Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
USA struggles but clinches third straight Hexagonal title
by Paul Kennedy, October 11th, 2013 9:29PM

MOST READ
TAGS:  men's national team, world cup 2014

MOST COMMENTED

By Paul Kennedy

The United States clinched the Hexagonal for the third straight time with a 2-0 win over Jamaica on late goals by Graham Zusi and Jozy Altidore at Kansas City's Sporting Park on Friday night.

The difference for the USA has been its ability to hold service at home in the Hex. It took all 15 points at home with five shutout wins -- a feat it also accomplished in 2005 -- but the first hour against Jamaica was easily the worst home performance of the entire qualifying campaign.

LOCAL HERO. Zusi was an automatic choice on the right side of midfield through the June qualifiers, but Alejandro Bedoya has come along in recent months since his move to French club Nantes and started ahead of Zusi in the last two qualifiers -- for the deciding qualifier against Mexico and in front of Zusi's hometown fans against Jamaica.

Zusi came on for Landon Donovan after the break and scored the winning goal with a well-placed shot of a pass from Bedoya that deflected off a Jamaican defender.

Look for Zusi to return to the starting lineup Tuesday night against Panama in Panama City.

SUBS DELIVER. The competition for spots on the World Cup team has begun in earnest, and Zusi, Edgar Castillo and even Sacha Kljestan made cases for inclusion in the final 23 with their play off the bench.

Zusi would be considered close to an automatic choice, but Castillo and Kljestan are bubble players. Castillo, who has often been called into camp but rarely played, did what he does best -- cause trouble down the left flank from his left back position. He set up Altidore for the second goal and also did well to set up Zusi earlier. Castillo might aso start Tuesday as DaMarcus Beasley left the game with a hamstring issue.

Even though he's the only American to play in the first two games of the Champions League group stage, Kljestan wasn't even called in for the September qualifiers. But the USA took control after his insertion for Aron Johannsson that coincided with a change in formation from a 4-4-2 to 4-5-1 with Mix Diskerud playing behind Altidore.

Kljestan was also a bubble player in 2010 and wouldn't want to repeat the heartbreak of missing out on the World Cup again.

DONOVAN STRUGGLES. Donovan, who has been bothered by an ankle injury, had his worst game since returning the national team this summer and was taken off at the half.

Klinsmann said Donovan had trouble getting into the game but he wasn't alone in the first half. Klinsmann said the coaching staff debated whether to move Donovan up front but it decided to stick with Johannsson, who missed several chances in the first half.

Klinsmann talked with the LA Galaxy player right after the game and explained the substitution. "Anyone can have a bad game," he said. "No problem."


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Confidential
Cahill in the crosshairs for crucial second leg    
Bradley Wright-Phillips out, Tim Cahill in starts just about every discussion of the Revs-Red Bulls showdown ...
Three takeaways from LA Galaxy-Seattle    
The Western Conference finalists are separated by just one goal heading into the second leg in ...
Three takeaways from New York-New England    
The New England Revolution made it three wins in three playoff games with a 2-1 win ...
My advice to Jurgen Klinsmann    
I'll begin by saying Project Klinsmann is too big to fail, so Jurgen Klinsmann is going ...
Three keys that could decide New England-New York series    
New York hosts the first leg of the Eastern Conference finals against New England Sunday, more ...
Three keys that could decide Seattle-LA Galaxy series    
The top two teams clash as Seattle and Los Angeles vie for a place -- and ...
Tom Sermanni: I hope the USA does well    
Tom Sermanni watched a friend's child's U-6 game last weekend. He laughs and shakes his head ...
Running down the Dispersal Draft    
The Offseason of Drafts started Wednesday with the selection of seven former Chivas USA players.
Ireland-USA Player Ratings    
The USA's winless streak extended to four games with a 4-1 loss to Ireland in Dublin ...
Three takeaways from Ireland-USA    
The U.S. national team ended its 2014 schedule on a dismal note, losing, 4-1, to the ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives