Jamaica Stuns U.S. in Gold Cup, 2-1

first_imgATLANTA — The United States had everything on its side. History. A raucous home crowd. And, supposedly, the better team.None of it prevented Jamaica from handing the Americans their biggest upset defeat.The Reggae Boyz stunned the U.S. with a pair of first-half goals, one off a blunder by goalkeeper Brad Guzan, and held on for a 2-1 victory in the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals July 21.Instead of heading on to an expected berth in the July 26 title game at Philadelphia, the Americans will play a day earlier for third place following their first home loss to a Caribbean nation since a 1969 defeat to Haiti.“Obviously the team is disappointed. The fans are disappointed,” U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. “We wanted to play in the big final Sunday.”Darren Mattocks, who plays for the Vancouver Whitecaps in Major League Soccer, put Jamaica ahead with a 31st-minute header directly off a throw-in.Houston Dynamo’s Giles Barnes followed five minutes later with a goal on an 18-yard free kick after Guzan was caught outside the penalty area on a routine throw.Other than those two set plays, the Americans largely dominated. They finished with a 10-3 edge in shots on goal — including eight in the second half, as they furiously charged at Jamaican goalkeeper Ryan Thompson, who plays for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the third-tier United Soccer League.Thompson was up to the task, turning aside every shot but Michael Bradley’s goal in the 48th minute.“My phone hasn’t stopped, as you can imagine,” said Barnes, savoring one of his country’s greatest victories. “Back in Jamaica, there’s got to be a party going on. Everybody knows how we are.”At the final whistle, the Jamaicans charged onto the field, hugging and waving their flag while a small contingent of fans, clad in green and gold, saluted their underdog team.This was a glorious moment for an island nation of about 2.9 million people, one that had nothing to do with Olympic champion Usain Bolt.A team ranked 76th in the world became the first Caribbean nation to reach a Gold Cup final and will face Mexico, 2-1 winner over Panama in the wild second semifinal.The Jamaicans want more, said their German coach, Winfried Schaefer. “We have one more match to play,” he said. “Bob Marley is for after the match.”The 34th-ranked Americans, who had played in five straight Gold Cup finals and were the defending champion, will face the loser of Wednesday’s second semifinal in the third-place game.They also must meet the Gold Cup winner in a playoff for the North and Central American and Caribbean berth in the 2017 Confederations Cup.It marked the first time the U.S. was eliminated by a CONCACAF team en route to the Gold Cup final. In the era when teams outside the region were invited guests, the Americans lost semifinals to Brazil in 1996 and 2003, and a quarterfinal to Colombia in 2000.In the early going, it looked as though the Americans might romp to another impressive win after a 6-0 blowout of Cuba in the quarterfinals. In their first game in Atlanta in 38 years, they had most of the chances but kept sending good looks wide or over the net.Suddenly, Jamaica jumped ahead. Kemar Lawrence got everything on a long throw-in, delivering it perfectly into the penalty area.Mattocks, with his back to the goal and sandwiched between defenders Ventura Alvarado and John Brooks, leaped up for a dazzling header that caught the underside of the crossbar, out of a leaping Guzan’s reach, and dropped beyond the goal line.Guzan had taken a step off his line and scrambled back for the ball, but it was too late. He slammed it in disgust as the Jamaicans celebrated.The U.S. goalkeeper was really steaming minutes later, when his huge mistake set up Jamaica for a commanding lead.On a routine throw downfield from the edge of the penalty area, Guzan’s right arm went over the line when he let go of the ball. That gave the Jamaica a dangerous free kick and Barnes hooked a shot over the defensive wall and into the right side of net, while Guzan was covering the opposite side.After the goal, Guzan screamed at the linesman who made the call, but the replay showed it was the proper one.“He made the decision 2 or 3 yards behind me,” Guzan said. “Those decisions, they sometimes don’t go in your favor. But you’ve still got the free kick. You’ve got to defend it. He hit it well.”Bradley added, “It’s a call you don’t see very often. It’s a call I wouldn’t be making if I was a referee. But I’m not a referee.”The Americans fought back. Early in the second, Aron Johannsson ripped a shot that was smothered by Thompson, but he couldn’t hang on to the ball.Dempsey tried unsuccessfully to poke it under the sprawled-out keeper, and Bradley swooped in on the third whack for the goal that sent the sell-out Georgia Dome crowd of some 68,000 into a frenzy.Bradley nearly evened it in the 57th, when his shot one-hopped off Thompson’s chest, caught the near post and deflected away.The Americans had a few more good chances the rest of the way, but none that came close.Now, they’ve got to deal with a shocking loss. “We had enough chances to put three or four or five in there,” Klinsmann said. “We didn’t do it. That’s why we lost.”___PAUL NEWBERRY, AP Sports WriterTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Russian Doping Scandal Grows

first_imgGENEVA — In a devastatingly critical report, a World Anti-Doping Agency panel accused the Russian government on Nov. 9 of complicity in widespread doping and cover-ups by its track and field athletes and said they should all be banned from competition — possibly even next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro — until the country cleans up its act.The report from a WADA commission that has been probing media allegations of widespread doping and deception in Russia — host of soccer’s next World Cup — said even the country’s intelligence service, the FSB, was involved, spying on Moscow’s anti-doping lab, including during last year’s Winter Games in Sochi.The commission chaired by Dick Pound recommended that WADA immediately declare the Russian federation “non-compliant” with the global anti-doping code, and that the IAAF suspend the federation from competition.“It’s pretty disturbing,” Pound said. “It’s worse than we thought.”“It may be a residue of the old Soviet Union system,” he added at a news conference in Geneva.Pound said the doping could be called state-sponsored. “They would certainly have known,” he said of Russian officials.The commission said the International Olympic Committee should not accept any entries from the Russian athletics federation until the body has been declared complaint with the code and the suspension has been lifted. Such a decision could keep Russian athletes out of next year’s Olympics in Brazil.If Russia doesn’t clean up, “the outcome may be that there are no Russian track and field athletes in Rio,” Pound said.But he also said there may still be time for Russia to avoid that, if it starts reforming immediately. “I think they can do it, I hope they can,” Pound said.The commission accused the Russian state of complicity. It said its months-long probe found no written evidence of government involvement but it added: “It would be naive in the extreme to conclude that activities on the scale discovered could have occurred without the explicit or tacit approval of Russian governmental authorities.”The report said agents from the FSB even infiltrated Russia’s anti-doping work at the Sochi Olympics. One witness told the inquiry that “in Sochi, we had some guys pretending to be engineers in the lab but actually they were from the Federal Security Service.”Staff at Russia’s anti-doping lab in Moscow believed their offices were bugged by the FSB and an FSB agent, thought to be Evgeniy Blotkin or Blokhin, regularly visited.This was part of a wider pattern of “direct intimidation and interference by the Russian state with the Moscow laboratory operations,” the report said.Pound said Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko must also have known. “It was not possible for him to be unaware of it,” Pound said.The commission report said Mutko issued direct orders to “manipulate particular samples.”Mutko, who is also a FIFA executive committee member and leads the 2018 World Cup organizing committee, denied wrongdoing to the WADA inquiry panel, including knowledge of athletes being blackmailed and FSB intelligence agents interfering in lab work.The WADA report also said Moscow testing laboratory director Grigory Rodchenkov ordered 1,417 doping control samples destroyed to deny evidence for the inquiry.It said Rodchenkov “personally instructed and authorized” the destruction of evidence three days before a WADA audit team arrived in Moscow last December.The WADA panel said it wanted to send the Russian athletes’ samples to labs in other countries to detect banned drugs and doping methods.The panel also raised suspicions that Russia may have has been using an obscure laboratory on the outskirts of Moscow to help cover up widespread doping, possibly by pre-screening athletes’ doping samples and ditching those that test positive.It said whistleblowers and confidential witnesses “corroborated that this second laboratory is involved in the destruction and the cover-up of what would otherwise be positive doping tests.(JOHN LEICESTER and GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writers)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more