Gold Cup Final 2017: Latest Form Guide and Reaction Before USA vs. Jamaica

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJuly 24, 2017

United States' Clint Dempsey (28) celebrates with teammates Graham Zusi, left, and Omar Gonzalez, right, after scoring a goal during a CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal soccer match against Costa Rica in Arlington, Texas, Saturday, July 22, 2017. United States won 2-0. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)
Jeffrey McWhorter/Associated Press

The United States Men's National Team are the big favourites for glory in Wednesday's 2017 Gold Cup final, when they take on Jamaica at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. 

The introduction of some big names after the group stage has given the USMNT a boost in the knockout rounds of the competition, as they breezed past El Salvador and eventually overcame Costa Rica to make it this far. Manager Bruce Arena will be expected to clinch this title for the United States for the first time in four years.

Jamaica are not a team to be taken lightly, though. Two years ago they were beaten in the final by Mexico, and on Sunday they earned their revenge over El Tri, securing their spot in another major showpiece.

Read on for the form of each side ahead of the final and a look ahead to what should be an absorbing climax to the competition.

            

United States Form

1-1 vs. Panama

3-2 vs. Martinique

3-0 vs. Nicaragua

2-0 vs. El Salvador

2-0 vs. Costa Rica

          

Jamaica Form

2-0 vs. Curacao

0-0 vs. Mexico

1-1 vs. El Salvador

2-1 vs. Canada

1-0 vs. Mexico

         

Preview

Jae Hong/Associated Press

A much-changed USMNT failed to find much rhythm in the group stages of the competition and there were subsequently some doubts about how far they would go in the knockout rounds. Arena's decision to draft in experience has proved significant, though.

Tim Howard has settled things down between the sticks, Michael Bradley has controlled matters in midfield and Jozy Altidore has bulldozed over various defenders in the final third. 

Clint Dempsey has galvanised the attacking play of the United States, too. As noted by Paul Carr of ESPN, his strike against Costa Rica was a historic one:

Now there's an expectation on this group of players to make more history. Victory on Wednesday would see the United States clinch their sixth Gold Cup, putting them a solitary triumph behind rivals Mexico in the all-time stakes.

Jamaica will be stern opposition, though, especially with confidence so high following their shock win over Mexico. That was after Kemar Lawrence scored a stunning late free-kick to dump out the holders.

"The best way I could put it is the Biblical story," said manager Theodore Whitmore, per the Associated Press (via USA Today). "David slew Goliath."

Jamaica's head coach Theodore Whitmore talks to his team during their quarterfinal match of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup against Canda at the University of Phoenix Stadium on July 20, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. Jamaica won 2-1.  / AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck
ROBYN BECK/Getty Images

As we can see courtesy of the CONCACAF Twitter account, making it so far meant a lot to the Reggae Boyz:

While the win over Mexico represented a major shock, getting to finals is becoming a regular occurrence for Jamaica. They made it to the last hurdle in 2015 and earlier this year they played Curacao in the final of the Caribbean Cup. However, they lost both.

Whitmore will hope to see his side have learned from those defeats. Still, Caribbean football journalist Nathan Carr believes it is an achievement to have made it so far:

Jamaica have been strong in defence at this tournament, twice shutting out Mexico thanks to some excellent organisation and brilliant goalkeeping from Andre Blake. They will need to show these qualities again against the United States if they’re to win their maiden Gold Cup.

The USMNT represent a step up in quality for Jamaica. There's quality and big-game nous in spades in Arena's squad; eventually that'll see them over the line in this one.

           

Prediction: United States 2-1 Jamaica

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