July 31, 2017 by hochmancarter
(Courtesy of The Seattle Times)
Written by Carter Hochman
The US men’s national team beat Jamaica by a score of 2-1 to win their sixth ever Gold Cup (’91, ’02, ’05, ’07, ’13, and ’17). What exactly does this mean for US soccer? Well, to be quite frank, not a whole lot. The string of opponents the US had to go through to get to the final were teams that the US should without a doubt be able to beat, along with Jamaica in the final. Along with that, anyone watching the tournament was not only hoping for, but expecting a USA versus Mexico final (until Jamaica upset Mexico in the semifinal with a miraculous free kick to win 1-0). So what the US got as a result was a watered down finale against a Jamaica team that saw their star goalkeeper and captain Andre Blake go down with a hand injury early in the game, following a tournament full of non-exciting teams, in a tournament that is purely cosmetic for the men’s national team.
On the bright side, however, the unbeaten streak has continued to roll under head coach Bruce Arena, on to 14 games, leading back to January 29th when the US drew 0-0 against Serbia. Arena has also fixed the guessing game of a starting 11 that former head coach Jurgen Klinsmann played, which has definitely brought more of a sense of stability to the squad. The USA also sit in 3rd place in World Cup qualifying. Along with that, the US did win this tournament without its major European stars like Christian Pulisic, DeAndre Yedlin, and Bobby Wood.
The US’ main focus is now on their next World Cup qualifying match against Costa Rica on September 1st, a Costa Rica team that will likely see the return of their star goalkeeper Keylor Navas who plays and starts for Real Madrid, who was absent for this tournament. This game should and will be of the utmost importance to the US as it is another step towards qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, a World Cup that if the US misses, could be detrimental to the foundation of US soccer.