The 2017 Gold Cup final had an air of inevitability all along, but a tournament low on good games finally offered up some quality and a surprise in the semifinal round. There, while the United States met their goal by seeing off Costa Rica, Jamaica shocked Mexico via a late Kemar Lawrence free kick goal. Tonight, the USMNT will be the heavy favorite, but it’s the Reggae Boyz who can claim to be the only team to make it to two straight CONCACAF finals.
Location: Levi’s Stadium (Santa Clara, CA)
Kickoff time: 9:30pm Eastern (but don’t be surprised if this turns into 9:45 or later)
Projected USMNT starting 11: (442) - Tim Howard; Graham Zusi, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, Jorge Villafaña; Paul Arriola, Michael Bradley, Kellyn Acosta, Darlington Nagbe; Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore
Bench: Bill Hamid, Jesse Gonzalez, Eric Lichaj, Matt Miazga, Matt Hedges, Justin Morrow, Gyasi Zardes, Dax McCarty, Joe Corona, Chris Pontius, Juan Agudelo, Jordan Morris
Not many changes despite the short rest, but that can’t really be much of a surprise. I think Dempsey will rotate back in after his match-winning turn off the bench against Costa Rica, but beyond that it’s hard to imagine too many other reserves getting in. Maybe, if Bruce Arena prefers to keep using him as a sub, we see Agudelo or Morris instead.
Projected Jamaica starting 11: (442) - Andre Blake; Alvas Powell, Damion Lowe, Jermaine Taylor, Kemar Lawrence; Owayne Gordon, Kevon Lambert, Je-Vaughn Watson, Shaun Francis; Romario Williams, Darren Mattocks
Theodore Whitmore doesn’t have too many options to rotate. If we see any changes, look for either Williams to be dropped for a third central midfielder (Ladale Richie, most likely) or for Gordon to play on the left and Oniel Fisher - like Francis, normally a fullback in MLS - on the right.
Referee: Walter Lopez (Guatemala)
Available TV: Fox Sports 1, Univision, Univision Deportes
Available streaming: Fox Sports Go, Fox Soccer Match Pass, Univision Deportes app
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.
What do we have to say about it?: I recommend the preview Stars and Stripes FC put together yesterday. Check back there during the day for more.
What are you drinking?: That’s a good question depending on where I watch. If I stay home, I’m probably going with a margarita. If I go out, I’ll probably have a Guinness at Dock FC. It’d be easier if this were a weekend final, but somehow I feel like off-year Gold Cup finals should be at unreasonable times.
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