Welcome to your live thread for the United States Women's National Team against Jamaica in the semifinals of the 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship (7:30 p.m., FS1 and UDN). The USWNT is through to the knockout stage after wins against Mexico, Panama, and Trinidad & Tobago and one more win will give the Yanks one of the three automatic berths in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
Three of the four Concacaf semifinalists are in automatically, while the fourth-place finisher will need to go to a play-in series to qualify. One quirk of this semifinal round of the tournament is that if the match is tied after regulation, there is no overtime. The match would go straight to penalties. Extra time returns in the championship and third-place games.
Jamaica, FIFA’s 64th-ranked team, finished 2-1-0 in Group B, ending up second in the group to Canada. The USWNT is 2-0-0 in the only two previous meetings between the two sides — both in Concacaf qualifying play. The first came in World Cup qualifying in 1994, when the U.S. won a lopsided 10-0 affair in Montreal. The last match-up came in 2008 Olympic qualifying, when the Yanks took a 6-0 victory in Juarez, Mexico. Current U.S. players Carli Lloyd and Tobin Heath scored in that meeting.
Jamaica opened the tournament with a 2-0 loss to group favorite Canada. The Reggae Princesses essentially got to the knockout stage with a tightly contested 1-0 win over Costa Rica and then clobbered group doormat Cuba, 9-0. That lopsided win over hapless Cuba allowed Jamaica to finish with a +8 goal differential in group play, but it was -1 overall against the two decent teams in the group.
The United States should win this match handily even if Jamaica digs in and plays a defensive low block game. This is a likely scenario, as the Jamaicans have only conceded two goals in the tournament, but at the same time have only scored once against teams that are not Cuba. Jill Ellis will likely go with the same lineup that beat Panama, 5-0, in the second match of the tournament. This would allow stars like Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe to rest up for a meeting with Canada (probably) in the final with the first team fresh. It could also mean that Orlando Pride captain Ashlyn Harris gets the start tonight in a meaningful match.
I expect Jamaica to be difficult to break down, but the U.S. has had to deal with that all tournament, taking until the second half to open up the game against Mexico, then facing hot goalkeepers against both Panama and Trinidad & Tobago. The USWNT will need to be patient and then make the most of its chances, particularly on set pieces. The Jamaicans made it difficult for the Canadian offense to get going so the U.S. will need to do what it’s done all tournament long — possess the ball, keep up the relentless pressure, and deal with the few counter attacks that come the other way.
If you’re looking for a local angle from the visitors, Jamaica’s only striker on the roster is 16-year-old Jody Brown, who currently plays at Montverde Academy, home of Orlando City’s development academy. The Reggae Princesses also have two players on the Florida Kraze Krush — defender Konya Plummer and midfielder Deneisha Blackwood.
The USWNT is 35-1-1 all-time in the Concacaf Championship, 14-0-2 in 2018, and 21-0-3 since the 2017 Tournament of Nations.
Goalkeepers (2): 18-Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 18/0), 1-Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 35/0).
Defenders (7): 7-Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage; 26/0), 19-Crystal Dunn (North Carolina Courage; 71/24), 20-Hailie Mace (UCLA; 3/0), 5-Kelly O’Hara (Utah Royals FC; 110/2), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 145/0), 14-Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 26/0), 2-Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 23/0).
Midfielders (5): 6- Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars; 80/6), 8-Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 69/17); 9-Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 59/7), 16-Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 16/5), 3-Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage; 40/8).
Forwards (6): 17-Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns; 140/23), 10-Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 262/105), 13-Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 149/94), 12-Christen Press (Utah Royals FC; 105/46), 11-Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 40/12), 15-Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 142/40).
Goalkeepers (2): 13-Nicole McLure (Sundsvalls DFF, SWE), 1-Sydney Schneider (UNC-Wilmington).
Defenders (8): 16-Dominique Bond-Flasza (PSV Eindhoven, NED), 12-Sashana Campbell (Maccabi Krishronot Hadera, ISR), 6-Christina Chang (Miami FS Surge), 15-Jadyn Matthews (Cornell University), 19-Toriana Patterson (Tti Bluebonnets), 5-Konya Plummer (Florida Kraze Krush), 17-Allyson Swaby (Hottur), 4-Chantelle Swaby (Rutgers).
Midfielders (9): 17-Chinyelu Asher (Washington Spirit), 14-Deneisha Blackwood (Florida Kraze Krush), 18-Trudi Carter (Unattached), ?-Shanise Foster (Arnett Gardens FC), 11-Khadija Shaw (University of Tennessee), 8-Ashleigh Shim (Unattached), 2-Lauren Silver (Unattached), 9-Marlo Sweatman (Unattached), 20-Giselle Washington (Concord Fire).
Forwards (1): 10-Jody Brown (Montverde Academy).
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. (ET).
Venue: Toyota Stadium — Frisco, TX.
TV: FS1, UDN.
Streaming: FOX Sports GO.
Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow @StarsStripesFC, @ussoccer_wnt, and @TheManeLand.
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Enjoy the match! Go America!