Final, 2-0 U.S.: It was neither pretty nor easy, but the U.S. downs Jamaica in the end. The result ensures they top the CONCACAF hexagonal standings for the 2014 World Cup qualifying cycle.
Altidore and Zusi got the goals. Much of the thanks goes to the substitutes Klinsmann put on, who increased the pressure and made the U.S. more dangerous.
Defensively, Cameron and Besler were almost flawless, and Jones patrolled the area in front of the back four to great effect.
The crowd at Sporting Park didn’t get the show Klinsmann wanted to give them, but they will certainly be happy with the outcome.
The result eliminates Jamaica from World Cup qualifying, but the Reggae Boyz have some young talent that could carry them to future World Cups.
That’s all for now and thanks for joining us. Let’s discuss this one on Twitter @NESNsoccer and Facebook. Be sure to keep an eye out for some news, fan reactions, analysis and opinion that is on the way on NESN.com.
86th minute, 2-0 U.S.: That first goal stunned the Reggae Boyz. The second finished them off.
For the visitors, it now looks to be an exercise in damage control.
81st minute, 2-0 U.S.: Altidore doubles the Americans’ joy after slotting home Castillo’s cross.
Castillo gets much of the credit as he won the ball off of Doyley, controlled it inside of the Jamaica area and fed Altidore, who finished coolly from close range.
The substitutes, Zusi and Castillo have made huge impacts with their energy and creativity in the final third.
77th minute, 1-0 U.S.: Zusi caps the Americans’ best move of the game with the opening goal.
Bedoya found him 16 yards from goal, and he slotted it past Kerr into the side netting.
Kljestan and Diskerud had a nice interchange to open some space in the Jamaica third of the field.
74th minute, 0-0: Jamaica makes a change. Watson is off. Robinson comes on in his place.
72nd minute, 0-0: Johannsson departs with Kljestan taking his place.
The young U.S. striker was dangerous early on but he was unable to make a major impact as the game progressed. To be fair, he didn’t get much service.
67th minute, 0-0: Mattocks tests Howard with a header from close range, but the shot goes straight at the U.S. goalkeeper, who collects it cleanly.
66th minute, 0-0: Castillo is coming on to replace Beasley.
Beasley had a good game. He was solid defensively and created one of the best scoring opportunities in the first half.
62nd minute, 0-0: Altidore found some space in the Jamaica box for the first time, fed a pass to Jones, but the German-American midfielder couldn’t get a touch on it.
58th minute, 0-0: The second half starts much like the first did. Both teams are trying to hold possession and wait for the their chance to strike but they are unable to find the space to create any dangerous opportunities.
46th minute, 0-0: Zusi replaced Donovan at halftime.
Perhaps Donovan will leave the U.S. camp and return to the L.A. Galaxy. He is chasing the MLS all-time careers goals record, and the Galaxy have a big game on Wednesday.
Zusi will get a chance to strut his stuff for the national team at the stadium where his club, Sporting Kansas City, plays its home games.
Halftime, 0-0: The first half comes to an end tied at 0-0.
The U.S. hasn’t impressed against a determined opponent. The hosts were unable to combine effectively and pull their opponents out of position. Their most dangerous moments came from set pieces, which will disappoint Klinsmann and the partisan crowd at Sporting Park.
Jamaica didn’t have much to show in terms of attacking efforts, but their defensive work will delight the new coach Schaefer. Mattocks looked dangerous at times, and Austin always poses a threat from set pieces.
35th minute, 0-0: While Jamaica has done an admiral job with their defensive organization and pressure, it hasn’t offered enough going forward to pose a serious threat to the U.S.
This is a must-win game for Jamaica. The Reggae Boyz have to find some cohesion in their attack to break down the American defense.
29th minute, 0-0: Donovan’s deliveries from set pieces have created a pair of dangerous moments.
Jones headed his free-kick over the bar a couple minutes ago, and Johannsson volleyed a corner kick wide.
Donovan’s set pieces have been invaluable to the U.S. efforts over the years and they continue to be at the present. They may be more important than usual, as the makeshift U.S. lineup struggles to play with fluency against Jamaica.
24th minute, 0-0: The U.S. hasn’t been able to take control of the game. Jamaica has pressured the hosts all over the field with desire and determination, making it difficult for the U.S. to establish any rhythm to its game.
18th minute, 0-0: Beasley and Johannsson are behind the game’s first two scoring chances.
Beasley’s pressure caused a turnover in the Jamaica third of the field, and the American fullback carried it forward and shot. His effort was deflected out for a corner kick.
Johannsson collected a corner and fired wide moments later.
Seventh minute, 0-0: The early part of the game lacks much speed and energy. The temperature is nearly 80 degrees in Kansas, which could be behind the slow tempo.
Fifth minute, 0-0: Slow start to this one, but Jones appeared to have suffered an injury. He rose to his feet and ran it off.
Pregame: Friday’s game presents a huge opportunity for Diskerud and Johannsson. Having only recently stepped into the national team picture, they can make claims for starting spots with good performances against Jamaica.
The versatile Cameron slots into the center of defense next to Besler, who has been a regular (alongside the missing Gonzalez) throughout the hexagonal.
It’s likely that Donovan will play an advanced midfield role, leaving Altidore and Johannson as the strike partnership. Klinsmann often deploys two wide attacking midfielders and one central striker, but it looks like he has changed tactics against Jamaica.
Jamaica has plenty of MLS experience in its starting 11, particularly up front. Mattocks and Brown give MLS defenders headaches on a weekly basis, while Johnson is a veteran attacker in the U.S. top flight. It remains to be seen if Shaefer has solidified the defense in his three-months in charge. The Reggae Boyz could be vulnerable if the U.S. stretches their defense early or wears them down with constant possession.
6 p.m.: Here are the lineups:
Tim Howard, goalkeeper
DaMarcus Beasley, left back
Geoff Cameron, center back
Matt Besler, Center back
Brad Evans, right back
Mix Diskerud, midfielder
Jermain Jones, midfielder
Alejandro Bedoya, midfielder
Landon Donovan, forward
Aron Johannsson, forward
Jozy Altidore, striker
Brad Guzan, goalkeeper
Edgar Castillo, defender
Michael Orozco, defender
Sacha Kljestan, midfielder
Kyle Beckerman, midfielder
Graham Zusi, midfielder
Terrance Boyd, striker
Duwayne Kerr, Goalkeeper
Lloyd Doyley, right back
Wes Morgan, center back
Adrian Mariappa, center back
Demar Phillips, left back
Jobi McAnuff, midfielder
Rudolph Austin, midfielder
Je-vaugh Watson, midfielder
Darren Mattocks, forward
Ryan Johnson, forward
Deshorn Brown, striker
8 a.m. ET: The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team continues its journey to the 2014 FIFA World Cup against Jamaica on Friday.
The Americans have already qualified for next year’s tournament, but they will face the Reggae Boyz with the same focus and intensity that has taken them to the top of the CONCACAF hexagonal standings. U.S. players are playing for their places on the team — both now and in Brazil next summer — and a potential seed at the World Cup. They also want to give their supporters a good show in what is the Americans’ last home game in this World Cup qualifying cycle.
The Associated Press reports U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has issued this latest challenge to his players. He wants them to maintain the lofty standards, which saw the U.S. qualify with two games to spare.
“You want to win every game, get the points, win the group and be No. 1 in CONCACAF,” he said.
Friday’s game will test the depth of the U.S. squad, as regulars Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Omar Gonzalez, Eddie Johnson and Fabian Johnson are out with injuries. Expect Rhode Island native Geoff Cameron to start alongside Matt Besler in central defense. The midfield could have a new look, and Landon Donovan could feature heavily in the attack. The absences will give other players a chance to impress Klinsmann and increase the level of competition for places in the World Cup squad.
Jamaica has a mathematical chance to qualify for the World Cup, but it must win its remaining two games (and benefit from fortunate results in games involving other teams) in order to reach a playoff series against New Zeland. Winfried Schaefer replaced Theodore Whitmore as head coach in July. The German led Jamaica to a draw in Panama in September. Schaefer and the Reggae Boyz know it’s now or never.
“We have to win,” Schaefer said. “There is no choice for us.”
Veteran goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts will miss the game due to injuries. Richard McCallum will likely start in goal.
Sporting Park, home of Major League Soccer’s Sporting Kansas City, will be the venue for the game. The $200 million jewel of the Midwest will be sold out, as over 18,500 fans will certainly provide another world-class atmosphere for the game. Besler hopes to enjoy a special homecoming. The 26-year-old Sporting Kansas City star grew up in nearby Overland Park, Kansas, (just 13 miles from Sporting Park). He’ll have plenty of family, friends and fans in the capacity crowd.
Join us right here starting at 6 p.m., as we’ll bring you all the action from USA-Jamaica.
Have a question for Marcus Kwesi O’Mard? Send it to him via Twitter at @NESNsoccer or @mkomard, his Facebook page or NESN Soccer’s Facebook page or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.