clear Jesús Ferreira’s cross and salvaged the result.

There aren’t going to be a ton of positives to pull out of this one. The U.S. should be more decisive in games like this, even with the clear talent in the Jamaica lineup, and it will need to play better to advance in the knockout stages. — Tenorio


The U.S. entered the CONCACAF Gold Cup on a high after winning the CONCACAF Nations League on June 18. USMNT defeated Canada 2-0 with Chris Richards and Folarin Balogun scoring the goals. It was USMNT’s second Nations League title in program history.

USMNT is defending champion of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. In 2021, the squad defeated Mexico 1-0 in the final, capturing the country’s seventh Gold Cup title.

Highlight of the match

Brandon Vazquez equalizes in the 88th minute for the USMNT!

The FC Cincinnati attacker finds the loose ball in the box after the clearance and its 1-1 late in the #GoldCup match against Jamaica.

🎥 @FOXSoccer pic.twitter.com/SmGKB8m3z4

— The Athletic Soccer (@TheAthleticSCCR) June 25, 2023

Required reading

(Photo: Jon Durr / USA Today)

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