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Gold Cup semifinals preview: Atlanta’s the scene for USMNT, Jamaica, Panama and Mexico


We’re down to four nations alive for the 2015 Gold Cup, and each has found a different path to the semifinals.

The United States dominated Cuba.

Mexico advanced via a questionable at best penalty call against Costa Rica.

Jamaica scored early and held on the edge Haiti.

And Panama needed a wild session of penalty kicks to off Trinidad & Tobago.

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Here’s what’s on tap for Wednesday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta:

United States vs. Jamaica, 6 p.m. ET

Jamaica has only beaten the United States once, but it was a recent affair. The Reggae Boyz topped the Yanks in the third round of 2014 World Cup qualification, but the U.S. won the return leg and both matches in the Hex.

The States hadn’t impressed much until their thumping of Cuba, but Jamaica has a similar road. After a fun 2-2 draw with Costa Rica, Jamaica has a trio of 1-0 wins against less than stellar opposition (Canada, El Salvador, Haiti).

It’s a step up in class for both teams, but can Giles Barnes, Garath McCleary and theReggae Boyz really shock the host nation?

Panama vs. Mexico, 9 p.m. ET

El Tri will have poor memories of this match-up from the 2013 Gold Cup, when Panama beat them in both group play and the semifinals. Since then, Mexico has won a pair of home one goal decisions, and El Tri does lead the all-time series 6W-3D-2L.

Panama has yet to win a match in regulation during this tournament, drawing all three group stage matches before the shootout win against T&T. And Mexico has looked like a different team depending on the opponent. They stomped undermanned Cuba, couldn’t finish in a 0-0 draw with Guatemala and couldn’t defend in a 4-4 draw with T&T.

Mexico will be favored, but will they emerge?

Follow @NicholasMendola