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USMNT rescues win over Jamaica in extra time, advances to Concacaf Nations League Final



ARLINGTON — For 94 minutes, the United States was mired in a nightmare from which it woke up just in time.

With an own goal late in regulation, the USMNT tied the game and ended up winning 3-1 in extra time against Jamaica in the Concacaf Nations League semifinal on Thursday at AT&T Stadium.

“It was miraculous,” said United States coach Gregg Berhalter, referring to the goal with which his team tied the game.

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The United States had to come from behind to steal the game when Jamaica took the early lead on the scoreboard.

Just 30 seconds into the game, Jamaica took the lead when a throw-in from the right flank got behind the U.S. defense and Gregory Leigh headed in a Bobby De Cordova-Reid cross.

Leigh’s goal after 30 seconds is the fastest goal from kickoff scored against the USMNT in the last 24 years, according to soccer statistics agency OptaJack.

Jamaica could have scored for the second time when, in the 62nd minute, Renaldo Chapas led a counterattack and stood alone in front of United States goalkeeper Matt Turner, who stopped Chapas’ shot.

Ten minutes later, with the United States goal completely exposed, Kasy Palmer put a ball into the seats.

Jamaica did not take advantage of its opportunities to close the game, and in stoppage time (90 +5), the United States took a corner kick headed by Miles Robinson. Robinson’s header was deflected by Jamaica’s Corey Burke, who put the ball into his own goal.

“The worst thing we could do was concede a goal so early, it was very difficult to break Jamaica’s defense, I give credit to my players because they showed a lot of spirit, I am very fond of them”, Berhalter said.

In addition to facing the anguish of being behind on the scoreboard, the United States players had to endure the pressure of the Mexican fans in the stadium to watch their team play against Panama in the second semifinal.

The Mexican fans booed the United States every time one of their players touched the ball and were putting pressure on the referee to end the game.

With the score tied 1-1, the game went to extra time.

Six minutes into the first extra time period, Haji Wright scored the United States’ second goal with a left-footed shot from the center of the box.

United States' Haji Wright, right, shoots a goal in front of Jamaica's Joel Latibeaudiere...
United States’ Haji Wright, right, shoots a goal in front of Jamaica’s Joel Latibeaudiere during the first overtime half of a CONCACAF Nations League semifinals soccer match, Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)(Julio Cortez / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

In the second extra time, Wright scored the third goal for the United States, which on Sunday will play in the Concacaf Nations League final at AT&T Stadium against the winner of the game between Mexico and Panama.

“These games are not always pretty but the champions always find a way to win them and we did”, Berhalter said.

Thursday’s game was the USMNT’s fourth at AT&T Stadium.

Coincidentally, the most recent U.S. match held at the home of the Cowboys was a Gold Cup knockout-round match against Jamaica in 2021 in which the Stars and Stripes came 1-0 on top of the Reggae Boyz.

In 2017, the U.S. defeated Costa Rica 2-0 in a 2017 Gold Cup Semifinal, and – prior to that – Landon Donovan’s pair of goals and assist led The United States to a 3-1 semifinal victory over Honduras in the 2013 semifinals.

Find more soccer coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

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