After plenty of recent late game heroics during the 2017 edition of the Gold Cup, the final between the USA and Jamaica proved no different, with Jordan Morris scoring the winner in the 88th minute, as the USA defeated Jamaica 2-1. Jozy Altidore’s free kick to end the first half was canceled out by Je-Vaughn Watson five minutes into the second half. And just when it seemed that extra time was on the horizon, Morris scored his third goal of the tournament, handing the US their sixth Gold Cup title.
Head coach Bruce Arena fielded the same starting eleven that defeated Costa Rica on Saturday, with Morris preferred as the partner for Altidore, leaving Clint Dempsey to come on as a substitute once again.
The first half, which had all the markings of a dull, cup final first half, was marred by an injury to Jamaica ‘keeper Andre Blake. Altidore forced Blake into action in the 19th minute, with a shot from range that the keeper did well to react to. Kellyn Acosta tried to pounce on the rebound, but kicked Blake in the right hand in the process. Jamaica were able to clear, but Blake went down in pain, and had to be replaced by Dwayne Miller. X-rays on Blake’s hand came back negative.
That moment was nearly the only notable moment of a rather drab first half, but then popped up Altidore, who scored his second goal of the tournament. From a free kick about 30 yards out, Altidore was able to lift a shot over the wall, with the ball curling away from Miller, who could only get a hand on the shot. That gave the favored USA side the lead going into the half, though it was a short lived lead.
Five minutes into the second half, the US conceded a corner, which Jamaica capitalized on. Kemar Lawrence curled a free kick to the far post, and Watson beat Morris, volleying a shot past Tim Howard for the equalizer. Jamaica, who had done well to frustrate the US most of the night, hadn’t done much offensively before that point, and their goal came on their first shot of the game.
Oneil Fisher and Paul Arriola traded chances in the 63rd minute, but neither could beat the opposing keepers. From a tight angle in the box, Fisher’s shot was right at Howard, and at the other end, Arriola’s header from Jorge Villafana’s cross was collected by Miller.
In the 73rd minute, Altidore tried to find Dempsey with a pass neat the top of the box. That pass was cut out, but the ball fell right to Morris, who didn’t hesitate in smashing a shot that forced Miller into a sprawling save. The gave the US a corner, but as they couldn’t convert, Jamaica quickly broke the other way.
On the counter, Fisher got the ball deep on the right, and sent a cross into the middle for Watson. Watson got a touch to the ball, but a deflection from Graham Zusi took the ball dangerously close to the post, though it harmlessly fell out for a corner for Jamaica.
Dempsey nearly had the glory all for himself moments later, but he was denied a winner by Miller and the post. Another cross from Villafana on the left found Dempsey in the box, who got enough power on the header. His downward header was goal-bound, until a strong hand from Miller pushed the ball off of the upright, allowing Jamaica to clear out the danger.
With the game winding down, seemingly headed to extra time, Morris popped up with a timely winner. A cross from substitute Gyasi Zardes was headed out by Jamaica, but only as far as Morris. Morris once again was quick to pull the trigger, and his shot took a slight deflection as it sailed past Miller, giving the US redemption for the 2015 semifinal loss to Jamaica.