Jamaica holds off Canada in their 2-1 win in the Gold Cup quarterfinals
Jamaica advances to the Gold Cup semi-finals. | Source: SportsNet

It seemed like Jamaica were headed for an easy route to the semi-finals after going up 2-0, but Canada kept up the pressure. Unfortunately, they could only muster one goal. 

A Darren Mattocks cross led to Shaun Francis' opening goal for the Reggae Boyz. Shortly after the halftime break, Romario Williams' screamer doubled the lead, but Junior Hoilett responded with a screamer for Canada. For the Canucks, that was all they could get as they bowed out of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup

Jamaican counter attack puts them ahead

Coming into the match the key for Jamaica was being able to stop Canada and capitalize on their counter attacks.

That’s exactly what they did in the first half.

Canada were the ones that found themselves on the attack for the most part, but one counter attack put the Reggae Boyz ahead.

Darren Mattocks’ cross from the right side skipped across to the far side of the eighteen-yard box, where Shaun Francis one-timed it in off of the crossbar. 

Their lead only furthered their game plan – sit back and absorb the pressure from the Canadians. Cyle Larin found himself the recipient of multiple chances, but he failed to put any in the back of the net. The most glaring miss was a clear header that normally the Orlando City man would put in, but it went wide. This would epitomize a frustrating night for Canada.

Jamaica could not extend their lead and Canada could not equalize before the referee blew for halftime, but there was a sense of frustration coming from the Canucks. The Jamaicans were in the driver’s seat on a road that was headed straight to the semi-finals.

Canada can’t complete the comeback

Five minutes into the second half Canada found themselves in an even bigger mess.

Romario Williams found himself in some space just outside the eighteen-yard box and no Canadian defenders stepped up to defend him. Williams unleashed a curling effort that snuck in the top right corner despite Milan Borjan getting his finger tips on it. Down 2-0, it seemed that Canada was almost knocked out.

Junior Hoilett had other ideas.

Star striker Cyle Larin was subbed off for his less than stellar performance, but soon after Canada would still manage to find its way back.

Mattocks actually had an opportunity to make it 3-0 for Jamaica, but his effort was pushed wide by Milan Borjan. That save would prove to be key in the Canadian comeback.

Hoilett ran towards the Jamaican goal, found some space and launched a curling shot similar to Williams’ goal earlier. Like Williams’ goal, Hoilett’s shot went past a sprawling Andre Blake. It was 2-1 with thirty-minutes left in normal time, leaving plenty of time for the Canadians to complete the comeback.

Andre Blake came up big for Jamaica. | Source: Thearon Henderson
Andre Blake came up big for Jamaica | Source: Thearon Henderson

Once again Hoilett tried his luck from range, but this time Andre Blake made a great save to deny the equalizer. In the ensuing corner, Lucas Cavallini’s header just missed the top left corner. Canada were knocking on the door, and Jamaica’s defense needed to regroup.

Unfortunately for Canada, their remaining efforts weren’t enough.

Andre Blake would have to come to the rescue many times, but the MLS goalkeeper of the year candidate showed time and time again why he is a top goalkeeper. 

What's next?

The Jamaicans will now wait to see who they will take on in the semi-finals. They will face the winner of Mexico and Honduras on Sunday, July 23rd. 

Canada are eliminated from this edition of the Gold Cup, but Octavio Zambrano's side should not be disappointed. They have showed promising signs of drastically improving this tournament and the future looks bright.