The United States was close to a catastrophic defeat in its Gold Cup bid, as it intended to defend the title. With the B team, the Stars and Stripes struggled most of the game, seeing themselves on the scoreboard, until in the final stretch Brandon Vasquez got a 1-1 tie to keep the Americans’ aspirations burning.
Assuming they had won the Nations League a week early, the United States entered the tournament with an alternate selection. Without stars like Christian Pulisic, Ricardo Pepe or Giovanni Reina, coach BJ Callahan has opted for young players like Aidan Morris, Alan Sonora and Alejandro Zendegas.
But the champion’s overconfidence led to a mistake, as Jamaica showed its potential through an attacking trident consisting of Leon Bailey, Demara Gray and Michel Antonio, who excelled in the Premier League.
Thus, the goal of Reggae Boys When Demare Gray accurately hit a free kick that reached the heart of the area, he set Damion Lowe (13), without a mark, to send the ball into the net. Jamaica also fell foul when Bailey missed a penalty.
The Americans were reluctant to lose at the start of the Gold Cup, so Vasquez (88) entered the sequel, which saved the champion. The Mexican-American saved a ball after a bad rebound from behind and without hesitation fired the ball into the net, which restored the morale of the stands.
Mexico went from CONCACAF Nations League disappointment to Gold Cup hope in less than 10 days. And since football is a kind of rollercoaster, Jaime Lozano considered the responsibility he had as interim coach of Tricolor the same thing that brought him to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, so far his masterpiece.
“Winning the bronze medal put me in some people’s minds, for sure one of them was Juan Carlos Rodriguez,” he recalled of the chief commissioner of the Mexican Football Federation who fired Argentine Diego Coca after the Nations League. Convince him to lead the team without any demands. “The only thing he asked me about was to encourage me to take the position, and he never asked me for anything else. I have a lot to gain.”
Since arriving in Houston, Lozano has only had three days of training before today’s game against Honduras. In that period, former midfielder Sebastian Córdova lost due to injury, and Diego Lanez was recalled in the last minute. “In the dressing room, not everyone was satisfied, but the situation wasn’t that serious either.”
Looking at recent results in the World Cup and CONCACAF, goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa admitted that “the only place we can talk to the fans is on the pitch.” Likewise, he responded to those who questioned his desire to play his sixth trophy: “This is a national team, not under 23, 25 or 30. Everyone who can contribute is welcome.”