Leading Off

Nobody told Jamaica it couldn’t beat the U.S.

Jamaica’s Darren Mattocks, center, celebrates after scoring a goal during the first half of a CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal playoff soccer game against the United States Wednesday, July 22, 2015, in Atlanta.
Jamaica’s Darren Mattocks, center, celebrates after scoring a goal during the first half of a CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal playoff soccer game against the United States Wednesday, July 22, 2015, in Atlanta. AP

When it comes to international men’s soccer, we’ve come a long way, baby.

But the United States is still not in the same class as Brazil, Germany and Argentina – national teams that expect to compete for the World Cup. The U.S. is currently ranked No. 34 by FIFA.

The United States winning a World Cup in the near future? It’s nice to dream about, but it’s not likely to happen.

That’s why the Gold Cup was invented in 1991. A 12-team tournament hosted by the United States every two years with teams we can beat. In fact, of the past 12 championship matches, the U.S. has played in 10 – winning five times.

That’s why Wednesday’s semifinal against Jamaica was supposed to be a mere formality, a live scrimmage with an overmatched opponent.

Too bad the Raggae Boyz didn’t play by the script, mon. Jamaica’s 2-1 upset was a kick in the pants we didn’t see coming.

Where have you gone, Landon Donovan?

▪ It will be interesting to see what Seth Curry can do if the Kings give him a real shot.

Undrafted out of Duke, Curry kicked around the league on 10-day contracts and in the NBA Development League for the past two seasons. His two-year deal with the Kings, however, should give him some peace of mind that he has a job in the league.

And like his MVP brother, Steph, the kid can shoot. His 24.3 points-per-game average with New Orleans in the Las Vegas Summer League opened a lot of eyes. The Pelicans had the inside edge to sign Curry but took too long. Vlade Divac was there to pounce.

▪ It may not have been an 82-game schedule, but Becky Hammon proved to the NBA she can coach by leading the San Antonio Spurs to a Summer League championship on Monday.

Under Gregg Popovich’s guidance, Hammon will someday be ready to coach an NBA team for 82 games. But will the NBA be ready for Hammon?

Victor Contreras: 916-326-5527, vcontreras@sacbee.com @SacBeeVictor

Playbook

▪ WHAT TO DO: Tennis, California Dream vs. San Diego Aviators, 7:30 p.m., Dream Stadium, Sunrise Marketplace: Mike and Bob Bryan return to Sacramento with the Dream.

▪ TWITTER CHATTER: Mike Krukow: “The Giants in this series turned (Padres pitcher) Dale Thayer from a gunslinger into a GUMslinger.” – @LOLKNBR

▪ ON THIS DATE: On July 23, 2000, Tiger Woods, at 24, becomes the youngest player to win the career Grand Slam at the British Open on the Old Course at St. Andrews.

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