This game took place in front a spectacular crowd with fans from Mexico, Jamaica and America. The attendance was the biggest in the state’s history (68,930). This is Mexico’s fifth time reaching the Gold Cup Finals while it was Jamaica’s first.
The game started off well with both teams trying to keep possession and to get a feel for each other. Jamaica created the first chance by breaking down the left hand side in the 6th minute but Barnes was pulled down on the edge of the box (professional foul). The free kick resulted in a great cross in from Austin only needed someone to get a header on it and it would have gone in. A minute later Jamaica created yet another chance with two back-to-back crosses only needing someone to get on the end of them.
First 10 mins Mexico’s defense is all over the place. Mexico was then able to set and broke down the left hand side after some scrappy play which resulted in a teasing cross. The play started with JA keeping possession and Mexico playing on the counter which seemed like the opposite way to start.
Mexico created their first half chance but some good defending from Morgan allowed Jamaica to break up the play. Mexico began to see more of the ball mid-way through the second half but JA was patient in defense. Corona forced Jamaica’s keeper Blake into a great save where he got up higher than his marker for a wonderful header. Mexico continued to press in the 25 minute where Peralta’s shot was deflected wide. Soon as Jamaica started to find the ball again, Mexico broke down the left with Corona doing well to turn his man before chipping his shot over the bar. Mexico started to become more dangerous.
Guardado scored a sublime volley following a lovely cross from the left hand side from Aguilar. Barnes was a constant threat and forced Ochoa into a good save off a header. JA continued to press, breaking down the left which resulted in a teasing cross that McAnuff couldn’t get on the end of, just missed the post. The half ended with Mexico on the front foot.
The Second half started in the same fashion; Mexico was on the front foot and grabbed a 2-0 lead from Corona who has stepped in well for Vela. He fought for the ball and slotted it home well. Fatigue kicked in and Mexico continued to outworked the Jamaicans and creating chances. Mexico went up 3-0 after another mistake from Hector who failed to clear and it fell right onto Peralta’s foot for the sitter. Guardado was then replaced in the 62nd minute to a standing ovation which was deserved.
Darren Mattocks provided the spark the Jamaicans needed. He did well to cut inside his man and slotted one home in the corner. Mexico continued to dominate with the Jamaican players understandably tired. Here’s what Mattocks had to say after the game:
Great run, mixed feelings, hats off to Mexico. Shows we can compete and a step in the right direction. First time we went down after playing so well, it affect the mindset. We rep the Caribbean well and its something to build on.
The score line was fair, Jamaica had their chances, but a quality team like Mexico was able to ride the wave in the first 20 minutes and did enough to win the game. Jamaica can hold their heads high and build for the up coming CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers.