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US drops 2-1 to Jamaica; eliminated from Gold Cup

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US drops 2-1 to Jamaica; eliminated from Gold Cup

ATLANTA (AP) — Jamaica stunned the United States with a pair of first-half goals, one off a blunder by goalkeeper Brad Guzan, and held on for a 2-1 victory in the Gold Cup semifinals Wednesday night that dealt the Americans their biggest upset defeat.

Darren Mattocks, who plays for Vancouver inMajor League Soccer, put the Reggae Boyz ahead with 31st-minute header directly off a throw-in. Giles Barnes followed five minutes later with a goal on an 18-yard free kick after Guzan was caught going outside the penalty area on a routine throw.

Michael Bradley scored in the 48th minute for the Americans, but it wasn't enough to prevent a stunning setback in front of sold-out crowd at the Georgia Dome. The small contingent of green-and-gold-clad Jamaican fans saluted their underdog team, ranked 76th in the world but now becoming the first Caribbean nation to reach a Gold Cup final. The Reggae Boyz face Mexico or Panama on Sunday in Philadelphia.

The 34th-ranked Americans, who had played in five straight Gold Cup finals, will face the loser of Wednesday's second semifinal in the third-place game on Saturday. They also will meet the Gold Cup winner in a playoff for the region's berth in the 2017 Confederations Cup.

It marked the first time the U.S. was eliminated by a CONCACAF team en route to the Gold Cup final. In the era when teams outside the region were invited guests, the Americans lost semifinals to Brazil in 1996 and 2003, and a quarterfinal to Colombia in 2000.

In the early going, it looked as though the Americans might romp to another impressive win after a 6-0 blowout of Cuba in the quarterfinals. They had most of the chances but kept sending good looks wide or over the net against Jamaican goalkeeper Ryan Thompson, who plays for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the third-tier United Soccer League.

Suddenly, Jamaica jumped ahead. Kemar Lawrence got everything on a long throw-in, delivering it perfectly into the box. Mattocks, with his back to the goal and sandwiched between defenders Ventura Alvarado and John Brooks, leaped up for a dazzling header that caught the underside of the crossbar, out of a leaping Guzan's reach, and dropped beyond the goal line. Guzan had taken a step off his line and scrambled back for the ball, but it was too late. He slammed it in disgust as the Jamaicans celebrated.

The U.S. goalkeeper was really steaming minutes later, when his huge blunder set up Jamaica for a commanding lead.

On a routine throw downfield from the edge of the penalty area, Guzan's right arm went over the line when he let go of the ball. That gave the Jamaica a dangerous free kick and Barnes hooked a shot over the defensive wall and into the right side of net, while Guzan was covering the opposite side.

After the goal, Guzan screamed at the linesman who made the call, but the replay showed it was the proper one.

The Americans fought back early in the second half. Aron Johannsson ripped a shot that was smothered by Thompson, but he couldn't hang on to the ball. Dempsey tried unsuccessfully to poke it under the sprawled-out keeper, and Bradley swooped in on the third whack for the goal that sent the sell-out Georgia Dome crowd of some 68,000 into a frenzy.

Bradley nearly evened it in the 57th, when his shot one-hopped off Thompson's chest, caught the near post and deflected away.

The Americans had a number of good chances the rest of the way, but none that came close.

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Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

WASHINGTON WIZARDS VS. CHARLOTTE HORNETS

Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

On a roll

The Wizards have some serious momentum going right now. With an impressive win over the Cavs on Thursday, they have now won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. They had a week off due to the All-Star break, but didn't show any rust at all in their first game back.

The Wizards are now 34-24, 10 games above the .500 mark. They are fourth in the East and could move into third on Friday if they win and the Cavaliers lose. Even with Wall out, things continue to look up for Washington.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Hornets have had their number

The Wizards haven't done so well against the Hornets so far this season. Charlotte has taken both meetings and that includes a 24-point win on Jan. 17. That game featured Dwight Howard taunting the Wizards late in the fourth quarter.

Howard has killed the Wizards through two games with averages of 22.0 points and 14.0 rebounds. Jeremy Lamb (20.0 ppg vs. Wizards) has been a big factor as well as All-Star Kemba Walker (21.5 ppg vs. Wizards).

The last time these teams played about a month ago frustrations boiled over in an incident that got Tim Frazier ejected. Michael Carter-Williams picked a fight with Jason Smith and Frazier went off:

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

Hornets coming in hot

The Hornets are outside the playoff picture at the moment at eight games below .500, but they have won two straight games and Walker and Howard are coming off huge games. In a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, Walker dropped 31 points and Howard grabbed 24 rebounds.

Those guys will be riding a high coming into Washington on Friday. But it should be noted that Howard complained after the game how tired he is at this point in the season. That exhausion could affect him more in the second game of a back-to-back.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' huge road win over Cavaliers, including Markieff Morris' alley-oop

5 must-see moments from Wizards' huge road win over Cavaliers, including Markieff Morris' alley-oop

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Washington Wizards' 110-103 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night...

1. The Wizards didn't start out well, as they trailed by nine points at the end of the first quarter. Kelly Oubre, Jr. stumbled early by missing four of his first six shots and it looked like a carryover of his slump before the All-Star break.

But Oubre got hot in the second quarter and helped the Wizards turn the game around. This was one of his best plays, a two-handed slam that he celebrated with an emphatic scream to the crowd:

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

2. Tomas Satoransky was one of the stars of the game. He had 17 points to go along with eight assists, four rebounds and two steals. 

Here's one of his dimes, a perfect alley-oop lob to Markieff Morris, who finished with nine points and eight rebounds:

3. Satoransky has reached double-figures in six of the 10 games since John Wall went out with an injury. This was a very impressive move, a stepback fadeaway that was super smooth:

RELATED: GET TO KNOW NEW WIZARDS FREE AGENT SIGNING

4. Ian Mahinmi made some key contributions including four offensive rebounds and a steal. This was his best basket, a powerful slam that came at a key time:

5. This play helped seal the victory. It was a smart after-timeout set drawn up by head coach Scott Brooks and it worked to perfection:

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS