U.S. players celebrate after their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match against Jamaica in Columbus, Ohio, September 11, 2012. The United States defeated Jamaica 1-0.
(Photo : REUTERS/Matt Sullivan (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT SOCCER))
The United States Men's National Team redeemed themselves Tuesday with a win over Jamaica.
After losing to Jamaica Friday in a shocking 2-1 defeat, the US was in dire need of three points in order to keep their World Cup 2014 hopes alive. Those stakes were raised when Guatemala defeated Antigua and Barbuda in the earlier match of the group. That win put Guatemala into a tie for first place in the group with Jamaica and essentially left the US out of qualifying position with just two matches to go.
The US started a lineup that was different from Friday. Kyle Beckerman was absent from the playing field and Maurice Edu also failed to get the start. Graham Zusi got a surprise start and put on a strong display as he created chances and distributed the ball with ease and simplicity. The US created a plethora of chances in the early going as Daniel Williams hit the post and a Francisco Torres blast hit the pipe as well. Jamaican keeper Dwayne Miller also had his share of saves to keep the score level at zero after 45 minutes. At half-time, the US looked the best they had through three and a half qualification matches.
But it all proved to be a mirage as their first half dominance did not translate to the second half. They luckily got a goal from Hercules Gomez who scored off a free kick in the 55th minute. However, even that shot was helped by some poor keeping from Miller who redirected the shot into his own net.
But that goal signaled a wakeup call for Jamaica who took the play to the Americans and kept them off their game for the remainder of the match. All of a sudden the US looked disorganized, nervous, and lacked the poise that was so indicative of their play in the first half.
Clint Dempsey comes to mind as the most disappointing player on the pitch. As in Friday's match, he looked increasingly lost on the pitch and failed to generate anything worthy of note throughout the game. Klinsmann made the poor decision of keeping Demspey for the full duration of the match when it was clear that he was not in shape to do so.
Despite the win, this US team continues to disconcert fans as they lack the composure and offensive creativity and prowess to truly become an elite contender. They even make you question their chances of making the World Cup Finals.