The U.S. men were on a mission as they looked for revenge from Friday's loss in Kingston and walked away with a crucial win at home on Sept. 11.The U.S. soccer team made the nation proud on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 and at the same time gained some breathing room in World Cup qualifying.
Needing a win to remain in striking distance of advancing to the next round, coach Jurgen Klinsmann's squad bounced back from last week's devastating loss to Jamaica with a dominating 1-0 victory over the Reggae Boyz Tuesday night at Columbus Crew Stadium.
Herculez Gomez scored the night's only goal off a free kick in the second half.
After four games in Group A, the United States, Jamaica and Guatemala are tied at the top with seven points apiece. The top two in the group advance to the Hexagonal.
Jamaica defeated the USA for the first time ever Friday, handing the Americans a 2-1 loss in Kingston. Rudolph Austin and Luton Shelton scored on free kicks to counter Clint Dempsey's first-minute strike.
But the Americans got their revenge at home.
The U.S. entered Ohio with a sense of urgency as it attacked Jamaica's backline from the opening kick, hitting the woodwork three times with its first six shots.
In the fifth minute, Graham Zusi and Steve Cherundolo worked a great combination before Zusi hit the crossbar. Moments later, Cherundolo had his shot deflected off Jamaican goalkeeper Dwayne Miller and into the post, followed by Danny Williams ripping a long-range effort off the upper 90 posts.
Yet, somehow the teams entered the half scoreless.
"The team did really well, especially what you saw in the first 30 minutes, it was outstanding" Klinsmann said. "The only thing missing there was scoring a goal."
But Gomez finally gave the U.S. the breakthrough the team had been looking for after Dempsey drew a free kick outside the center of the box. The Santos Laguna forward stepped up and fired nicely to finally get one past the diving Miller.
Klinsmann had told his players to be aggressive at halftime after a frustrating first half and it paid off in the 55th minute when Miller couldn't make the usually easy save.
"You have that sense of urgency that sooner or later gives you that one goal," Klinsmann said. "The players played that way, they had that sense of urgency."
The U.S. held on the rest of the way despite a late push from Jamaica, which had been quiet offensively throughout the night in front of a sold-out crowd on Sept. 11.
The U.S. improved to 11-1-8 all-time against Jamaica, scoring 33 goals while allowing 12, despite playing without injured midfielders Michael Bradley and Landon Donovan.
"It was not easy," Klinsmann said. "(Jamaica) was a very difficult team to play against."
The USA has two games remaining in this round of World Cup qualifying: Oct. 12 at Antigua & Barbuda and Oct. 16 Guatemala in Kansas City.
"We know it's not done yet," Klinsmann said. "We know it comes down to the wire in World Cup qualifying and have to be very focused."