Wright scores twice in extra time as U.S. beats Jamaica to reach CONCACAF Nations League final

Haji Wright #14 of the United States celebrates his second goal in extra time during the CONCACAF Nations League Semifinal match against Jamaica at AT&T Stadium on March 21, 2024 in Arlington, Texas. 

The United States escaped defeat with an own goal in the sixth minute of second-half stoppage time, Haji Wright scored twice in extra time and the Americans rallied past Jamaica 3-1 Thursday night to reach the CONCACAF Nations League final against Mexico or Panama.

Greg Leigh scored 30 seconds in for the 57th-ranked Reggae Boyz, and the No. 13 Americans were on the verge of losing their third straight match. Instead, Wright scored in the sixth and 19th minutes of extra time and the U.S. will try to win the Nations League for the third straight time on Sunday.

Both of Wright's goals were set up by Gio Reyna, who entered at the start of the second half after being limited to 42 minutes over four substitute appearances for Nottingham Forest since he was loaned from Borussia Dortmund on Jan. 31.

Four minutes of second-half stoppage time originally were signaled and later five, and the clock was at 5:25 when Christian Pulisic’s corner kick to the near post was headed in by Miles Robinson. The ball deflected off Jamaican forward Corey Burke and past goalkeeper Andre Blake, the latest goal for the Americans since Ricardo Clark scored in the seventh minute of stoppage time to beat Venezuela 1-0 in a 2012 exhibition.

Wright, whose extra time goal last weekend lifted Coventry City to an FA Cup quarterfinal, was a late injury replacement on the roster and had not played for the U.S. since the 2022 World Cup. He entered in the 63rd minutes and scored after the ball was knocked away from Pulisic. Reyna picked up the ball just past the center circle by Reyna and side-footed a through ball to Wright, who cut left to create space and slotted past Blake.

Then Reyna won a ball from Keroy Anderson and made another incisive pass through the defense. Wright spun to control the ball and scored from 8 yards for his fourth goal in eight international appearances.

Leigh put Jamaica ahead after a throw-in deflected off Antonee Robinson to Fulham teammate Bobby De Cordova-Reid, who lofted the ball past Chris Richards and across the goal. Leigh was left unmarked by Joe Scally and headed the ball between goalkeeper Matt Turner and the post for his first goal in 13 international appearances.

Scally started at right back in place of Sergiño Dest, suspended because of his ejection for arguing with the referee against Trinidad and Tobago in November.

There was a sparse crowd for the first half at AT&T Stadium, where Mexico played in the second game of the doubleheader.

With the U.S. in new red, white and blue uniforms, defender Robinson was the only American starter from Major League Soccer.

Tyler Adams entered in the 63rd in his first appearance since the 2022 World Cup after recovering from a torn right hamstring that twice needed surgery. Restricted to limited playing time as he regains fitness, Adams complained to coach Gregg Berhalter when he was removed 10 minutes into extra time.

Jamaica was missing many of its top players. Michail Antonio, Leon Bailey and Trivante Stewart were not with the team and Demarai Gray and Shamari Nicholson were suspended. 

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