GLENDALE, Arizona -- Jamaica booked a spot in the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals for the second consecutive time with a thrilling 2-1 quarterfinal win over Canada at the University of Phoenix Stadium on Thursday.
Another quarterfinal matchup will close the evening as defending champion Mexico squares off against Honduras, with the winner facing the Reggae Boyz on Sunday at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
Jamaica scored on its first incursion into Canadian territory in the sixth minute. Darren Mattocks beat a defender on the left flank and raced into the penalty area before crossing the ball to the far side as an open Shaun Francis buried a 12-yard shot past goalkeeper Milan Borjan for a 1-0 lead.
Romario Williams doubled the advantage in the 50th minute. Kemar Lawrence fed Mattocks the ball on the left side. Fighting off a defender on his back, the 26-year-old forward passed to Williams, who curled an 18-yard shot off the fingertips of a sprawled Borjan into the right side of the net.
It took a player born of Jamaican parents to pull one back for Les Rouges as Junior Hoilett drove a 25-yard shot into the upper-right corner to slice the lead in half in the 61st minute.
Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake was superb in a man of the match performance. He denied Dejan Jakovic’s header a minute into first-half stoppage time and, in the 71st minute, made what was arguably the save of the tournament, flying parallel to the ground to tap away Hoilett’s right-footed rocket from 32-yards out.
In the 87th minute, the Philadelphia Union star made a two-handed save on Michael Petrasso’s eight-yard blast and smothered Scott Arfield’s close-range effort in stoppage time.
Jamaica finished as runner-up to Mexico in the 2015 edition.