The U.S. had to rely on late dramatics to avoid another upset to Jamaica as Evans scores a game winner in only his 10th cap.
KINGSTON, Jamaica -- If Brad Evans hasn't locked down a place on the United States roster yet, he certainly became a fan favorite tonight.
Evans scored a stoppage time game-winner for the U.S. off of a corner to give the Yanks a tightly contested 2-1 away victory over Jamaica. Jozy Altidore also showed that his scoring drought is behind him as he scored the game's opening goal in the first half.
Despite a sizable gap in rankings between the two sides, the U.S. faced a difficult task up against a Jamaican side desperate to turn around its poor start to the hexagonal.
After seeing plenty of positives in the U.S.'s 4-3 win against Germany on Sunday, Jurgen Klinsmann decided to use the same starters from that match - the first time that he has ever repeated lineups in his two-year tenure.
The U.S. seized momentum early as it opened the game with three shots in five minutes, including a strike off the post by Michael Bradley.
The game's opening goal came in the 30th minute. Graham Zusi beat his defender and lobbed a pinpoint cross to Altidore, who was charging toward goal in the six-yard box. The striker headed the ball past Donovan Ricketts to give the Stars and Stripes the opening goal.
The moment appeared to spark Jamaica, as it aggressively attacked U.S.fullbacks DaMarcus Beasley and Evans - both natural midfielders converted to defensive roles on the U.S. roster. Klinsmann explained his decision to move Fabian Johnson, a left back, to the attack and leave Beasley in the back.
"I think Fabian can be a notch better and he knows that," Klinsmann said. "He's kind of holding back but I think he can push himself and take it to another gear. When he goes to the box, he can actually go in there and score or get a penalty because he has speed and technique.
"I think he just needs to catch up now and get that understanding with Clint and Jozy."
As for Beasley's struggles in the back, Klinsmann defended the veteran saying that a better understanding with Fabian will produce better results.
"He [Beasley] had one of the best players against him, he really challenged him with strong runs and battles. That's where you want those two players [Beasley and Johnson] connected to each other," Klinsmann said.
Jamaica had plenty of chances in the first half as it took nine shots but eight of those were off target. Rodolph Austin and Jermaine Johnson were Jamaica's biggest threats in the match.
In the second half the U.S. continued to sit back as Jamaica pushed forward. The team's midfield took a hit when Jermaine Jones suffered a mild concussion in the 59th minute forcing him out of the game. Geoff Cameron was subbed in and paired next to Michael Bradley.
In the 88th minute, it appeared as if Klinsmann's team was back to its old mistakes. Off of a foul, the Reggae Boyz got good position for a free kick and set up substitute Jermaine Beckford for a close-range header to equalize. The crowd of just over 20,000 erupted as the team appeared to at least split points with the favored U.S. side. But the Stars and Stripes would respond almost immediately.
The U.S. pounced on Jamaica's overaggressive play and was able to set up a corner in the 90th minute off of a blocked scoring chance. A short corner was played to Michael Bradley. Bradley in turn found Evans, who turned and fired home the late winner. Evans received a yellow card after he put his jersey over his head but admitted that he couldn't help himself after delivering in a clutch moment.
"Yeah it was insane, it was crazy," Evans said of scoring the game's winner. "Had to take a yellow card there but I was so excited to get the win. It's just a great feeling."
Overall, the U.S. had the advantage offensively as it had a 56-44 edge in possession, but Jamaica had plenty of opportunities to score as it finished the game with 16 shots.
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