Matthew Hoppe score his first international goal in the 83rd minute and New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner made 5 saves in a shutout as the United States advanced to the Gold Cup semifinals with a 1-0 win over Jamaica.
It was a nervy start for the USA as a turnover in the first minute nearly led to a shot on goal. Jamaica did well to cause turnovers, particularly in the first half, as the USMNT has been committed to play out of the back. But sloppy passing and a rotating midfield triangle combined with Jamaica’s pressure made things tough going in the early stages.
The US did manage some good moments of play, usually via Hoppe on the left wing. Shaq Moore was again a bright spot getting forward and getting involved inside the box. The USA’s best chance in the first half came in the 22nd minute, when Hoppe latched onto a ball inside the area and fire a shot towards the low corner only to have Jamaica and Philadelphia Union keeper Andre Blake parry it wide.
Jamaica nearly found the opening goal near halftime, with back to back shots on goal in teh 39th and 41st minute. A turnover from Hoppe turned into a quick counter and Junior Flemmings unleashed a shot from outside the box destined for the side netting but for the intervention of Turner at full stretch. Moments later Bobby Reid was left all alone inside the penalty area but couldn’t get much behind his shot as it went straight to Turner and a scoreless first half closed.
The second half started much better for the US, who earned a quick corner and nearly the opener in the 47th minute. A poor clearance from Jamaica led to a recycled ball from Dike to Hoppe but the youngster’s shot was right at Blake who held on.
Substitutes Gyasi Zardes and Christian Roldan entered at the hour mark and the US began to increase their pressure. Zardes fired a shot moments after coming on in the 65th that was parried away by Blake.
The winner would come from another recycled ball, as Shaq Moore collected in the middle of the attacking half and found Roldan in space on the right wing. A back post cross towards Zardes and Hoppe was sent in and Blake came off his line for a clearance but missed and Hoppe nodded home his first international goal in his third appearance.
Some nailbiting moments at the end with a couple of late Jamaica free kicks, including keeper Blake clashing heads with US defender Miles Robinson on a late set piece, ended up amounting to no shots on goal and the US advanced with a slim 1-0 victory.
Up next for the USA will be the invitees Qatar, 3-2 winners over El Salvador in their quartfinal on Saturday. The Gold Cup semifinals will be played on Thursday July 29th, with the USA-Qatar match up first at 730pm EST from Q2 Stadium in Austin. The winner will play in the final against the Mexico-Canada winner, the second semifinal from NRG Stadium in Houston at 10pm EST.