Patriotic splendour propels USA to victory over Jamaica
Buoyed by a patriotically boisterous sellout crowd, the USA pulled out a strong performance en route to a 1-0 victory over Jamaica on the 11th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks.
With both Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley unable to play due to injury, Las Vegas native Herculez Gomez (pictured) stepped up to curl home a free-kick match winner in the 55th minute.
The winner went through the hands of Jamaican goalkeeper Dwayne Miller and into the net.
Jamaica, who defeated the USA last week in Kingston for the first time in CONCACAF history, struggled with the Americans’ pace and energy throughout at the Crew Stadium in Columbus.
After an emotional pre-match tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the Americans played inspired football throughout a dominant first half but with no goals to show for their efforts.
Chance after chance
Sporting Kansas City’s Graham Zusi worked a give-and-go with newly signed Tottenham attacker Clint Dempsey to create space just outside of the box in the sixth minute, but his effort hit the crossbar.
From the same spot, Hannover defender Steve Cherundolo had a shot in the 19th minute, but his blast hit a defender, and then struck the post.
Ten minutes later, defender Danny Williams found space but incredibly, his effort clipped the bar too.
Despite having complete control with eight shots on target and enjoying 79 per cent of possession in the first half, the Americans nearly found themselves behind before half-time.
Jamaican striker Rudolph Austin, who joined Leeds United this summer, thought he had found the net just before the interval, but luckily for the hosts, American goalkeeper Tim Howard was able to parry the ball away from danger.
The hosts were finally rewarded in the 55th minute, when Austin was whistled for his clumsy challenge on Dempsey, setting up Gomez’ strike.
With the win, the Americans now lead their group, Group A, in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers.
The Americans are level on points with both Guatemala and Jamaica, but lead the table with a superior goal difference. The Reggae Boyz fall to third place.
Both teams finish Group A next month with identical schedules, hosting Guatemala and visiting Antigua and Barbuda.
The top two nations in each of the three groups advance to the final stage of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, with the top three of the six finalists progressing to the 2014 World Cup Finals in Brazil.
By Sreesha Vaman - Follow me on Twitter @sreeshavaman
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