U.S. Soccer Beats Jamaica 1-0, Controls Own Destiny In World Cup Qualifying
With a chance at a World Cup berth on the line, Jamaican keeper Dwayne Miller was in the perfect spot, as he had been all night, and got his hands on the ball.
But this time, getting a piece of the ball wasn’t enough, and Gómez’s goal would be enough to give the U.S. a 1-0 victory and put the Stars and Stripes in the driver's seat of Group A of this round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers.
The U.S. had the Reggae Boyz on the defensive the entire match and had nothing to show for it until Clint Dempsey was fouled in the 55th minute, allowing Gomez to score and giving the Americans a much needed three points in the standings.
After suffering a 2-1 setback at the hands of the Jamaicans on Friday, the U.S. looked set to bounce back and came out firing on all cylinders.
With the friendly Columbus, Ohio crowd behind them, the U.S. took shot after shot at Miller during the first half, and the keeper used everything at his disposal—including a little bit of luck—to keep the match scoreless.
Six minutes in, Sporting Kansas City's Graham Zusi almost made a shot from outside the box that hit the top of the crossbar after a pass from Steve Cherundolo, who returned to the starting lineup for the first time since June.
Antigua and Barbuda
Then in the 15th minute, a Gómez pass was placed perfectly towards Jermaine Jones, but the midfielder failed on an attempt at a header.
Miller would then make a brilliant save to prevent an own-goal in the 20th minute after Cherundolo took a shot from long range that would bounce off of a Jamaican defender, and somehow the keeper got his arms on it to prevent the goal.
Danny Williams had a golden chance in the 30th minute that was well-placed and had Miller beat, but unluckily hit the left post.
The breakthrough on Gómez’s free kick took on some poetic justice, as the U.S. conceded two goals on free kicks to the Reggae Boyz on Friday in Kingston.
Playing with the lead, the U.S. rarely looked like a team going for the jugular, but they managed to largely keep the ball out of the path of keeper Tim Howard and played with far more composure than they had just four days earlier.
The Americans now have seven points in the Group A standings, tied with Guatemala and Jamaica. They lead Jamaica by virtue of goal differential, however with the next set of qualifiers set for October with matches against Antigua and Barbuda and Guatemala.