The Gold Cup was decided in Santa Clara on Wednesday night, in a physical contest between two of the top teams in North America. It was decided in the waning minutes, as rising USA star Jordan Morris blasted home the game-winning goal with only minutes remaining.
The narrative changed almost instantly for Jamaica, when star keeper Andre Blake was injured just minutes into the contest. Jamaica has built around Blake during this tournament, and Blake’s substitution was a tough pill for the Reggae Boyz to swallow.
The Americans didn’t change tactics after the change, and continued to poke and prod Jamaica’s defense. They got their break just before halftime, when Jozy Altidore smashed a long free kick beyond backup goalie Dwayne Miller.
Down at the half, the Jamaicans did little to adjust their tactics. Relying upon their speed and countering ability, Jamaica leveled the score early in the second half. Je-Vaughn Watson found some space on a corner kick and beat Jordan Morris to the ball, scoring the equalizer on Jamaica’s first shot on goal.
The rest of the second half was anyone’s game, as both teams earned chances on goal. Clint Dempsey hit the post, only to have the effort turned away by Miller, who was valiant as Blake’s replacement.
With the match on the line and minutes fading, the Americans found their winner. After a looping cross from Gyasi Zardes, Morris fired an off-balance shot into the net with only minutes remaining. Morris, who appeared to be the scapegoat up until that point, needed until the final moments to redeem himself.
It’s a huge goal for Morris, who has high expectations for USA but has yet to show his skills on the big stage. On Wednesday, in the biggest moment of his young international career, Morris stepped up and blasted the winner for his country.
The Americans have now won 14 straight under Bruce Arena, who has now won three Gold Cups.