The United States booked their spot in the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup after a 2-0 win over Jamaica on Sunday.Despite patchy form in the group stages, which included a loss to Panama, Bob Bradley’s side were too good for the Jamaicans at the Robert F Kennedy Stadium in Washington.
After a first half which failed to inspire, the US looked energized and came out a different side after half-time.
Midfielder Jermaine Jones struck just four minutes into the second half and substitute Juan Agudelo – who replaced Jozy Altidore after he was forced off with a hamstring injury – was proving a real threat.
Jamaica’s Jermaine Taylor was sent off with 23 minutes remaining and the US made the most of their numerical advantage when Agudelo set up Fulham striker Clint Dempsey with 10 minutes to go.
Agudelo broke down the right wing and provided a neat pass for Dempsey, who took a touch before rounding Jamaican shot-stopper Donovan Ricketts and tapping into an unguarded net.
In the day’s other match, Panama set up a re-match with the US in the last four after a 5-3 penalty shootout victory against El Salvador.
Panama were lucky to even make it to the shootout, with striker Luis Tejada’s goal with just one minute remaining cancelling out Rodolfo Zelaya’s 78th minute penalty and securing a 1-1 draw for the eventual winners.
In an eventful match, Zelaya missed a first-half penalty while Panama’s Blas Perez and El Salvador’s Luis Anaya were both sent off in extra time.