[USA-JAMAICA REPORT CARD] The USA atoned for a 2-1 loss in Kingston Friday by beating Jamaica, 1-0, in Columbus with a Herculez Gomez goal. His impressive performance was matched by several Americans as a U.S.-dominated match stayed close when shots hit the woodwork and/or were spectacularly saved by keeper Dwayne Miller. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney grades the U.S. players
GRADE/PLAYER (CLUB) GP/G
6 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG) 81/0.
Sharp save in the final minutes was his only real test yet he also handled a few tricky crosses cleanly. Save gave a perfect example of a keeper staying ready despite long periods of quiet.
7 Steve Cherundolo (Hannover/GER) 85/2.
It took only a few minutes for him to provide the threat out of the back and width that was so sorely lacking Friday in Kingston. He hit the chest of Herculez Gomez with a 40-yard crossfield ball that would the envy of any playmaker, and with crosses and clipped balls into the channel he caused a lot of problems. Jamaica got almost nothing offensively down his side of the field.
7 Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG) 8/0.
Might have been targeted by Jamaica as the less experienced centerback, but aside from a couple of panicky moments with his passes, he usually blunted the attempts of Lucas Sheldon and others to get past him or behind him, and also showed good sense of where to move with Cherundolo upfield.
6 Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander/SPAIN) 107/13.
Slid left to cover when Fabian Johnson got up the left side, anchored the middle when Jamaica tried, occasionally, to break through the middle. Directed traffic and in the rare nervous moments provided the captain's calm that had been missing in Kingston.
6 Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim/GER) 9/0.
Played as much in left midfield as left back to exploit Jamaica's reluctance to attack down his side. Found room out wide to work combinations and get balls into the middle as well as the penalty area. Ranged all the way to the left side to cut off a ball after a rare Cherundolo giveaway. His speed helped contain Dane Richards.
7 Danny Williams (Hoffenheim/GER) 8/0.
Contributed a breakout game playing the position and role he often handles in the Bundesliga. Used the time and space afforded by Jamaica's passiveness to great effect, pressing urgency into the attack despite a dispiriting series of shots off the woodwork, one of which he struck himself with a superb right-footed blast that came off the inner corner of the post. When Jamaica pressed through the middle he kept the play in front of him and squeezed out the space at the top of the penalty arc.
6 Jermaine Jones (Schalke/GER) 24/2.
Jones concentrated on getting into tackles and playing soccer, and only rarely let his combative personality boil over. He kept his touches simple, yet stormed up the left side and charged through the middle in the final minutes to nearly set up chances. Lost track of Rodolfo Austin a couple of times as Jamaica pressed for an equalizer.
7 Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City) 4/1.
The best player on the field in the first half, he banged an opportunistic shot off the crossbar and looped an excellent cross that yielded a chance neutralized by a pushing foul on Herculez Gomez. His presence and connections with Cherundolo on the right flank spearheaded the U.S. first-half dominance.
6 Jose Torres (Pachua/MEX) 20/0.
Overcame a jittery start -- a pass scuffed past a wide-open Johnson, a pair of weak crosses -- to get into the game and play several crisp, clever passes. Clipped a nice ball for Dempsey as he found space with an angled run to the byline. Floated into the right channel to take a left-footed shot that cleared the bar by less than a yard. Won a ball with a sprint and challenge from behind that energized the crowd and bemused the Jamaicans.
5 Clint Dempsey (Tottenham/ENG) 89/28.
Posed more of a threat off the ball than in possession as his legs gave out, yet his threat drew attention and opened up space. He sprayed good balls from midfield but didn't have the sharpness to work free in the box. He rose up from the usual allotment of fouls suffered to mockingly berate the Jamaicans.
7 Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna/MEX) 16/5.
Provided the workrate and variety of runs to keep Jamaica's back line off-balance. Lost a scoring chance on a dubious pushing foul while heading a Zusi cross. Scored with a free kick of bend and pace that skimmed off the keeper's gloves. His knack for running the channels is unmatched by any U.S. player except Landon Donovan.
5 Brek Shea (FC Dallas) 15/0.
Drove up the flank without much effect while on the ball but covered a lot of ground and charged into challenges.
5 Maurice Edu (Stoke City/ENG) 41/1.
Got right into the flow as a second-half sub and also got a couple of clearances at critical moments.
NR Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar/HOL) 52/13.
Rarely managed to hold the ball, did use a couple of smarter touches in stoppage time.
(1=low; 5=average; 10=high.)