Mexico played their best match of the tournament, defeating Jamaica by a 3-0 score to qualify to the Final of the 2023 Gold Cup. An early goal and a great performance from the team gave Mexico the win against a Jamaican team that was one of the favorites to win it all. Mexico was superior from the start and pressured their opposition, who were kind of surprised by Mexico’s performance. Mexico will now face a tough final match against the other surprise team, Panama, who defeated Mexico’s main rival, the United States in the other semifinal.
The first half started with Mexico coming out without an injured Edson Alvarez, Luis Romo took his place and Erick Sanchez took Romo’s place on the field. Jamaica was on the attack from the start, however they paid dearly for it. Jamaica lost the ball and give Mexico a great counter attack with a possible four-on-two. Although Jamaica got into the area, Jesus Gallardo still got off a cross that went straight to Henry Martin, who took the time to get off a left footed shot past Jamaica’s goalkeeper Andre Blake for the goal that gave Mexico the 1-0 lead. It was a great start for Mexico, and the early goal meant that Jamaica would have to open up to get that tying goal. Mexico continued creating dangerous chances, and Erick Sanchez got off a left footed shot from outside the area that forced Blake to make a good save. Jamaica tried to bounce back, but that allowed Mexico to have space to counter and they were taking full advantage of it. A shot from outside the area from Luis Chavez went just wide. After a good move, Demarai Gray got off a strong right footed shot that was saved by Mexico’s goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa. Off of a free kick just outside the area, Luis Chavez stepped up and take it and got off a masterful left footed shot that went past Blake and into the net for the goal that gave Mexico the 2-0 lead. It was a wonderful goal, giving everybody memories of Chavez’s great goal against Saudi Arabia in the 2022 World Cup. Mexico continued to have better possession as Jamaica now needed to get a two goals to tie, and they really looked like they felt it. Mexico had some other opportunities, but the halftime whistle blew with Mexico taking a commanding lead after a great half.
The second half started with Jamaica subbing out Kevon Lambert for Shamar Nicholson. Jamaica had a chance when Michail Antonio got off a right footed shot from outside the area that went just wide. Jamaica then subbed out Javain Brown for Dexter Lembikisa. A pass into the area found Antonio, whose left footed shot went wide. A great cross by Jorge Sanchez, went over the head of Blake and almost got into the net, going just wide and over the post. There was a clash between Uriel Antuna and Leon Bailey that ended with both on the ground. Antuna had made the first foul, but replays showed that Bailey got a kick after it that should have been a red card but incredibly even with VAR, nothing was given. Mexico subbed out Henry Martin and Erick Sanchez for Santiago Gimenez and Carlos Rodriguez. A great cross from Orbelin Pineda was just out of reach of Rodriguez before Jamaica’s defense cleared the ball. Antonio then got a shot that was deflected into the hands of Ochoa. Mexico subbed out Uriel Antuna and Luis Chavez for Roberto Alvarado and Edson Alvarez. After a terrible mistake from Romo that allowed a Jamaican counter, Antonio got into the area but his right footed shot was saved by Ochoa. Gimenez got into the area but his left footed shot was blocked by Blake and then a defender and was ruled to be offside. A pass into the area went through Rodriguez’s legs and Gimenez had to reach it but his shot was blocked. Jamaica subbed out Joel Latibeaudiere and Michail Antonio for Daniel Johnson and Dujuan Richards. Mexico subbed out Orbelin Pineda for Diego Lainez. A great move by Gimenez made for a run and a great pass that Rodriguez did a terrible job by whiffing on the shot, missing a great chance. A cross into the area found a wide open Gray, but his header went well wide. A great play by Lainez started a run after he got past two Jamaican players and then made a great pass to Gallardo, who made a great run and then got a pass into the area that found a wide open Roberto Alavarado. “Piojo” easily shot the ball past Blake and into the net for the goal that gave Mexico the 3-0 lead. The match ended moments later, and Mexico had the ticket to the final after their best performance of the tournament.
Mexico struck at the right time and took advantage of Jamaica’s game plan to get the result. Jamaica believed their own hype (which was somewhat deserved) and went into attack mode from the start, something that most teams don’t do against Mexico and for a good reason. This opened them up and led to Mexico’s early goal and then the need to go for the tying goal gave Mexico enough space to play to their strengths, something that Mexico isn’t used to against CONCACAF opposition. A great level shown by most starters gave Mexico the ability to maintain their level for most of the match, with Jamaica never coming close to getting a goal. Now Mexico will face a tougher task against Panama. Not only has Panama been playing great in the tournament but they have a great coach in Thomas Cristiansen and will be ready for Mexico especially after the somewhat surprise that was their performance in the Semifinal match. Thus the Jamaican mistake will probably not repeat itself especially against a Panama side that already played against Mexico and lost in the third place Nations League match. Mexico will have a tough task in Los Angeles on Sunday in front of a crowd that will definitely be Pro Mexico.