Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
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
Maitre Carrard and the FIFA scandal involving not so few rogues    
Former IOC director general Francois Carrard's comments about American soccer -- "an ethnic sport for girls ...
Colorado Rapids search for relevance in tough conference    
MLS Cup champion five years ago, Colorado hasn't been able to attain a spot among the ...
MLS Sack Race heads toward finish line without a winner -- um, loser    
Friday's announcement out of Tampa Bay that Rowdies owner Bill Edwards had fired president and general ...
MLS's budding rivalry knows no borders    
They are separated by an international boundary and more than 1,700 miles, yet FC Dallas and ...
Philadelphia Union seemingly entrapped in dark bubble    
Midseason signings have ratcheted up the playoff pressure in both conferences, and one of those teams ...
Qualifying for the Olympics will be no sure thing    
Olympic qualifying has been an essential part of the U.S. men's national team program for more ...
New weapons bolster Earthquakes with ground to make up    
San Jose's push for the playoffs has been strengthened by addition of Panamanian international Anibal Goday ...
Unsettled picture puts cloud over U.S. national team's playoff prospects    
The USA-Mexico match for a place in the 2017 Confederations Cup is eight weeks away, but ...
Expanded MLS playoff field hasn't diminished intensity of regular-season games    
More teams, 12, will make the playoffs this season than ever before, and those extra spots ...
What those big soccer crowds mean, and don't mean    
Soccer's summer of 2015 has seen some extraordinary attendance figures across the United States.
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives