News/SportsReggae Boyz

Mighty Mexico Steam Past Reggae Boyz

Author: Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rüdd

Jamaica’s Gold Cup run ends in Mexico defeat under the dazzling lights of Las Vegas

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz missed out on reaching their first CONCACAF Gold Cup final since 2017, after suffering a resounding last four 3-0 defeat to old foes Mexico last night.

The Boyz, just as they did in the 2015 Gold Cup final against Mexico, played second fiddle to a polished outfit. This was music to the ears of the majority of fans inside the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, heavily comprising vociferous Mexican supporters.

EL Tri stunned the Caribbean outfit with Henry Martin opening the scoring in just 80 seconds. Luis Chávez slotted home his free-kick on the half-hour mark to double their advantage, with Roberto Alvarado’s second-half additional time goal sealing their deserved success.


Jamaica’s ventures on North American soil had kicked off with a creditable 1-1 marquee Gold Cup opening stalemate against the United States, albeit their B-side as the MLS remains in full swing and many European-based players were overlooked.

Heimir Hallgrimsson’s troops were firing on all cylinders to tear apart Caribbean minnows Trinidad & Tobago and St. Kitts & Nevis with a bevy of goals. Jamaica then stuttered past surprise package Guatemala with a hard-fought 1-0 quarter-final to set up a clash with a seemingly mouthwatering contest with Mexico.

Jamaica had bagged a 1-0 2017 Gold Cup semi-final triumph over Mexico, having tasted a one-sided 3-1 defeat in the 2015 final. So a tense battle was anticipated.

Head coach Hallgrimsson settled for the same unchanged personnel for his 4-4-2 formation that had narrowly edged Guatemala, who play in a similar vein to Mexico. However, the Boyz were on the backfoot almost immediately against El Tri.

Jesus Gallardo’s cross from the left wing picked out Martin, whose initial control was poor. But he made amends to slam the ball from eight yards into the bottom right past Andre Blake, who was rooted to the spot, for a second-minute lead to bag his third goal of the tournament.

Mexico appear to have bounced back from oblivion under recently-appointed interim coach Jaime Lozano by excelling in the Gold Cup. They were the real deal to often leave Jamaica chasing shadows with their high-tempo tactics. Their ability to transition from defence to attack kept outfoxing the perplexed Boyz.

An ambitious 24th-minute long-range effort from recent recruit Demarai Gray seemed unlikely to beat Mexico shotstopper Guillermo Ochoa, but that was as good as it got for Jamaica.


Chavez stole the show with another of his spectacular trademark strikes from a free-kick. He tucked his 25-yarder firmly into Blake’s upper right corner for his third Gold Cup goal. This was a repeat of his memorable free-kick ‘golazo’ against Saudi Arabia at last year’s FIFA World Cup finals in Qatar.

Overwhelmed by Mexico’s speed of breaks, Hallgrimsson shuffled his pack to bring on striker Shamar Nicholson in place of midfielder Kevon Lambert to kick off the second-half.

Initially Jamaica made a strong start following the turnaround, but Hallgrimsson made a cautious straight swap with Dexter Lembikisa on for Javain Brown in defence.

This change allowed him to revert to his favoured 4-2-2-2 formation, which committed more players pressing only for the work on the wings to be shot down by a mean Mexico defence.

With time fast running out, Hallgrimsson would have been frustrated by Michail Antonio failing to find the back of the net with quarter-of-an-hour remaining.

He hauled off Antonio, replacing him with Chelsea-bound teenager Dujuan Richards, and bringing in attacking midfielder Daniel Johnson for defender Joel Latibeaudiere as his last throw of the dice with a double 84th-minute substitution.

With gaping gaps as the Boyz attacked, Mexico added a long overdue goal three minutes into additional time, with Alvarado tapping home Diego Lainez’s cross.

Mexico will chase their ninth Gold Cup when they tackle Panama in Sunday’s final at the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. The Panamanians accounted for the US 5-4 on penalties following last night’s 1-1 draw.

At least the pressure has been lifted off Hallgrimsson’s shoulders, having ended his dismal lengthy winless run by scoring a hat-trick of Gold Cup victories.


Hallgrimsson, who steered his native Iceland to the 2018 World Cup finals, has been brought in to focus on Jamaica reaching the 2026 World Cup finals that will be played in Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Jamaica’s three biggest rivals will be given an automatic berth to the world’s biggest football tournament, making it much easier for the Boyz to return to the finals of the competition for the first time since France 1998.

Hallgrimsson admitted: “This is a team in the making. We know we have a good squad with good players that can do good things, but we are thinking about 2026 [World Cup finals]”.

JAMAICA | Blake – Bell, Bernard, Lowe, Brown (Lembikisa, 51) – Bailey, Lambert (Nicholson, 45), Latibeaudiere (Johnson, 84), Decordova-Reid – Antonio (Richards, 84), Gray. Subs: Boyce-Clarke, Burke, Parris, Mariappa, Lawrence, Russell, Waite

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