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Mexico defeat Jamaica to qualify to U15 CONCACAF Championship Final

Mexico suffered at times but was able to get a 3-0 victory over Jamaica that booked their ticket to the final.

via @miseleccionmx

Mexico had a better score but not a better performance as they defeated Jamaica for a second time in the tournament, this time with a 3-0 score, to get to the 2023 U15 CONCACAF Championship final. Mexico once again struggled to create much opportunities and for the first time in the tournament, had to come up with big saves numerous times from their goalkeeper although they still controlled possession and were the better team. Mexico will now face the United States in the Final on Sunday as they hope to end their increasing struggles as the tournament drags on.

The first half started with a Jamaica that surprised Mexico by going on offense from the start. Off of a corner kick, a cross into the area bounced and was headed by Maalick White, forcing Mexico’s goalkeeper Santiago Lopez to make a great save. Later White got a shot from outside the area that went wide. Mexico started to gain more possession but hadn’t created any chances as dangerous as Jamaica had. Jamaica then got another chance when Geovanni Taylor got into the area and hit a shot that was blocked by Lopez. Although Jamaica had another chance where they were more dangerous, now it came in a very rare attack as Mexico had monopolized the possession. Mexico had their first great chance when Viggo Ortiz made a great run and got off a right footed shot that would get past Jamaica’s goalkeeper, J Murray and hit the post. Mexico then threatened again with Ortiz getting off a right footed shot that went just wide. Then after a ball into the area wasn’t cleared well by Jamaica’s defense, Bryan Rodriguez got off a left footed shot from outside the area that was deflected past Murray and into the net for the goal that gave Mexico the 1-0 lead. While Mexico hadn’t been as dangerous as past games, they had been slightly better and the lead was deserved. Mexico was able to hold on, and took the one goal lead to the dressing room as the halftime whistle blew.

The second half started with Mexico hoping to improve against a Jamaican said that needed to get back into the game soon. It took 30 seconds for them to make an impact as Taylor got off a great right footed shot from outside the area that forced Lopez to make a great save. Mexico answered back with some dangerous runs that didn’t lead to shots but put Jamaica on notice. Then off of a free kick, Gilberto Mora stepped up and got off a great right footed shot that surprised everybody, including Murray, as the ball went past him and into the net to give Mexico the 2-0 lead. It was a great free kick from a tough angle and Mora did a great job with it. Jamaica answered however when Taylor got a free kick and hit a great shot of his own, but Lopez did a good job of saving it. There was controversy when after a bad clearance in the area, it looked like Adrian Villa handled the ball but nothing was called as Jamaica clamored for a PK. Replays showed that although it was accidental, Mexico should have been called for a handball. With a deflected shot and another chance that was just finished with a bad shot, Mexico started to gain more chances as Jamaica allowed space in their desperation for a goal. Then Jamaica then had a chance when Taylor got past Lozano and shot the ball past him, but a Mexican defender was able to clear the ball and start a great counter attack. The counter ended with a longball into the area that found Juan Rangel, who then waited to pass it into the path of Gilberto Mora, who got off a great right footed shot past Murray that went into the net and gave Mexico the 3-0 lead. The scoreboard looked like it could be decided as Mexico should be able to take care of a three goal lead even as Jamaica grew desperate and started to foul more. A bad clearance for Mexico allowed a Jamaican player to get off a shot that forced a save from Lopez. Then after a possible punch against Rangel, the referee showed a red card to Jamaican player D. Burgher, leaving the Reggae Boyz with 10, basically finishing any slim chance of a comeback. A pass into the area found Orel Miller, who got off a right footed shot that forced Lopez to make a good save. Later a cross into the area found Miller again, but his header was saved by Lopez. A cross into the area looked to be a sure goal but a Jamaican defender cleared the ball off the feet of Gamboa. Finally a minute before the end, a cross into the area found Taylor and from close range, Lopez had to make a great save. It was the last chance and Mexico got the win that gave them the ticket to the final.

Mexico got a great result against Jamaica but overall their performance didn’t reflect it and Mexico struggled more than they did in their match against Puerto Rico, even when they only won 1-0. Mexico keeps struggling and it seems that the busy calendar of the tournament has taken it’s toll. For the first time in the tournament, Mexico needed their goalkeeper to bail them out as Jamaica had a much better performance that they did in the group stage against Mexico. It has to be said that the biggest number of saves and the most dangerous Jamaica was all came after Mexico already had the 3-0 lead. Still Mexico needs to improve on defense as they still looked weak, and although they now didn’t try to come out playing from the back constantly, they had a number of mistakes clearing balls, maybe a side effect of their normal strategy of coming out playing. Mexico will have a very tough test in the final against the United States, who although they only won by a 1-0 score in their semifinal match against Haiti, might be slightly favored over Mexico because of their better record, boosted by a 10 goal win over Cuba in the group stage. Yet Mexico might have what it takes as they also have won all their matches just like the United States. Regardless it will be a tough task for both teams, as another chapter in the biggest rivalry in CONCACAF faces off again.