For the first time ever, a Caribbean Football Union nation is going to the Finals for a second consecutive cycle as Jamaica defeated Mexico 1-0 in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. The Philadelphia Union’s Andre Blake was flawless, stopping everything the Mexican offense threw at them, and Kemar Lawrence hit a free kick for the ages to send Jamaica through.
The first half was a defensive clinic courtesy of Theodore Whitmore’s Reggae Boyz. The Jamaicans kept numbers back and gave Mexico very little decent looks at goal. The few looks they did have were saved by Andre Blake. First it was two back-to-back saves in the 12th minute - the first a kick save on a deflection and the second a punch-out on the rebound.
Then in the 25th minute, Blake played this header by Houston Dynamo forward Cubo Torres perfectly and parried it safely away.
Then just as the half was ending, Blake came out to snatch a cross out of the air like he should have been wearing a cape.
Blake wasn’t the only story though, as Cubo was whistled for a yellow card in the 28th minute that could have easily been a red card for going studs up into the back of Damion Lowe’s leg. Cubo would be subbed off at the half for Angel Sepulveda.
The second half was more of the same, as Jamaica continued to focus on defense and looking to break on the counterattack. Darren Mattocks gave Edson Alvarez problems all night down Mexico’s left flank, breaking with regularity and thoroughly frustrating the young left back.
The story though was Andre Blake. At every opportunity, he stopped shot after shot from the Mexican offense.
In the 88th minute, Kemar Lawrence hit a beautiful free kick that stunned the crowd and put Jamaica through to the Gold Cup Final for the second consecutive cycle.
Andre Blake and Jamaica will face Philadelphia Union teammate Chris Pontius on Wednesday in Santa Clara, California.
Mexico: Jesus Corona; Jesus Duenas, Jair Pereira, Hugo Ayala, Edson Alvarez; Jesus Molina, Rodolfo Pizarro (Raul Lopez, 77’), Erick Gutierrez (Jesus Gallardo, 59’); Orbelin Pineda, Elias Hernandez, Erick Torres (Angel Sepulveda, 46’)
Jamaica: Andre Blake; Kemar Lawrence, Jermaine Taylor, Damion Lowe, Alvas Powell; Shaun Francis (Ricardo Morris, 53’), Je-Vaughn Watson, Ladale Richie, Owayne Gordon; Darren Mattocks (Sergio Campbell, 90;), Romario Williams (Michael Binns, 77’)
Scoring: Mexico - None; Jamaica - Kemar Lawrence (88’)
Disciplinary: Mexico - Edson Alvarez (Yellow, 25’), Erick Torres (Yellow, 28’) ; Jamaica - Shaun Francis (Yellow, 33’), Romario Williams (Yellow, 58’), Owayne Gordon (Yellow, 80’)