Jermaine Jones was the center of attention in the second half of today's Gold Cup quarterfinal against Jamaica at RFK Stadium, scoring the match-winning goal and involving himself in the game's only sending-off as the United States defeated 10-man Jamaica 2-0 and advanced to the semifinals of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The U.S. will play the winner of the Panama-El Salvador match, which will take place later this evening at RFK.
Jones' goal came in the 49th minute after a cross from the left wing wasn't properly cleared by Jamaica's defense. The ball fell to Jones, who tried a speculative shot from about 25 yards out and watched as the ball took a slight deflection off Jermaine Taylor and wrong-footed Donovan Ricketts. The Jamaican keeper, who'd been so good and turned away so many first-half chances, saw the ball nestle into the bottom right corner of the net as the red-clad American fans inside RFK went ecstatic.
If Jones' goal was the biggest moment in the match, than the second-biggest was his flop in the 67th minute. With Jamaica pressing for an equalizer, Jones seemed poised to lead an American breakout on the Jamaican goal. Instead, he flew into the air like a long jumper under a challenge from the unfortunate Taylor which seemed to touch only air. Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez showed Taylor a straight red instead of giving a second yellow to Jones for diving and Jamaica didn't pose much of a coherent threat for the rest of the game.
Clint Dempsey put the result beyond all doubt in the 80th minute. With the Jamaican defense hopelessly stretched, Juan Agudelo slid a pass across the box to Dempsey, who neatly sidestepped a desperately sliding Ricketts and tapped into the open net for the goal that his efforts deserved. The Texan had earlier missed a point-blank header on the hour mark, instead redirecting Steve Cherundolo's cross right into the chest of Ricketts.