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McCleary & Hector Guide Jamaica to Gold Cup Final

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The Reggae Boyz overcame the United States 2-1 to reach their first ever Final in the competition.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Hector started at centre-back for Jamaica, with Garath McCleary on the right wing. He was playing just in front of one ex-Royal in Adrian Mariappa, with another, Jobi McAnuff, on the opposite flank.

The first goal was classic route-one football... of sorts. Kemar Lawrence took the long throw and Darren Mattocks nodded on, the ball bouncing off both posts before nestling in the back of the net.

And incredibly it was two-nil just five minutes later, in bizarre circumstances. Brad Guzan tried to launch an attack with a throw out of the box, but the assistant linesman spotted that the Villa keeper had released the ball from his hands outside the area. Giles Barnes, ex of Derby County, slammed the free-kick into the top corner. Half time and stunned silence in Atlanta.

Minutes after half-time it was 2-1 as Michael Bradley capitalised on Jamaica goalkeeper Ryan Thompson's spill to slot home. The momentum was firmly with the hosts and Thompson failed to hold on to a free-kick but luckily the follow-up was headed over. Then Bradley fired in from long range and Thompson somehow diverted the ball onto the post via his unknowing chest.

The Reggae Boyz managed to calm things down after that period of pressure and, after a few more worrying minutes mainly involving a goalkeeper from the third division of American football, they held on for a famous win against the hosts and pre-tournament favourites.

Jamaica's previous best finish was 3rd place in 1993, so they're guaranteed their most successful Gold Cup ever. They'll face Mexico in Sunday's final, after they beat Panama thanks to an equalizing penalty in the ninth (yes, ninth) minute of added time, then another spot kick at the end of the first half of extra time.

Congratulations to all the current and ex-Royals involved in the match! They've already made history - hopefully on Sunday they can lift the trophy too!