Quick recovery leaves Americans looking good

[JAMAICA-USA] If the USA qualifies for the 2014 World Cup, it will have turned the corner with its stunning 2-1 victory over Jamaica Friday in Kingston, where it had never won its five previous qualifiers.

The USA blew a 1-0 lead against Jamaica and lost, 2-1, the last time they met at the Office in September 2012. This time it came back after conceding a stunningly easy goal (likely offside) off a free kick with a minute to play in regulation to win for only second time in the Jurgen Klinsmann era after blowing a lead. Friday's victory was also the second time a Klinsmann team won in stoppage time.

The USA beat Slovenia, 3-2, after blowing an early lead in November 2011, and in its next game, the first game of 2012, won, 1-0, on a Ricardo Clark goal in stoppage time against Venezuela.

QUICK RECOVERY. Stealing points with late goals have been the hallmark of the USA through the years on the road in the Concacaf qualifying -- Brian Ching scored in the 89th minute to earn the USA a 1-1 tie in Kingston in 2004 -- and they did it in rapid fashion after Jermaine Beckford's goal in the 89th minute tied the game at 1-1.

Following a counterattack involving Edgar Castillo, Geoff Cameron (making a surprise appearance in midfield after Jermaine Jones' concussion), Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey and Graham Zusi, the USA was awarded a corner kick. Instead of waiting for Zusi to take it, Bradley played it short to Zusi, who played it back to Bradley, who beat teenager Alvas Powell and found Brad Evans alone at the six-yard line. The Sounders midfielder, converted to right back, was all alone and fired a shot that deflected off a Jamaica defender and into the far post for the winner in the 92nd minute.
ROAD WARRIORS. The USA is the only team to have opened with three of its first four games on the road yet finds itself tied for first place with Costa Rica, which leads on goal difference, and Mexico, which has played one more game.

Calculating the Hexagonal standings on the basis of points won on the road and lost at road, the USA leads with plus-4, ahead of Costa Rica and Mexico at plus-1, Honduras at minus-2, Panama at minus-3 and Jamaica at minus-7.

With seven points and four more games to play at home, the USA will hit 19 points if it wins those four home games -- more than enough to qualify comfortably.

CLOSE CALL. Beckford looked to be offside on his tying goal, but it was close. He checked back, grabbing on to Eddie Johnson, just as the ball was played into the area from the left wing and then pealed back toward the goal to score on an open header past Tim Howard, who had remained on his line.

Replays showed Cameron on the far side as the player who stepped back toward the U.S. goal just as Beckford was stepping toward the U.S. line.

UNLIKELY HERO. Evans was not even on the initial roster Jurgen Klinsmann announced for the June qualifiers, and he had never scored for the USA in nine previous appearances.

Evans should get a hero's welcome when he returns to Seattle on Saturday night. The national team is scheduled to arrive at 5 p.m., and Evans planned to take any of his U.S. teammates who want to go to see his Sounders play Vancouver in the Cascadia Cup in a match that starts at 7:30 p.m.

UNCHANGED LINEUP. The USA fielded the same starting lineup that started in Sunday's 4-3 win over Germany, marking the first time Klinsmann started the same 11 players in two games in a row.

He will need to make at least one change against Panama Tuesday in Seattle. Zusi, who set up Jozy Altidore's opening goal with another killer cross, picked up a yellow card on the foul that led to Beckford's equalizer and will sit out against the Canaleros for yellow-card accumulation.

If Jones sits out Tuesday's game, it will mark the third straight time he has missed the second game of back-to-back qualifiers. He was suspended for the deciding semifinal round game against Guatemala after being carded in Antigua & Barbuda for a handball, and he suffered a leg wound against Costa Rica that kept him out of the Mexico game in March.

June 7 in Kingston
Jamaica 1 USA 2. Goal: Altidore 30, Evans 90+2; Beckford 89.
Jamaica --
Ricketts; Powell, Mariappa, Gordon, Woodbine; McCleary (O.Daley 75), Austin, Elliott, Hue (Beckford 70); J.Johnson (Robinson 67), R.Johnson.
USA -- Howard; Evans, Gonzalez, Besler, Beasley; Jones (Cameron 59), Bradley; Zusi, Dempsey, F.Johnson (Castillo 76); Altidore (E.Johnson 83).
Yellow cards: USA -- Zusi 88,  Evans 90+2.
Referee: Roberto Moreno (Panama).

Hexagonal Standings:
7 Costa Rica 2-1-1 6/4
7 USA 2-1-1 4/3
7 Mexico 1-4-0 3/2
6 Panama 1-3-0 5/3
4 Honduras 1-1-2 4/6
2 Jamaica 0-2-3 2/6

Hexagonal Schedule:
Friday, June 7
Panama 0 Mexico 0
Costa Rica 1 Honduras 0

Tuesday, June 11
Mexico vs. Costa Rica
Honduras vs. Jamaica
USA vs. Honduras
Tuesday, June 18
USA vs. Honduras
Costa Rica vs. Panama

16 comments about "Quick recovery leaves Americans looking good".
  1. Charles Stamos, June 8, 2013 at 1:32 a.m.

    US lucky to win it. Nice games and assists by Bradley and Zusi. Altidore and Evans with the quality finishes. Offense just enough to win, need Donovan and Torres if we can handle their defensive weakness. Beasley was beaten to the line too many times. Still need a left back! Soft marking on the Jamaica's free kick goal, it could have been a foul and it also could have been offsides, but you don't let the attacker get goalside on that free kick. Had a tough time watching the game on BEIN in Spanish also, so I'll just say, it's an away win, hurry and get out of town with the 3 points!

  2. Eric Schmitt, June 8, 2013 at 8:04 a.m.

    You make your own luck. After conceding the equalizer, they didn't get down, didn't give up. They kept fighting and got the winner. They were the better team all night and deserved to win.

  3. beautiful game, June 8, 2013 at 9:52 a.m.

    Three points yes, the performance C-.

  4. Walt Pericciuoli, June 8, 2013 at 10:32 a.m.

    Bradley had a great night.He worked hard seldom got frustrated, kept possession and laid off great passes. Did seem to run down over the last 15 min. Zusi was great and overall I thought the team did well proving to be the better side on the night. But, we give up too many easy goals or chances, especially thru the center.Besler and Gonzales have not in, my opinion, proven to be a solid pairing. Besides being beaten often, whenever they do come up with the ball, you can count on it being lumped upfield aimlessly and mindlessly.Need better in the central "D". That will be our weakness going forward unless these two guys show improvement, which so far they have not.

  5. Chris St. Hilaire, June 8, 2013 at 11:38 a.m.

    It gets old hearing that we need Landon back. He chose to sit out and Zusi has stepped up and looks promising...and unlike Donovan, motivated. Cheers to MLS for creating players who can contribute to the national team.

  6. beautiful game, June 8, 2013 at 12:05 p.m.

    Walt et al, Bradley is the only player on the squad who has beaucoup soccer IQ and plays with simplicity and efficacy. That, and his understanding of the soccer nuances place him at the top of the team pecking order. He weaves around the pitch, unlike most other players who prefer the linear approach. Best player on the night; simple and effective.

  7. Walt Pericciuoli, June 8, 2013 at 12:34 p.m.

    I w, agree, and I was not always a Bradley supporter. I can see he has grown during his time in Italy. Probably the only field player (possibly Dempsey)we have that could get a game for a top 10 National side.If we could only develop a couple more like him.

  8. Mark Wallis, June 8, 2013 at 1:25 p.m.

    Except for the first 15 minutes, USA were not the better team. Too many giveaways and defensive errors.

    Bradley is essential. I'm hoping that Holden is given an opportunity soon.

  9. beautiful game, June 8, 2013 at 1:46 p.m.

    Walt, with all due respect, the jury on the Deuce has been out a long time...tends to pull the Houdini act, same with LD. Am convinced that this game proved nothing new; the symmetry is lacking.

  10. Allan Lindh, June 8, 2013 at 1:47 p.m.

    Holden hasn't played significant minutes in almost 2 yrs -- he needs more time. We need Donovan on the bench to fill in midfield as needed. Klingsman has made his point, time to call him up for Tuesday.

  11. Steve Jones, June 8, 2013 at 1:54 p.m.

    I agree with the others that Bradley was great last night and makes all the difference for this team. Without him they have no cohesion and can't possess the ball out of the back. I was impressed by the entire team's performance last night and saw improvement, even by the two young CBs who people are criticizing. Their marking was good and they read the game and communicated pretty well. The Jamaicans are very athletic, and the back 4 did a decent job handling their speed. The CBs are clearly getting better and have the potential to be really good. They just need confidence and experience. Replays show the Jamaican goal was clearly offside. That is not an excuse -- you can't just stop playing --but it is a factor in assessing the team's performance. Too bad they could not close it out 1-0, but the game-winner showed a lot of courage and poise, particularly, again, from Bradley.

  12. Bruce Gowan, June 8, 2013 at 3:37 p.m.

    I will never get over the fact that the US National team can play a game and the broadcast is not available on TV in the US.

  13. Kent James, June 8, 2013 at 3:55 p.m.

    I thought most of the team played pretty well against an athletic, motivated opponent. Beasley was beaten a few times, but that Jamaican winger was very fast, and I don't see anyone else on the US roster doing better there. Although I'm not a Jones fan, I thought he made some very nice passes early on. Dempsey was non-existent, which you hate to see from your premiere player, but it happens, and fortunately we didn't need him. I thought Jozy was struggling, but his goal was well-taken and just what he (and the team) needed. The field seemed huge, and I thought we used that better than the Jamaicans did. LD would have excelled on such a field. All in all, getting 3 points on the road after an equalizer in the 90th minute, I can't complain.

  14. Reuben Valles, June 8, 2013 at 7:48 p.m.

    3 pts on the road in the HEX is 3 pts. We will take that everytime! Nice

    Nobody is mentioning this, but that Jamaican goal was more the error by Tim Howard! I mean, when the Jamaican heads the ball he is a good step inside the 6 yard box. That was a complete floater (high and long), are you telling me that the big body of Tim Howard cant come out 2 big steps and catch that ball with his knee up or even jump up high and punch the living shit out of a high floater 5 yards from his line? Really? That was not a pistol of a cross. It was a high long lob type of free kick that Tim Howard should have easily caught or cleared. This is what shocked me about the play.

  15. Neil Davis, June 9, 2013 at 12:14 p.m.

    Guess what Bruce, the game was on live TV in the US. I watched it myself...DirecTV, ch 620, BEIN.

  16. Power Dive, June 9, 2013 at 3:17 p.m.

    Comcast also has BeIn, but I believe it's a relatively obscure channel that not many cable companies pick up. Overall, DirectTV seems to be the way to go if you want the most sports channels. I still agree with Bruce in that it's sad these games aren't on more national TV sets.........I'm officially on the Bradley bandwagon and have to eat a bit of crow. Back when he was "coach's son" I used to say that he was good enough to be on the team but not a starter. Until, and unless, someone else steps up big time, he deserves to be a starter and is one of our top players.

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