Darren Mattocks, Jamaica Beat Panama; Advance to Semifinals of 2019 Gold Cup

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2019

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 30: Darren Mattocks of Jamaica celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-0 during the  2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup Quarter Final match between Jamaica and Panama at Lincoln Financial Field on June 30, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Jamaica advanced to the semifinals of the 2019 Gold Cup for the third straight time, defeating Panama 1-0 on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

Darren Mattocks converted a penalty in the 75th minute for the only goal of the game.

It was a tough decision for Panama, as Mattocks headed the ball onto the hand of Panama defender Michael Murillo.

The Reggae Boyz now await the winner of the United States and Curacao quarterfinal. They'll return to action Wednesday in Nashville, Tennessee.

Following Mexico's 5-4 victory over Costa Rica in a penalty shootout Saturday, El Tri coach Tata Martino criticized the absence of video assistant referee in the Gold Cup.

"It is impossible with the technology there is today and with VAR used in Mexico and in the United States that there isn't VAR in this tournament," he said, per ESPN FC's Tom Marshall. "In the Copa America they stop the game 200 times for VAR; they've pulled back four goals because of VAR, and we don't have VAR."

With the benefit of VAR, Mexican defender Luis Rodriguez almost certainly doesn't concede a penalty in the 51st minute. A day later, the same is probably true for Murillo.

Murillo's arm wasn't in an unnatural position as he was leaping in the air to compete with Mattocks for the ball. Then he had no time to react once the ball came off the Jamaican forward.

Beyond just the penalty, Panama will come away frustrated with the fact it had 61 percent of possession yet managed only two shots on target, per ESPN FC.

Los Canaleros coach Julio Dely Valdes knew exactly how Jamaica was going to approach this match. Jamaica had four goals in the group stage, three of which came in its win over Honduras. Although Leon Bailey gives the Reggae Boyz a creative presence out wide, they're still a work in progress in the attacking third.

Panama simply couldn't find the breakthrough against Jamaica's defense. As a result, it's exiting in the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup for the second consecutive tournament.