The first half was a virtual lockdown of Jamaica in their own half as the USA created a blistering barrage of scoring chances that met either structural failure (upright, crossbar), Dwayne Millers’s spectacular saves, or Nyron Nosworthy’s blocks. In all, the USA could have easily gone up at least three up and made this a no contest.
The goal came from an almost anti-climactic goalkeeping error in the second half as Miller’s late reaction to Hercules Gomez’s free kick wasn’t enough to keep the ball from deflecting into goal. All that brilliance undone in a moment of ineptitude. Unfortunately for the US, it also seemed to signal a loss of ambition as suddenly they took the foot of the accelerator and allowed the Jamaicans to creep back into the game. The next 20 minutes were quite nervy but fortunately for them Jamaicans also lacked ideas once they got into the scoring third.
Klinsmann made five changes. Graham Zusi had a phenomenal start and the Kansas City winger settled in with Steve Cherundolo also back from injury as both created havoc with their off ball movement and service down the right channel. Zusi’s rasping shot which hit the crossbar set the tone for the first half. Klinsi also introduced Danny Williams ahead of Maurice Edu and the US capitalized on his added injection of speed which was lacking in the Friday game. Captain Carlos Bocanegra also got the nod partnering Geoff Cameron in the heart of defense.
Williams also had a chance which if it had gone in would have provided a highlight reel on a busy day of international soccer. A blast from 30 yards out that had both tremendous pace and movement and beat Miller comprehensively clanged right into the upright. Up front, Hercules Gomez was a hard working presence and his darting runs behind defenders proved problematic.
A note on Jose Francisco Torres. He got his start and although he did not do anything exceptional, he does bring an organizational aspect to the midfield with his passing which till he was there was slick and one or two touches. When he left and Brek Shea and Maurice Edu was introduced was when USA began to look disjointed and errant in their possession.
Today’s results leave the USA, Guatemala, and Jamaica tied on seven points but in a descending order which means goal differences and goals scored could play a very crucial part in qualifying. The USA won which was a great relief but they should have gone all out to add to their tally to ensure a safety net.