FC Dallas’ JeVaughn Watson, the Houston Dynamo’s Giles Barnes and Jamaica take on the United States in the first Gold Cup Semifinal today in a bit of a David v. Goliath match, but all may not be what it seems.
The United States comes into the match with bags of confidence. The current champions, they have beaten fellow CONCACAF World Cup participant Honduras, along with Gold Cup upstart Haiti, and tied Panama in dominating the Group of Death, and then smothered overwhelmed Cuba in their first knockout round match.
Jamaica, on the the other hand, came out of a fairly weak group with Costa Rica not playing to its 2014 World Cup form, and Canada and El Salvador underwhelming with their play, to say the least. But they did win the group nonetheless and come into tonight’s match with the confidence of exceeding expectations, and also having been competitive in their 2015 Copa America run where they lost to Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina all by 1-0 scorelines. While the losses put them out of the tournament, it showed that they could at least put up a fight against bigger sides and look to take that confidence into the game today.
While Watson missed out on the quarterfinal win siting out due to yellow card accumulation, Barnes notched the match winner in beating Haiti. As fresh legs, Watson could very well return to the lineup and Barnes will be full of confidence.
The United States has every reason to believe in itself today, but if they do not take the Caribbean nation seriously, they could find themselves fighting for their tournament lives.