Jamaica international and Preston North End midfielder Daniel Johnson has reflected positively on his time at the CONCACAF Gold Cup and believes it was good background preparation for the upcoming English Championship season.

The 28-year-old was part of the Jamaica Reggae Boyz squad that bowed out of the competition following a 1-0 loss to the United States in the quarterfinals.  Johnson, who made his debut last year in a 3-0 loss to Saudi Arabia, played all four games for the team at the tournament and was named Jamaica’s man-of-match against Costa Rica.

“It was my first experience of a tournament and was lovely to be part of.  It was a different experience playing against international players and the games had a different feel than league games over here,” Johnson told the Lancashire Post.

“The first two games in the group which we won against Suriname and Guadeloupe, we controlled.  In terms of building up my fitness ready for this season, the tournament was brilliant,” he added.

 “I played 90 minutes in the first two games, 85 in the third, and then 90 minutes in the quarter-finals. That was a big boost having missed the back end of last season.”

Preston will kick off its English Football League (EFL) against Reading on Saturday.

 

The United States have won their seventh Gold Cup title after Miles Robinson's 118th-minute goal clinched a 1-0 extra-time victory over Mexico in Sunday's final in Paradise, Nevada.

Atlanta United defender Robinson came up with the decisive goal with a header from Kellyn Acosta's left-flank free-kick, denying Mexico their 12th continental crown.

The Gold Cup triumph backs up US's CONCACAF Nations League success in June, also beating El Tri in extra-time in that final 3-2.

Mexico had beaten USA in the 2019 Gold Cup final 1-0 in Chicago, with the two nations sharing the past 10 titles.

The victory is a major triumph for Gregg Berhalter's side as the US move on from missing out on qualification for the 2018 World Cup.

It was also US's fifth 1-0 victory throughout the Gold Cup, having beaten Qatar and Jamaica in the knockouts by the same scoreline.

Robinson was the hero with the winner but goalkeeper Matt Turner was exceptional, as both sides blew chances throughout.

Eryk Williamson had the first chance of the game, with a bouncing volley easily collected by Mexico goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera, while down the other end Hector Herrera had a header saved by Turner.

US should have taken the lead in the 26th minute when Sebastian Lletget stole the ball on the edge of the box and set up Paul Arriola but his low effort hit the post.

Turner was crucial in keeping it 0-0 with two key saves to deny Mexican forward Rogelio Funes Mori before Edson Alvarez shot marginally wide.

Orbelin Pineda snatched at a golden chance in the 50th minute, pushing his shot wide when unmarked inside the box, while Alvarez desperately blocked Matthew Hoppe's 71st-minute chance.

Arriola spurned another chance from a free-kick which fell kindly to him as Talavera smothered his effort on goal.

In extra-time, Talavera made a good low save to deny Gyasi Zardes in the 106th minute, before Robinson's header which settled the contest.

Hector Herrera scored a dramatic winner in the ninth minute of stoppage time to send Mexico into the Gold Cup decider against the United States after a tense 2-1 semi-final victory over Canada in Houston.

The Atletico Madrid midfielder fired in a low strike from the edge of the box after substitute Rodolfo Pizarro's cutback, clinching the win on Thursday.

Mexico defender Carlos Salcedo had seen his second-half penalty saved as Canada goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau came up with some big stops.

The reigning champions had taken the lead with an Orbelin Pineda penalty on the stroke of half-time, but Canada levelled from Tajon Buchanan with a low 57th-minute finish.

Mexico will now have a shot to claim a 12th Gold Cup title when they tackle six-time champions the United States in Sunday's decider. El Tri have won four of the past six Gold Cup titles and qualify for the final for the 14th time.

Two-time winners Canada were chasing their first appearance in a Gold Cup final since 2000 but miss out.

Canada forward Stephen Eustaquio fired over the bar early before Alistair Johnston desperately blocked off a Jesus Gallardo chance in the 27th minute.

Mexico won a penalty in first-half stoppage time following a VAR review on Doneil Henry's foul, with Pineda coolly sending Crepeau the wrong way.

New England Revolution forward Buchanan equalised 12 minutes into the second half, ghosting into the box and sliding a low shot past Mexico goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera.

Mexico then had a chance to reclaim the lead from the penalty spot after another VAR review, but Crepeau dived to his right to block Salcedo's effort.

Theo Corbeanu tested Talavera with a curling effort, before Crepeau made a point-blank save from a Mexico corner.

Mexico would find a way, with vice-captain Herrera's late winner.

Gyasi Zardes netted an 86th-minute winner to send the United States into their 13th Gold Cup final after a 1-0 semi-final triumph over Qatar in Austin on Thursday.

It could have been an entirely different story but Hassan Al Heidos missed a 61st-minute penalty for the Asian champions.

US head coach Gregg Berhalter brought on Zardes along with Nicolas Gioacchini in the second half to devastating effect, with the pair combining for the winner.

Gioacchini burst into the box and beat a man, before a side-foot pass which found Zardes to hammer home from close range.

US will play either Mexico or Canada in Sunday's final, as they chase their seventh Gold Cup title.

Qatar's Hashim Ali lashed a seventh-minute chance wide, before the US were denied by goalkeeper Meshaal Barsham's double save from Schalke talent Matthew Hoppe's effort and Paul Arriola's rebound.

US keeper Matt Turner produced a stunning finger-tip save to thwart Abdulaziz Hatem's 21st-minute volley.

Barsham was alert again in the 52nd minute, getting out quickly to deny Daryl Dike's low shot.

Qatar won a penalty on the hour mark after a VAR review on James Sands' tackle but Al Heidos skied his effort over the bar.

Berhalter brought on Zardes for Dike in the 63rd minute, along with Gioacchini for Hoppe in the 81st minute, reinvigorating the US attack and the pair made the decisive contribution late.

Mexico fired in three first-half goals to book their spot in the Gold Cup semi-finals with an emphatic 3-0 win over Honduras in Glendale on Saturday.

The holders dominated proceedings, marked by a 12-minute flurry of goals, and were good value for the win, with 13-4 shots and 64-36 per cent possession.

Rogelio Funes Mori, who netted a brace in El Tri's 3-0 group win over Guatemala, opened the scoring in the 26th minute, nodding in Luis Rodriguez's right-flank cross.

LA Galaxy midfielder Jonathan dos Santos doubled Mexico's lead in the 31st minute with a spectacular first-time volley.

Orbelin Pineda added another seven minutes later, heading in Jesus Corona's well-weighted cross.

Mexico will face either Costa Rica or Canada in the semi-finals on Thursday, with Qatar progressing in Saturday's other quarter-final 3-2 over El Salvador.

 Costa Rica and Jamaica delivered an exciting, tight game, but in the end, it was Costa Rica who took the 1-0 win and top spot in Group C on Tuesday night at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida.

The game was delayed a little over two hours due to inclement weather, but it had no effect on the explosiveness and pressure both Costa Rica and Jamaica showed within the first few seconds of the match. Neither side wasted any time in starting to look for a goal.

For the first 15 minutes, it was an intense back and forth with some dangerous shots close to the goal that had the fans on edge, but no goals were scored.

The Costa Rica goal was under attack from the Jamaicans during the final minutes of the opening half, but Costa Rica GK Leonel Moreira denied Jamaica from opening the scoring.

It was the same story into the second half, with Jamaica probing for a goal, and in the 51’, Jamaica forward Andre Gray blasted a shot straight onto the post.

Costa Rica answered almost immediately with a play that started with a slide tackle win for the Ticos and a flawless pass from  Ariel Lassiter into the box that found Costa Rican captain Bryan Ruiz heading into the back of the net to make it 1-0 to Costa Rica in the 53rd.

Things got complicated for the Ticos in the 72nd when Moreira got a straight red card for a handball outside the box, leaving Costa Rica with 10 men with at least 20 minutes left in the match.

The Reggae Boyz continued to attack and pressure in Costa Rica’s half looking to score again and again, but with no luck, leaving Costa Rica as the group winner.

 

After the frantic final minutes counted down, the split points left the Trinidad and Tobago squad, as well as Guatemala’s, eliminated. Despite the elimination, both teams can be proud of their effort.

After an injury during warmups, Trinidad and Tobago were forced to adjust their lineup, replacing defender Neveal Hackshaw with Jelani Peters.

In the 12th minute, T&T right back Alvin Jones rampaged up the field on a quick counterattack then crossed to Reon Moore. Moore made a run on the right side of the goal and hit a hard, low shot past young Guatemalan goalkeeper Kenderson Navarro that found the goalpost and bounced in for the goal.

Attempting to manage the game, Trinidad and Tobago showed patience, especially in allowing Guatemala to take rushed shots from outside, but closing them down effectively and at times physically when any players entered the box.

In the second half, as Guatemala fought harder to find the equalizer, Trinidad and Tobago’s defense cracked under the pressure from Guatemala in the 77th minute, when Ceballos served in a corner kick. Gerardo Gordillo rose high in the box to meet the ball, heading it in well past Marvin Phillip, the Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper and captain.

The tenor of the game changed as both teams, hungry for an outright win, traded half-chances on both ends of the field. T&T's Jones had a shot go off the post in the best possibility for either team.

After the frantic final minutes counted down, the split points left the Trinidad and Tobago squad, as well as Guatemala’s, eliminated. Despite the elimination, both teams can be proud of their effort.

Trinidad and Tobago manager Angus Eve, the team’s most-capped player in their history, knew the team didn’t completely control its destiny in Group A but believed his squad could hold their head high no matter the outcome if they played well.

“We are very confident,” Eve said.

The team rewarded his belief, playing a smart match to hold an early advantage for most of the game. Yet Guatemala was brave in its own right, fighting back to find an equalizer and ensure they left the Gold Cup with at least one positive result. As Guatemala’s coach, Rafael Loredo said before kickoff, “If we want to grow, we need to have international competition.”

It is both sides' participation and matches like this that make the Gold Cup special.

Shaq Moore struck after just 20 seconds as the United States beat Canada 1-0 in Kansas City to clinch top spot in Group B at the Gold Cup.

The tournament hosts withstood late Canada pressure to preserve a 100 per cent record, following the 1-0 win over Haiti and 6-1 thrashing of Martinique.

Moore's winning goal saw him sidefoot home from close range after Sebastian Lletget's low cross from the left rolled across the six-yard box.

It was the USA's fastest goal in Gold Cup history, tournament officials said, and it was Tenerife defender Moore's first international strike.

Gyasi Zardes glanced a header wide of the right post as the United States sought a second early goal, and Daryl Dike fizzed a shot a yard off target after a low cross from the right.

Canada began the second half with purpose, Tajon Buchanan drawing an early save from New England Revolution team-mate Matt Turner, but an equaliser proved elusive.

Jonathan Osorio, Buchanan and Richie Laryea all tried their luck without reward, and a late 20-yard shot from Lucas Cavallini that skidded off the surface and into Turner's arms was Canada's last chance at Children's Mercy Park.

Gregg Berhalter's United States side advance to a quarter-final against the runners-up from Group C, to be played on July 25 in Arlington, Texas.

Canada, coached by John Herdman, remain alive in the competition despite this loss, and they advance as runners-up from Group B to face the Group C winners.

Jamaica and Costa Rica, both with six points from two games so far in Group C, are certain to progress. They go head to head in Orlando on Tuesday to decide who finishes top and faces Canada and who comes second in that pool and takes on the US next.

After making their Concacaf Gold Cup return and debut respectively, Grenada and Qatar face off for the first time as Group D action resumes on Saturday night at BBVA Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Daryl Dike scored a double as the United States claimed their second win at the CONCACAF Gold Cup with an emphatic 6-1 victory over Martinique in Kansas City on Thursday.

USA, who won 1-0 in their Gold Cup opener against Haiti, found their goal scoring touch with four second-half goals to seal their passage into the quarter-finals.

The largely MLS-based US side was dominant, with 69 per cent possession and 20-9 shots against Martinique who lost 4-1 to Canada in their first-up game.

Orlando City forward Dike opened the scoring with a 13th-minute header from Schalke talent Matthew Hoppe's cross, before Dike's 23rd-minute header deflected in off Martinique's Samuel Camille.

After the break, defender Miles Robinson headed in from close range before Dike grabbed a second after a slalom run and lobbed finish in the 59th minute.

Martinique pulled one back from the spot in the 64th minute from Emmanuel Riviere.

Columbus Crew forward Gyasi Zardes drilled a low shot home in the 70th minute before Gianluca Busio found substitute Nicholas Gioacchini to net a sixth in stoppage-time.

USA will finish their group phase against Canada, who won 4-1 over Haiti on Thursday, on Sunday in Kansas City, while Haiti and Martinique – who are both eliminated – face off in Frisco.

Canada are level on points and goal difference with the USA but ahead on goals scored heading into the final fixture, meaning the hosts must win to top the group.

Panama came from behind three times to draw with Qatar, while Honduras swept aside Grenada 4-0 in their opening CONCACAF Gold Cup matches on Tuesday.

In a tight game in Houston, six goals were scored in the second half as 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar hit the lead three times but failed to capitalise.

Panama's Rolando Blackburn levelled the game twice in a flurry of goals in the first 20 minutes after half-time, as Hassan Al Heidos put Qatar up 3-2 from the spot in the 63rd minute. Eric Davis equalised with a 79th-minute penalty.

Honduras dominated Grenada in the later game, with goals from Jerry Bengtson, Edwin Solano, Johnny Leveron and Romell Quioto.

Panama and Honduras will meet on Saturday in Houston after Grenada and Qatar face off at the same venue.

The United States started their CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign with a 1-0 win over Haiti on Sunday.

Sam Vines' first international goal proved to be enough for the USA at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City.

The eighth-minute header helped the USA make a winning start in Group B, in which they sit behind Canada, who crushed Martinique 4-1 earlier on Sunday.

The USA are six-time Gold Cup champions, including winning two of the past four editions – in 2013 and 2017.

They went close to an opener in just the sixth minute, but Walker Zimmerman's volley from a corner hit the crossbar.

However, they opened the scoring just three minutes later as Vines headed in powerfully from close range after Gyasi Zardes' pass from inside the area.

The USA continued to threaten and went close to doubling their lead in the 66th minute, but Nicholas Gioacchini hit the post with a side-footed effort.

Gregg Berhalter's side are next in action on Thursday, when they take on Martinique.

The United States will aim to put a halt to Haiti’s flow when the teams meet in Group B of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup on Sunday night at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

The U.S.'s overall record against their opening opponent is 7W-6D-9L might surprise some, but U.S. fans shouldn't be surprised by Haiti's ability to challenge on the pitch. Two of the Stars and Stripes' legends, Joe Gaetjens and Jozy Altidore, have Haitian heritage. Former player, Gaetjens played for the U.S. in the 1950 World Cup and scored the stunning game-winner in his team's historic upset over England. Altidore is currently third place for all-time USMNT goals (42) and ninth in international caps at 115.

The U.S. comes in as the defending Concacaf Nations League winners after an impressive 3-2 extra-time win over Mexico in June. Aside from a few holdovers, the team chosen to represent in the Gold Cup is mostly different. This is an opportunity for several players to make an impression on head coach Gregg Berhalter.

This U.S. team still boasts star power from abroad, namely in forwards Matthew Hoppe and Nicholas Gioacchini, who play for Schalke and Caen in Germany and France, respectively, while defender Shaquell Moore plays in Spain for Tenerife. There are a number of MLS stars featured on the roster as well. Between DC United’s Paul Arriola and the Columbus Crew’s Gyasi Zardes, they account for 20 U.S. goals and will look to add to that number in Gold Cup action.

However, Haiti has hit the ground running in the tournament, having already seen game action in the Prelims. Duckens Nazon scored three goals in the Prelims and now has seven overall goals, making him not only Haiti’s top Gold Cup scorer but also for the Caribbean.

Strikers are often more effective as a duo, so it is ideal for Haiti that Frantzdy Pierrot is also rounding into great form, scoring a hat trick in the final Prelims game. Pierrot is now right behind Nazon in overall Gold Cup goals with six. Pierrot working beside Nazon on the field means that the U.S. faces a pair of extremely effective strikers. Goalkeeper Matt Turner’s shot-stopping skills, which have proved to be the best in MLS this season, will now be tested in international action.

The tasks are set for both teams, with the U.S. looking to stop Haiti’s flow and get a good start of their own in a tournament the U.S. have won six times. Haiti will try to maintain their momentum, especially their scoring streak, to build on the semifinal finish the team produced in 2019.

Mexico have drawn a blank in the opening game of their CONCACAF Gold Cup title defence after a 0-0 draw with Trinidad & Tobago in Arlington on Saturday.

El Tri were left frustrated by a stubborn Soca Warriors backline, led brilliantly by goalkeeper Marvin Phillip who made numerous strong saves and was named Man of the Match.

The holders thought they had found a winner in second-half stoppage-time when Rogelio Funes Mori tucked in Jesus Gallardo's low cutback but the latter was ruled marginally offside.

Mexico dominated proceedings, with 30 shots to four, including seven on target, along with 83 per cent possession yet they were unable to capitalise.

Hirving Lozano had to be replaced early in the first half with a suspected concussion and neck injury, before Jesus Corona tested Phillip and Hector Herrera shot wide from distance.

Herrera's backheel pass set up Orbelin Pineda after the break but he shot straight at Phillip.

Mexico heaped the pressure in the final 20 minutes, with Phillip brilliantly denying Funes Mori's poke after chesting down inside the box in the 76th minute, before a stunning one-handed block to deny Corona.

Both sides return to action in Group A on Wednesday, with Mexico taking on Guatemala in Dallas and Trinidad & Tobago facing El Salvador in Frisco.

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