U.S. Capitalize Jamaican Hangover Take Lead In WCQ Group
USMNT in WCQ action Tuesday night, Split with Jamacia, Lead WCQ Group
9/11/2011 - Columbus, OH. - Tuesday nights World Cup Qualifier in Columbus opened on a somber note as each squad's starting XI stood in the centre circle observing a moment of silence along with the capacity crowd of 20,145 at Columbus Crew Stadium. "It’s moments like these that put sports in perspective" said ESPN’s Adrian Healy before kickoff. "It was a tragedy for this country, but we came together and that’s where we got our strength from," Clint Dempsey said He along with many other players talked to the media Monday and earlier this afternoon expressing how honored they were to represent their country tonight.
The aura and circumstance of the 11th anniversary of the terrible day put an exclamation mark on a strong U.S. peformance. Last Friday, in Kingston when these two clubs last met Jamaica had stunned the U.S. and CONCACAF with their first victory in 19 tries. It was very clear on the American side that World Cup hopes would quickly be in jeopardy if they met a similar fate today. This match didn’t have much time for foreshadowing, but it was well known this was the most important match of Klinsmann’s young tenure as the American manager. Monday he said "We didn’t get the result we wanted in Jamaica which puts us in a position that we have to get those points back and we want to desperately do that..." For Jamacia their biggest obstacle was to put on a strong follow-up act, but by the first half it was clear they still had a large hangover from Friday.
From the kickoff following it was obvious that Jamaica was having trouble getting in gear, they were mostly responding to the Americans and not dictating play at all. Graham Zusi in his 4th international appearance started sending crosses and putting shots on net with a 6’ laser that hit the crossbar. He’s adjusted comfortably playing right forward as L. Donovan was absent for his second game in a row. In the 15’ Herculez Gomez, who has been a favorite of Klinsmann since his arrival laid beautiful service to Jermaine Jones who directed it wide. Jamaica, perhaps still hungover from Friday were defending American attack after attack causing some sloppy defending. 17’ Jamaican CB Lovel Palmer was booked. The attack continued, 23 year old Danny Williams rang the post with a 30’ blast. The shots were piling up as the first half wore on. The excellent play of Dwayne Miller with 7 saves including a 20’ split second dive sent the Americans to the locker room scoreless.
Following the half the Jamaicans fell behind again, and handed the U.S. another free kick after a late foul. In the 55’ H. Gomez ripped a 32 yard free kick, while D. Miller did all he could to get a diving hand as it bounced off the goalpost and in. After taking the lead, some cheeky play by the Americans in middle of the half led to some turnovers and three solid scoring opportunities for Jamaica. FW Ryan Johnson’s head found a very promising 70’ cross, but it turned just wide. The Toronto FC man was one of seven other MLS starters who played tonight. Towards the end the Jamaicans put together a few strong effort’s and you could feel that Tim Howard was going to be needed for a big save. The Everton GK had seen very little action all match and when Jamaica sustained a surge of momentum he stood tall coordinating his final third. Playing from behind all game the efforts from Jamaica were too little too late as the Americans gained the upper hand and ended the match in charge.
With this win, a three way tie for points exists at the top of the group. The Americans having the upper hand over Guatemala than Jamaica with goals scored. Their next fixture is on the road, October 12 against Antigua and Barbuda, 19:00.
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