USA vs. Jamaica
The Quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup continue with arguably the marquee match of the round, as Jamaica and the USA meet at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
Jamaica comes into this match as the best team outside of Mexico and winners of Group B, they are the only other team to have won all three of their group games. This teams performances have been so eye opening as of late that many (including myself) are raising comparisons to The Reggae Boyz of 98’ the team that made it to their first and only World Cup, there is just a feeling that something special is about to happen with this team between now and World Cup Qualifying but they have a lot to prove. Hearing interviews with players from the 98’ Reggae Boyz the sediment is that this team is much more athletic, skilled on the ball and have notoriety with many players plying their trade in MLS but the 11’ team may lack the leadership from an outfield player, the main holdover from both sides is Donovan Ricketts but he’s the goalkeeper and due to his position he is just not able to lead in certain situations. For this team to continue their road to success Coach Theodore Whitmore (a key member of the 98’ squad) will need the likes of Dane Richards, Ryan Johnson and Demar Phillips to continue their good form and for the defense to put in a steady and consistent effort.
As for USA, they qualified as runners up in Group C and a shock result against Panama followed up by a less then impressive performance against Guadeloupe has raised serious questions from both media and supporters about this particular USA squad. Add to that Coach Bob Bradley giving star players Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey time off before their most important match in order for them to attend family events (their respective sisters weddings) raises even more questions, the main ones being will they be back in time for the match? And if they are will they start? What we do know is with these two players in the line up this is arguably the best midfield in the tournament, but the weakness of this side clearly lies in the defense and if it wasn’t for a superstar in goalkeeper Tim Howard they might not even be in the Quarterfinals. For USA to advance further in the tournament they will need Jozy Altidore to be a consistent goal threat and for the defense not to make the critical error.
This is a really good match up; the key area to watch will be the USA midfield against the Jamaican forward line. I’m going with the OVER in this match; if everyone is present and accounted for then this should be pure entertainment.