DALLAS, United States – The dreams and hopes of 22 players, some 20 staffers and an entire nation, went up in smoke when Jamaica's Reggae Boyz crashed 0-1 to the United States in their Concacaf Gold Cup quarter-final match at AT&T Stadium on Sunday night.
The dangerous frontman, FC Schalke's Matthew Hoppe, got the all-important goal in the 83rd minute.
It was the second-consecutive tournament that the USA were eliminating Jamaica, having done so in 2019 at the semi-final stage.
Sunday night's elimination will be seen as a massive underachievement for Jamaica, who have made the semi-finals of the previous three editions of the biennial tournament.
Hopes were high that this was the Boyz' year to lift the trophy, but 'Hoppe' was against them Sunday night, rising majestically between two Jamaican defenders to head into an unguarded goal after Blake had advanced to take the incoming ball.
In the curtain-raiser, Canada blanked Costa Rica 2-0 to advance to the semi-finals where they will face Mexico in Austin on Thursday.
The USA will face guest team Qatar in the other semi-final match-up.
Overall, it was not a bad performance by Jamaica as they played to their strengths against a USA team that was super cool building from the back to transition into the final third.
But it was Jamaica who were quickest on the attacking front when, in only the first minute, an attempted clearance by a USA defender crashed into Blair Turgott and rolled for Bobby Reid, but the off-side flag went up.
In the minute 14th, the Boyz were again on the move when Cory Burke held up the ball well before drifting across the face of the goal and then passing for Alvas Powell, but the latter went for a side-footed effort from just inside the 18-yard box which was easily gathered by goalkeeper Matt Turner.
The USA got their first sniff of the Jamaican goal in the 16th minute.
Goalscorer and hero of the night Hoppe lofted a ball in from the left-side for Shaq Moore arriving down the right channel, but Boyz attacker Junior Flemmings tracked back to block the shot.
Three minutes later, Jamaica, opting to use the counter-attacking ploy throughout, threatened again when Devon Williams floated a ball to the left side for Flemmings, who created space for himself to unleash, but his shot skidded marginally wide from the edge of the box.
Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake was tested for the first time in minute 22, when Hoppe let fly with the left boot, but the Boyz custodian had the measure of the ball and turned it behind for a corner.
The USA threatened once again in the 36th when a flighted ball from midfield picked out Daryl Dike down the right side, but first-half substitute Oniel Fisher put in a timely tackle to avert the danger.
Flemmings tested Turner in the 39th minute with a firm shot, but the goalie responded with a save.
Two minutes later, Jamaica left-back Kemar Lawrence drove forward, and laid off an inch-perfect pass for Reid, whose tame left-footed effort did not justify the previous hard work.
On the stroke of half-time, the USA's Kellyn Acosta drove towards goal on the volley after Burke's headed clearance fell nicely for him, but the effort did not require Blake's intervention.
Two minutes after the resumption, the USA forged ahead, the move ending with Hoppe firing goal-ward, but Blake put his body behind the shot and kept his goal safe.
As the possession switched, Jamaica attacked down the left in the 55th minute as Flemmings broke loose, cutting inside his escort, and as he was about to pull the trigger, a back-tracking USA defender snuffed out the chance with a timely boot.
In the 66th minute, Blake was again on the receiving end when newly-introduced striker Gyasi Zardes rifled goalwards, but the acrobatic Jamaica goalie unfurled to his left to parry wide.
Jamaica came close to breaking the deadlock in minute 78 when a sliding substitute Shamar Nicholson got within a few inches of a free-kick floated into the box.
The USA went ahead in the 83rd minute when hatchet man Hoppe greeted a Cristian Roldan right-side cross after out-jumping the Jamaican defence to head home to close the show on an evening that the hosts claimed to be theirs.
Teams: Jamaica – Andre Blake, Damion Lowe, Liam Moore, Alvas Powell (Oniel Fisher 28th), Kemar Lawrence, Blair Turgott (Shamar Nicholson 74th), Daniel Johnson, Bobby Reid, Devon Williams, Cory Burke (, Andre Gray 74th), Junior Flemmings (Tyreek Magee 86th).
Subs not used: Dillon Barnes, Dennis Taylor, Adrian Mariappa, Michael Hector, Amari'i Bell, Leon Bailey, Lamar Walker
Booked: Burke (30th), Turgott (50th), Lowe (89th)
The USA – Matt Turner, Sam Vines, Miles Robinson, James Sands, Shaq Moore (Reggie Cannon 84th), Gianluca Busio, Sebatian Lletget (Cristian Roldan 63rd), Kellyn Acosta, Paul Ariola, Matthew Hoppe (Nicholas Gioacchini 84th), Daryl Dike (Gyasi Zardes 63rd).
Subs not used: Sean Johnson, Brad Guzman, Jackson Yueill, Jonathan Lewis, Eryk Williamson, George Bello, Henry Kessler.
Referee: Cesar Ramos (MEX)
Assistant Referees: Albert Morin (MEX), Miguel Hernandez (MEX)
Fourth Official: Selvin Brown (HON)
Referee Assessor: Carlos Batres (GUA)
Match Commissioner: Sudesh Singh (SXM)
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