The 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup kicked off in style, with Jamaica tying United States 1-1 at Soldier Field. Damion Lowe gave Jamaica an early lead, but Brandon Vazquez grabbed a late equalizer to salvage a point. The second Group A match, Saint Kitts and Nevis vs Trinidad and Tobago, is tomorrow.
Just three minutes into the match, Jamaica’s Damion Lowe was given a yellow card for a dangerous challenge. Five minutes later, his club teammate, Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Andre Blake, made the first save of the match from the shot of United States midfielder Alan Soñora.
Lowe found the back of the net just ten minutes later to give Jamaica the lead. A dangerous free kick was floated into the box by debutant Demarai Gray and Lowe put a diving header past goalkeeper Matt Turner and into the net. United States defender Matt Miazga kept the Jamaican onside.
Jamaica earned a penalty kick in the 27th minute after Aidan Morris clumsily kicked Kevon Lambert in the box. However, Leon Bailey’s penalty kick was saved by Turner, and Bailey’s rebound rolled wide of the open net.
The United States continued to push forward, but struggled to break down Jamaica’s defense — Lowe, in particular, had a strong first half. Jamaica occasionally looked threatening on the break, but Turner did his job and made sure the United States was just one goal down at the half. Jordan Morris almost found the equalizer, but Blake denied him with a clutch save to keep Jamaica’s lead.
The game slowed after the second half, with the United States making early subs to try to get back into the game. However, it was Jamaica who had the better chances, mainly through striker Michail Antonio. In the 70th minute, the United States got a great chance, but Blake made a kick-save to deny Cristian Roldan. The rebound hit Roldan and went out of bounds.
Brandon Vazquez finally found the equalizer in the 88th minute as Jamaican defender Dexter Lembikisa failed to clear the box, leaving Vazquez to slam the ball into the back of the net. Both teams had some late opportunities for a winner but failed to convert.
Jamaica will look to earn three points on Wednesday against Trinidad and Tobago, while the United States will face newcomers Saint Kitts and Nevis that same day.
Image Courtesy of Brand Marketing team of CONCACAF and creative design agency Thirsty., CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.