Jamaica vs. Mexico
Date and Time: Sunday, July 23, 9 p.m. ET
Location: Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena, CA
Jamaica vs. Mexico TV Coverage: FOX Sports 1
We have to wonder if Juan Carlos Osorio's suspension for the Gold Cup is playing into the Mexicans here. They got past Honduras without much of a hassle, but the fact of the matter is that they just haven't really looked themselves without their boss on the touchline. Getting to this point was a given after playing against El Salvador, Jamaica and Curacao in Group C. If we're being honest, anything less than a win in this match would be considered a disaster and might ultimately see Osorio booted after a fourth place finish at the Confederations Cup in Russia.
That said, the talent here is still undeniable. It seems like it's only a matter of time until the team's lone striker, Erick "Cubo" Torres finds a way to come up with a big game, and if this is the night he picks for that to happen, this could end up being a big night for El Tri.
That said, this Jamaica team isn't going to go down quietly. Andre Blake has arguably been the best player in this entire tournament, and surely, he's been the MVP for Jamaica. The Reggae Boyz probably would have allowed three or four more goals without the Philadelphia Union standout playing at the highest level, including what could have been an equalizing goal on multiple occasions in a 2-1 win over Canada in the quarterfinals of this event in Glendale.
The First Meeting
These two teams' duel in the group stage in Denver really couldn't have been less interesting. Go back to the match Mexico played against the United States in the Hexagonal just before the Confederations Cup. El Tri had so much possession of the ball, yet they couldn't figure out how to get much going on the offensive side of the pitch. Sure, they managed a draw that day, but the crowd at Estadio Azteca was basically cathartic and only hurt the side instead of helped it.
Obviously, the crowd was a factor in Denver as well. The pro-Mexico faithful were high and mighty for the first 45 minutes, but after Blake stymied a couple chances and the match started to wear on, it became clear that Mexico was out of gas. The Mexicans really didn't muster a single fantastic opportunity over the course of the last 45 minutes of that fixture, and they had to settle for a scoreless draw.
Jamaica vs. Mexico Free Picks
That all might have worked for Mexico in the group stage, but this is now knockout round soccer. The last thing this team wants to do is to have to go into a situation where one moment of brilliance could knock it out of the tournament.
Torres has shown a lot of heart going forward, but he really hasn't had enough of the ball at his feet in threatening areas to get the job done. With a young and inexperienced midfield playing just behind him, we have to wonder if there really is enough talent here to get through past Blake.
That's why we can't help but wonder if the Jamaicans are going to pull off this upset. They've obviously got some big time talent in the form of Darren Mattocks and Romario Williams, the latter of whom scored just out of halftime against Canada in the semifinals. If the Reggae Boyz can spring just one counterattack at the right time, they could once again win a match where they get buried in terms of total possession time. This could be a magical night in SoCal.
Jamaica vs. Mexico Soccer Pick: Jamaica ML at BookMaker.eu
Jamaica vs. Mexico Score Prediction: Jamaica 1, Mexico 0