Brandon Vazquez celebrates after scoring a goal against Jamaica in the Gold Cup.
Brandon Vazquez came off the bench and scored a late goal as the United States opened their Group A Gold Cup game with a 1-1 draw with Jamaica at Soldier Field on Saturday night.
Caretaker coach BJ Callaghan was still on the sidelines for the USA after leading the team to the Nations League title, but against Jamaica he oversaw a very different side, made up mostly of MLS players and lacking many of the European stars who won Canada last Sunday.
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Jamaica’s much more first choice, consisting of Premier League players Michail Antonio, Bobby De Cordova-Reid and Leon Bailey, took the lead in the 13th minute when Damian Lowe dived a header past Matt Turner from a Demarai Gray free-kick sent the goal of the USA into the goal.
A sloppy foul on Kevon Lambert by Aidan Morris gave Jamaica a penalty and a chance to double their lead, but Turner went big, parrying Bailey’s penalty while the Aston Villa striker fired his rebound from close range, also wide of the post .
Jesus Ferreira had the USA’s best chance of the first half, but Andre Blake did an excellent job of parrying Jordan Morris’ shot from close range and putting Jamaica ahead at the break.
Two substitutes almost equalized for USA just after 70 minutes, but Blake again managed to parry Cristian Roldan’s first shot after Cade Cowell played the ball into him from the baseline.
With time running out, fellow substitute Vazquez volleyed in from the top of the six yard box after a Ferreira cross was poorly managed by the Jamaican defense and the ball landed perfectly for the prolific FC Cincinnati striker.
The USA and Jamaica both still have group matches against St Kitts and Trinidad and Tobago to determine which two teams advance to the knockout stages.