Canada out of Gold Cup as Jamaica strikes quickly
Octavio Zambrano's squad gets behind early and can't overcome 2-0 deficit
Canada has been eliminated from the CONCACAF Gold Cup after falling 2-1 in the quarter-finals against Jamaica at the University of Phoenix Stadium on Thursday.
Jamaica took a two-goal lead through Shaun Francis and Romario Williams before Junior Hoilett replied for Canada.
It was the first time Canada had reached the knockout stage of the competition since the 2009 tournament, when it was also eliminated at the same stage.
"I am satisfied with the effort, the players left everything on the pitch. As a coach, you can't ask for more," said Canada coach Octavio Zambrano.
"Definitely the effort and desire to win was there. For that, I am satisfied, but also not satisfied because of the score."
Canada provided the first scoring chances with Scott Arfield delivering an early teasing free kick and corner kick, but Jamaica struck first in the sixth minute.
Jamaica scores 6 minutes in
Former Vancouver Whitecaps FC player Darren Mattocks carried the ball into the Canadian penalty area and found an unmarked Francis, who rattled his shot off the Canadian crossbar and over the line.
Canada had a chance to equalize just a few minutes later when Arfield swung a free kick in that forward Cyle Larin headed just off the target.
Jamaica added to the lead in the opening minutes of the second half when Williams wasn't closed down by the Canadian defenders and launched a lovely right-footed curling effort in the 50th.
Canadian goalkeeper Milan Borjan dove valiantly to his left but only managed to get his fingertips onto the well-placed shot.
"In 2015 we had a more experienced team," Jamaica coach Theodore Whitmore said. "This team is more a mixture of young and we're in a rebuilding process. They were hungry tonight for the victory."
Hoillet gets Canada close
Hoilett pulled one back in the 61st minute with an equally spectacular effort of his own. He led a Canadian counter-attack by himself and, with Jamaica's defenders getting back, curled a long-range shot into the top corner.
"Jamaica decided to drop back and give us the ball and then go for the counter. We did our part and they did theirs," said Zambrano.
He very nearly added a similar goal with about 20 minutes remaining but Jamaican goalkeeper Andre Blake dove to make a highlight reel save.
Arfield provided Canada's final chance in second-half injury time when he was played into the Jamaica penalty area, but his low shot was stopped by Blake.
In the semifinals on Sunday at the Rose Bowl, Jamaica will face Mexico, a 1-0 winner over Honduras in the second game of Thursday's double-header.
Mexico beat Jamaica 3-1 in the Gold Cup championship match two years ago.