After dominant performances against both Mexico and Canada to help the USMNT secure their second consecutive Nations League title, B.J. Callaghan and his USMNT squad will look to secure their second consecutive Gold Cup title. The USMNT will be in Group A along with Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. To start off their Gold Cup tournament, the United States will be facing Jamaica, who will have fellow Union players Andre Blake and Damion Lowe playing for the squad. The match will be taking place at 9:30 PM EST in Soldier Field.
USMNT vs Jamaica Preview
When these two teams have faced off against each other, things seem to always go in the way of the United States. In 31 matches against Jamaica, the United has 19 wins, 9 draws, and 3 defeats. Throughout those 31 matches, seven of them have been in the Gold Cup, where the United States has 6 wins and 1 loss against the Reggae Boyz.
The last time that these two sides met was in the 2021 edition of the Gold Cup where the United States defeated Jamaica by a score of 1-0 in the quarterfinals of the tournament. Matthew Hoppe scored a goal in the 83rd minute to lead the USMNT to the semifinals, and they would eventually win the whole thing. While the USMNT has dominated the meetings in the Gold Cup, a majority of them have been close, and things are expected to be the same on Saturday.
While there are a few names that stick out as a possible X-Factor for this Jamaica side, there is one name that sticks out more than the others. The individual that I am going to put as the X-Factor for this squad will be the Aston Villa man, Leon Bailey. In 33 matches for Aston Villa this past season, Bailey had 4 goals and 4 assists, inserting himself as a main man for Unai Emery’s side.
The United States will need to keep an eye on the 25-year-old, as he can hit you in any direction. Whether it is creating chances for his teammates, or creating chances for himself, Leon Bailey is someone that can change the match if he is needed to. Being able to stop Bailey would be an important aspect for the USMNT if they are looking to claim the three points in their opening match.
For the United States Men’s National Team, there is one big name that sticks out to me as a possible X-Factor for both this match and the entire tournament. This individual goes by the name of Alex/Alejandro Zendejas; he plays his club football at Club America of Liga MX. Last season with Club America in Liga MX, Zendejas scored 11 goals and contributed with 4 assists in 34 matches. He showed the type of talent that he has, and why he should be someone on the main squad for the USMNT.
Now, Zendejas was a member of the USMNT squad who won the Nations League but did not appear once, providing a path for a decent amount of minutes in the Gold Cup. Zendejas has a lot of creativity with his play and could create some crucial chances for the USMNT in this match, and throughout the tournament.
The USMNT is looking to start off with a huge three points in Group A, as they look to try and repeat as Gold Cup Champions this year. This Jamaican side will not be an easy way to stop, so I am expecting B.J. Callaghan to put as strong of a lineup together as possible.
If Callaghan does continue to run with the 4-2-3-1 that he used during the Nations League, I could see the USMNT Starting XI looking like the following: Turner, Jones, Long, Robinson, Yedlin, Sands, Roldan, Mihailovic, Morris, Zendejas, and Ferreira. For this predicted Starting XI, I have B.J. Callaghan selecting both a mixture of youth and veteran players for his side, but remember, a prediction is a prediction for a reason.
For the match prediction, I see the USMNT taking care of business against Jamaica in their first match of the Gold Cup. While the USMNT is much weaker than it was during the Nations League, and the Jamaica squad has some top players in it, the USMNT should not have any issues in this match.
I am expecting it to be a well-fought match, but eventually, the United States will break through and take control of things. This Jamaican side is winless in their last 5 matches played, and the United States will look to make that six tomorrow night!
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