The Reggae Boyz went to work in The Office on Friday night, picking up a 2-1 World Cup qualifying victory over the Yanks at Independence Park in Kingston.
With the win, Jamaica moves to first place in Group A in CONCACAF’s Third Round of qualifying with seven points after three games. Their all time record against the U.S. is now 1-10-8. America’s loss, along with a Guatemalan win, moves them into a tie for second place with four points. It was the first time the U.S. have lost in Kingston during a qualifying match. The previous four meetings ended in draws.
Clint Dempsey opened the scoring for the U.S. only 36 seconds into the game, the fastest WCQ goal in the team’s history. Maurice Edu played a long ball down the right flank to Herculez Gomez. Gomez fought off a Jamaican defender as he battled his way into the box. His first shot was saved by goalie Dwayne Miller, but the rebound fell right back to Gomez, whose second was cleared off the line. Dempsey followed up the play, and the loose ball fell to the new Tottenham Hotspur player right in the middle of the box. Dempsey passed the ball straight down the middle of the empty goal, giving the Yanks a valuable early lead.
However, from that point on, Jamaica were the more dominant team. In the 23rd minute, the Reggae Boyz equalized from the first of two free-kick goals of the night. Midfielder Kyle Beckerman committed a foul near the center of the field. The ensuing Rodolph Austin free kick went underneath the jumping wall, taking a slight deflection off Beckerman’s foot on its way to goal. The deflection was just enough to send the ball out of Tim Howard’s reach.
Dempsey nearly scored his second of the night to give the U.S. a lead right before the half, but his sliding shot was saved.
The Jamaican’s secured a victory in the 62nd minute with yet another free-kick goal. Maurice Edu brought down a Jamaican player slightly left of the center of the field. The Reggae Boyz’ all-time leading scorer, Luton Shelton, drilled a shot just over the wall that bent into the left-side netting past Howard’s diving hands. The goal propelled Jamaica to the top of Group A, while also giving them a historic win of their own in the process.
United States:Howard, Parkhurst, Goodson, Cameron, Johnson, Jones, Beckerman, Edu, Dempsey, Altidore, Gomez
Jamaica: Miller; Mariappa, Nosworthy, Taylor, Palmer, Morrison, Austin, Bryan, Watson, Shelton, Johnson
Here are the complete highlights from the match:
The two teams will play again this upcoming Tuesday night at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.