WASHINGTON – Thirteen days before their first game in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) fell to Jamaica 1-0 in front of 17,719 fans at Audi Field on June 5.
The USMNT, who have been preparing for the continental tournament in Annapolis for the past two weeks, started with an experimental lineup under a more possession-heavy 3-4-3 formation.
However, the formation changes only led to one shot on goal for the Americans in the whole match.
Former University of Maryland stars Zack Steffen and Omar Gonzalez marked their returns to the national team after an extended layoff. They both featured in the starting lineup and played the whole 90 minutes.
Jamaica was the closest to scoring coming out of halftime, including a left-footed shot by Brian Brown that hit the side netting. Moments later, midfielder Kevon Lambert broke free on a breakaway and had a free shot on the U.S. goal.
Steffen smacked the straight shot away for the save.
Jamaica’s hard work paid off in the 60th minute. Striker Shamar Nicholson (bottom right in yellow) hit a curling shot from the left side of the penalty area to the right side of the goal. The ball beat an outstretched Steffen for Nicholson’s first goal in an international competition.
Silver Spring native Joe Gyau entered in the 72nd minute to add more flare to the U.S.’s attack. In the final moments of the game, a long cross found striker Josh Sargent (top left) open in the penalty area. The 19- year-old quickly released a right-footed shot that was saved by goalkeeper Andre Blake (bottom right) as Jamaica held on for the upset win.
“The guys tried,” Head Coach Gregg Berhalter said. “I think we gave a decent effort. We didn’t play well, and you’re going to have nights where you don’t play well.”
It was the USMNT’s first game in the metropolitan region since a 1-1 draw against New Zealand on Oct. 11, 2016, at R.F.K. Stadium.
The Stars and Stripes begin tournament play against Guyana on June 18 in Saint Paul, Minnesota.