Midfielders Darlington Nagbe, Michael Bradley guide U.S. to Gold Cup title
The United States found a late winner from Jordan Morris and reclaimed the Gold Cup with a 2-1 win over Jamaica in Santa Clara, California, on Wednesday night.
The Americans used their talent advantage to apply significant pressure to Jamaica all night and found the goals they needed to win. While it wasn't comprehensive, there's no reason to think this wasn't a deserved victory for a better team. Bruce Arena's squad kept up its energy when Jamaica leveled the game and threatened to take things to extra time.
The set-piece marking left a lot to be desired and led directly to the Jamaica goal. The Americans struggled with the Jamaican counterattack, and might have been punished more on a different day. The U.S. had most of the possession but was too often stymied by Jamaica's collective defending. Movement off the ball could have been better.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- A little good, a little bad for the USMNT boss. Kellyn Acosta's mediocre performance in partnership with Michael Bradley, and the Americans' inability to break the Jamaicans down through the middle, falls at Bruce Arena's feet. With wide areas available to them, the U.S. exploited those spaces but were unable to create real danger. Arena's substitutions were somewhat effective, particularly Clint Dempsey, who again added a creative spark off the bench.
Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best -- players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Tim Howard, 7 -- Had little to do against a team that sat deep. Commanded his box as expected.
DF Graham Zusi, 6 -- Not tested often defensively but struggled in a few moments. Solid on the ball but played some poor passes that would be punished against better teams.
DF Matt Besler, 7 -- Solid. Unspectacular. Played his position and defended as needed.
DF Omar Gonzalez, 6.5 -- Lost Darren Mattocks in one poor moment in the first half but recovered well. Good in the air, threatened on set pieces.
DF Jorge Villafana, 6.5 -- Got up and down the line and gave the Americans width all night. Inconsistent with cross and lacked a good enough touch to turn good moments into chances.
MF Paul Arriola, 6.5 -- Active and energetic but never found the final pass or connection to make a difference on the attacking end. Split night between good moments and questionable decisions.
MF Michael Bradley, 8.5 -- Passed well and served as the fulcrum in midfield with composure. Showed off his incredible engine, especially on Jamaica's counter opportunities.
MF Kellyn Acosta, 5.5 -- Sacrificed for Dempsey at 55 minutes, somewhat of an indictment of his evening. Never found the speed of play and was at times too hectic and overactive.
MF Darlington Nagbe, 9 -- Simply brilliant in two different spots on the field. Excellent in possession all night long. Slid into the middle in the second half and linked play from back to front.
FW Jordan Morris, 7.5 -- Hit the winner with authority when the U.S. pressure was mounting. Lost a mark on Jamaica's goal but never looked out of the game.
FW Jozy Altidore, 8.5 -- Dropped deep to good effect in the first half. Hit the stunning free kick to give the Americans a lead. Did yeoman's work with hold-up play and pushing the ball into wide areas at the point of the formation.
FW Clint Dempsey, 7.5 -- Immediately showed off his creative influence after coming on early in the second half. Didn't get a goal but played a role in the American pressure that led to the winner.
MF Gyasi Zardes, NR -- Slow to make decisions when given a chance to impact the game.
MF Dax McCarty, NR -- Just a cameo for the midfielder.
Jason Davis covers Major League Soccer and the United States national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @davisjsn.