Mexico will not have the chance to defend their Gold Cup title after falling 1-0 to Jamaica in Sunday’s semifinal. El Tri was unable to score on the Reggae Boyz in the group stage or tonight’s semifinal, while Jamaica made a late free kick count to send them to their second straight Gold Cup final.
Goalkeeper Andre Blake repeatedly came up big for Jamaica as he stopped a deflected Jesús Dueñas shot in the 12th minute and then followed it up with a save on Erick Torres on the rebound.
He then stopped Torres again in the 24th minute when “Cubo” got his head on a cross from Elías Hernández. The Houston Dynamo player was then lucky to remain on the field after a supremely reckless challenge on Damion Lowe in the 29th minute resulted in only a yellow card.
Most of the first-half chances went Mexico’s way, but in the 38th minute Jesús Corona produced an important save to keep out Jermaine Taylor’s free kick attempt as Jamaica looked to snatch the lead before halftime.
In the second half, Jamaica picked up the pace and began to test Corona more often, while Blake continued to be man-of-the-match for the Reggae Boyz with save after save.
The breakthrough wouldn’t come for either team, and with time running down it looked like the game would have to be decided on penalties. Then, in the 86th minute, Hugo Ayala fouled Michael Binns about 25 yards out and Jamaica had a free kick in a very dangerous position.
Kemar Lawrence took the free kick and sent his curling left-footed effort past a stranded Corona and into the net to give Jamaica the shock 1-0 lead.
Mexico was unable to find an equalizer in the scant minutes remaining as Jamaica held on for the upset victory.
With the 1-0 win, Jamaica advances to the final to face the U.S. while Mexico is eliminated.
Mexico: José de Jesús Corona, Hugo Ayala, Edson Álvarez, Jair Pereira, Erick Gutiérrez (Jesús Gallardo 59′), Jesús Dueñas, Jesús Molina, Rodolfo Pizarro, Orbelín Pineda, Elías Hernández (Raúl López 79′), Erick Torres (Ángel Sepúlveda 45′).
Jamaica: Andre Blake, Jermaine Taylor, Damion Lowe, Kemar Lawrence, Alvas Powell, Je-Vaughn Watson, Ladale Richie, Shaun Francis (Ricardo Morris 53′), Owayne Gordon, Romario Williams (Michael Binns 77′), Darren Mattocks (Sergio Campbell 92′).