Hey U.S. fans, look on the bright side. We get an extra soccer game this fall! The USMNT will be in a one game playoff against either Mexico or Jamaica for the privilege of representing CONCACAF in the 2017 Confederations Cup. That bit of fun was brought to you by a loss of stunning proportion to Jamaica. The U.S. gave up two goals in five minutes off of set pieces in the first half and couldn’t mount a useful attack against a determined Jamaican defense. The 2-1 loss, the first to a Caribbean side on U.S. soil since 1968, will sting for a long time, especially for yours truly who was looking forward to going to the Gold Cup Final to watch the U.S. with his son. Not all stories have Hollywood endings. And certainly sports wouldn’t be sports without the heartbreak.
This game was a perfect example of why soccer statistics can sometimes lie. If you didn’t watch the game and just looked at the box score you might think that the U.S. was simply unlucky. They held 60% of the possession and completed 82% of their passes. They outshot the Jamaicans 20-10 and put 7 more shots on goal (10-3). The U.S. won the expected goal battle by a score of 2.3.-1.0, but looked up at the scoreboard at the end and saw the final score was actually reversed. Read More
On Saturday the U.S.A. cruised to a 6-0 victory over Cuba in the Gold Cup quarterfinals and advanced to play Jamaica in the semifinals. When a country with the population and the financial resources of the U.S. pounds on a country whose players are much more intrigued with the idea of leaving the team, it’s hard to get too excited about the victory. It’s an even harder match to break down statistically. How do you analyze a drubbing? Let’s just all feel good, right? Believe it or not I’ve found some statistics that will sober you right up. Read More
This is a young and dynamic team that has all the various attributes that are so often associated with Jamaica. They've got speed and are a very attacking club, but they come with a bit more technique this time around. Unfortunately, after just participating in the Copa America, this call-up is a bit weaker than what we'd normally expect for a Gold Cup. Read More
Speaking of the Copa America, they only managed 8 shots inside the box against Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina, and surrendered 16 across their three group games. Which seems… not good. Until you consider that Uruguay is ranked 12th , Paraguay is ranked 37th and Argentina is still number deuce in the world according to ELOrating.net. Things look suddenly a little bit more rosy.