Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
USA struggles but clinches third straight Hexagonal title
by Paul Kennedy, October 11th, 2013 9:29PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Confidential

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 evenSacha 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
Philadelphia Union embarks on its toughest stretch of games to date    
The Philadelphia Union, the Eastern Conference leader, plays in Orlando Wednesday, flies halfway across the country ...
Perry Kitchen finds a new niche in Scotland    
Perry Kitchen left MLS after five seasons though the destination turned out to be somewhat of ...
Howard leaves Everton for a much different MLS and USA    
Is the time right for Brad Guzan to take over as the U.S. No. 1? Both ...
Kamara deal shakes up stagnant Revs    
Nobody can match the production of Kei Kamara since he joined Columbus prior to the 2015 ...
Busy midweek schedules add to unique travel woes in MLS    
No MLS head coach or executive has ever praised the league's schedule-makers. Conflicts with other competitions ...
It's time for Klinsmann to go young    
At first blush, there is nothing startling about the 40-player list from which Jurgen Klinsmann will ...
NYCFC's Pirlo problem won't go away    
Jason Kreis, New York City FC's head coach for its expansion season, never came out and ...
Recent incidents sharpen focus on how video replay can improve the game    
MLS and other North American soccer leagues are awaiting specific guidelines to be issued by FIFA ...
MLS ups the ante on expansion    
Major League Soccer has come a long way in the last decade, let alone the last ...
How Brian McBride started his path to stardom    
Brian McBride is regarded as one of the top forwards in U.S. history and played in ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives