Defying expectations once again, the CONCACAF Gold Cup final is shaping up to be a more interesting showdown than expected.
When Jamaica upset Mexico in the semi finals last weekend, all eyes shifted to a mid-week showdown with one of the confederation’s superpowers: the U.S. men’s national team.
Though the Reggae Boyz managed to work their way into the finals, it was done largely by stifling a Mexico squad largely made up of depth players.
Faced with a U.S. attack that netted two stunners against Costa Rica, Minnesota United defender Jermaine Taylor seemed even keeled but optimistic.
“I know for sure they are going to be watching tapes of our games, but I suspect they are going to take us lightly, knowing that they are America and they think they are world giants and that's good for us," Taylor told the Jamaica Observer. "We want to go into the game as underdogs and prove to the world what we can do.”
Taylor is under no illusion that Wednesday’s match will be easy (and he shouldn’t be), but he is optimistic that he and the rest of the Jamaican back line can hold their own against the United States’ high-octane attack.
“When you look at [the USA's] front six — I think that is the most dangerous part of their team," Taylor continued. "And if we compare our back six with their front six I think we can nullify what they have to offer."
The Boyz should rightfully hold their heads high after fighting their way to a final, especially after knocking out Mexico (in front of a stadium brimming with Mexico fans) on the way.
That said, I think Taylor and the rest of the Jamaican defense are in for a rude awakening at the hands of the U.S. Mexico’s game day squad was a second-tier showing from a powerhouse that didn’t want to risk their first-string talent on the Gold Cup. On the other hand, the U.S. will bring at least five guaranteed World Cup starters to the final match. Sure, the U.S. isn’t a global power yet, but we’re sure trending in that direction.
The semi-final match against Costa Rica showed that this squad can control the pace of play reasonably well and is able to put together dangerous attacks when the chips are down late in the match. My crystal ball is showing a 2-0 USMNT win tonight.
Taylor most recently appeared domestically in the Loons’ 3-1 loss to NYCFC on June 30th. He has featured sporadically in the Loons’ inaugural MLS season, logging just under 500 minutes thus far in the campaign.
The CONCACAF Gold Cup final kicks off tonight at 8:30 pm on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports GO.