It may not have the gravitas of the World Cup, but the Gold Cup is its own special brand of entertainment. It's a tournament that regularly sees the United States through to the Final and the USMNT will have a chance to make it six straight Final appearances with a win tonight against Caribbean powerhouse Jamaica.
The United States' run through the Gold Cup has been marred by a number of inconsistent performances. Their 2-1 group stage win against Honduras looks less impressive after what Honduras in their next (and last) two Gold Cup games. The U.S. only beat Haiti 1-0 in their second group stage game, which while unimpressive was enough for the U.S. to clinch first place in Group A allowing them to take it easy against Panama, masters of the 1-1 draw, in a 1-1 draw. But Jurgen Klinsmann's USMNT came alive against undermanned Cuba in an impressive 6-0 quarter-final win that could have easily been more lopsided than it was.
Jamaica's Reggae Boyz on the other hand were fortunate to be drawn away from both the United States and Mexico in the group stage. The only blemish on their Gold Cup resume is a 2-2 draw against injury stricken Costa Rica in their first match. Since then Jamaica have defeated Canada and El Salvador each by a 1-0 scoreline to top Group B and in the quarter-finals, Jamaica found themselves against the aforementioned Haiti squad defeating them 1-0, much like the U.S. did in the group stage.
Perhaps of interest for Philadelphia Union fans is Union back-up goalkeeper Andre Blake's status as a bench player for the Reggae Boyz. When Jamaica's initial starting goalkeeper Dwayne Miller went down with an injury in the group stage, Jamaica manager Winfried Schäfer opted to bring in Pittsburgh Riverhounds goalkeeper Ryan Thompson instead of Blake, to the disappointment of Union fans who surely wanted to glimpse their former #1 overall draft pick since buried on the depth chart.
Kickoff: 6:00 PM ET
Venue: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
Television and Commentators: Fox Sports 1 (English) - John Strong and Brad Friedel, Reporter: Julie Stewart-Binks.
UniMás/Univision Deportes (Español) - Luis Omar Tapia, Jorge Perez Navarro, Diego Balado, y Marcelo Balboa.