Two Set-Piece Strikes Lead Jamaica Past US Men’s National Team
The US Men’s National Team’s road to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil took a wrong turn in Kingston with a 2-1 loss to Jamaica. The US took an immediate lead when Clint Dempsey finished off a rebound in the 36th second of the game, but two dead-ball strikes from Jamaica in each half gave the Jamaicans sole possession of first place in Group A.
Klinsmann chose a very defensive-minded starting XI with Jermaine Jones, Kyle Beckerman, and Maurice Edu sharing the midfield with Dempsey who was slotted in behind forwards Jozy Altidore and Hercules Gomez.
With so much focus on Jamaica’s speedy attack everyone was caught off guard when Dempsey gave the US its fastest goal in WC Qualifying history. The play started when Maurice Edu slipped a long pass to Gomez. Gomez carried the ball towards the goal line while fighting off a defender and forced a save from keeper Dwayne Miller. Gomez had a second effort, but saw his follow-up denied by a defender. Fortunately for the US, the blocked shot fell to Dempsey who found the back of the net.
After the early goal, both teams settled in for the rest of the half with little attack generated in either direction. Unfortunately for the US, Klinsmann’s choice for starters in the midfield gave the US little chance at generating a decent attack. Having two holding midfielders on the flanks took away possible crossing balls while Dempsey is not a true playmaker, leaving the US without anyone to dictate the flow. Outside defenders Fabian Johnson and Michael Parkhurst took care of the runs down the touchlines, but often forced Beckerman to try to catch Jamaica’s much speedier wingers.
In the 24th minute Beckerman tried to track down Rodolph Austin, but ended up conceding a free-kick to the midfielder. After the US set up their wall, Austin sent a driven shot into the wall, deflecting off of Beckerman’s leg, and past Tim Howard who could not react fast enough to get a touch to the ball.
The US had a chance to re-take the lead in the 44th minute when Edu flicked a driven cross from Parkhurst towards the middle of the box where Dempsey attempted a sliding shot on net, but failed to beat Miller.
In the second half, the US continued to struggle and their frustration and the physical play of Jamaica led to a number of fouls from both sides. Eventually the US found themselves conceding their second goal of the game in the 62nd minute to a wicked free-kick from Luton Shelton. Shelton didn’t need a deflection as he sent in a curling shot that went over the US defense and pinged the near post past a fully out-stretched Howard.
The US tried to answer, but could not generate any more offense than in the first half. In the 72nd minute Klinsmann tried to change the game by sending in Brek Shea for Edu and Terrence Boyd for Altidore, who was nearly silent in the game due to a lack of good service and failure to do much with the chances he was given.
The inclusion of Shea and Boyd gave the US a better chance of making their long balls and crosses into the box lead to a goal, but in the remaining minutes of the game, the US failed to pull one back.
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
JAM 1 1 2
USA – Clint Dempsey 1st minute
JAM – Rodolph Austin 23
JAM – Luton Shelton 62
USA : 1-Tim Howard (capt.); 15-Michael Parkhurst, 21-Clarence Goodson, 20-Geoff Cameron, 23-Fabian Johnson; 13-Jermaine Jones, 5-Kyle Beckerman (14-Danny Williams, 72), 7-Maurice Edu (11-Brek Shea, 72); 8-Clint Dempsey, 17-Jozy Altidore (18-Terrence Boyd, 72), 9-Herculez Gomez
Subs not used: 2-Jonathan Spector, 3-Carlos Bocanegra, 4-Michael Orozco Fiscal, 12-Brad Guzan, 16-Jose Torres, 19-Graham Zusi
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
JAM : 13-Dwayne Miller; 19-Arian Mariappa, 2-Nyron Nosworthy, 14-Lovel Palmer; 15-Jevaughn Watson, 17-Rodolph Austin, 7-Jason Morrison, 6-Jermaine Taylor (capt.); 21-Luton Shelton (8-Joel Senior, 83); 18-Kavin Bryan (5-Darren Mattocks, 63), 9-Ryan Johnson (10-Omar Cummings, 90+1)
Subs not used: 1-Duwayne Kerr, 23-Jacomeno Barrett, 4-Shavar Thomas, 3-Dicoy Williams, 12-Andrae Williams, 16-O’Brian Woodbine, 22-Ewan Grandison, 11-Dane Richards, 20-Tremaine Stewart
Head coach: Theodore Whitmore
Stats Summary: USA / JAM
Shots: 7 / 9
Shots on Goal: 2 / 4
Saves: 2 / 1
Corner Kicks: 1 / 3
Fouls: 12 / 14
Offside: 0 / 4
JAM – Je-Vaughn Watson (caution) 76th minute
USA – Jermaine Jones (caution) 78