Nicholson stunner shocks hosts ahead of Gold Cup

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Shamar Nicholson's long-range stunner saw Jamaica upstage the United States 1-0 ahead of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

In a rematch of the 2017 Gold Cup final won by USA, Jamaica emerged triumphant courtesy of Nicholson's first international goal at Audi Field on Wednesday.

Nicholson came off the bench and beat Zack Steffen with a memorable strike from outside the penalty area in Washington as both teams stepped up their preparations for the upcoming tournament.

Playing without Chelsea-bound star Christian Pulisic as head coach Gregg Berhalter gave players a chance to stake their Gold Cup claims, USA made a strong start but struggled afterwards.

USA put Jamaica, who had Bayer Leverkusen star Leon Bailey among the substitutes, on the backfoot during the early exchanges – the hosts enjoying success down the right side.

However, Jamaica eventually settled into their rhythm as the half petered out, with neither team creating any clear-cut chances.

Jamaica looked the more likely to score as the match wore on after Peter-Lee Vassell almost broke the deadlock with a curling effort in the 56th minute.

But Jamaica got the goal they deserved thanks to substitute Nicholson in memorable fashion four minutes later.

Nicholson cut inside and back out again before firing a stunning long-range shot past Steffen, who is set to join Manchester City before reportedly heading to Fortuna Dusseldorf on loan.

 

What does it mean? Unbeaten run over

USA's undefeated streak under Berhalter came to a halt. After wins against Panama, Costa Rica and Ecuador, and a draw with Chile, Jamaica stopped the run. Fortunately for Berhalter and USA, it comes prior to the Gold Cup.

Relax… Berhalter experimenting

USA fans, it is not so bad. While a loss is unwanted, it comes as Berhalter experimented with his starting line-up ahead of the midnight deadline for the Gold Cup roster. He will have a clearer picture of who to include in the 23-man squad.

Lack of ideas

While it was a chance to try new things, the manner in which USA faded would have frustrated Berhalter. After an impressive and high-octane start, the home nation were outplayed and struggled to keep up with Jamaica at times.

What's next?

USA will conclude their Gold Cup preparations against Venezuela on Sunday before the country's tournament opener against Guyana on June 18. Meanwhile, Jamaica will next play Honduras on June 17 – their first match of the Gold Cup.