The U.S. men's soccer team has advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2011 Gold Cup in unusual fashion ... in second place.
The United States' 1-0 victory over Guadeloupe on Tuesday night wrapped group play and for the first time in 11 tournaments, the U.S. did not win its group. The Americans will face Group B winner Jamaica Sunday at 3 p.m. at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C.
The USMNT's lone goal came on a jaw-dropping strike (see below) from Jozy Altidore in the 9th minute. His 25-yard rocket gave the U.S. an early lead (after it narrowly avoided going down a goal in the early minutes). It was his second of the tournament. The United States finished group play with six points -- one behind Panama, which tied Canada in its final match to clinch first place. Canada, like the other third-place teams, finished with four points, but its negative goal differential prevented it from advancing.
Jamaica won Group B with a perfect 3-0 record and swept through the round without surrendering a goal. "The Reggae Boyz" defeated Grenada (4-0), Guatemala (2-0) and Honduras (1-0) in impressive fashion. Midfielder Demar Phillips, who plays professionally in Norway, leads the team with three goals.
If the U.S. can sneak by Jamaica and advance to the semifinals, it could set up a rematch against Panama, which drew El Salvador in the quarterfinals. The pairings in the top half of the bracket include Costa Rica-Honduras and Mexico-Guatemala. Though Jamaica is the only team in the field yet to surrender a goal, Mexico has been most dominant. "El Tri" scored 14 goals and allowed just one in its three group stage games.