U.S. levels late with Jamaica in Gold Cup opener

Brandon Vazquez came off the bench to score a late goal as the United States drew 1-1 with Jamaica to begin Group A play in the Concacaf Gold Cup at Soldier Field on Saturday night. 

Interim coach B.J. Callaghan was still on the sidelines for the defending champion USMNT after coaching the team to the Nations League title, but he was overseeing a very different side against Jamaica, one that was comprised largely of MLS players and without most of the European stars that beat Canada last Sunday.

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A much more first-choice XI for Jamaica, which featured Premier League players Michail AntonioBobby De Cordova-Reid and Leon Bailey, took the lead in the 13th minute when Damian Lowe sent a diving header from Demarai Gray‘s free kick past Matt Turner in the U.S. goal.

A sloppy foul by Aidan Morris on Kevon Lambert gave Jamaica a penalty and a chance to double its lead, but Turner came up huge and saved Bailey’s spot kick, with the Aston Villa forward also shanking his close-range attempt from the rebound wide of the far post.

Brandon Vazquez celebrates after scoring a goal against Jamaica in the Gold Cup.
Brandon Vazquez celebrates after scoring a goal against Jamaica in the Gold Cup.

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Jesus Ferreira set up the best chance of the first half for the U.S., but Andre Blake made a stellar save on Jordan Morris‘ shot from close range to keep Jamaica in the lead at the break.

A pair of substitutes nearly had the U.S. back on level terms just after the 70th minute, but Blake once again came up big to save Cristian Roldan‘s first-time shot after Cade Cowell had played the ball into him from the byline.

With time running out, another substitute Vazquez smashed home a volley from the top of the six-yard box after a cross from Ferreira was handled poorly by the Jamaica defense and it fell perfectly for the prolific FC Cincinnati striker.

The draw was unusual for the U.S. in Gold Cup openers, having won 15 times in its last 16, the blemish a 1-1 draw against Panama in 2015. Overall, the Americans have 38 wins, five draws and one loss in the group stage — a 2-1 defeat to Panama in 2011.

The U.S. and Jamaica both have group games left against St. Kitts and Trinidad and Tobago to determine which two teams will advance to the knockout stage.


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