The United States Men’s National soccer team fed off of an energetic Columbus crowd last night to help keep their World Cup dreams alive. After losing in Kingston Jamaica on Friday September 7th 2-1 and things were looking bleak in the standings for the USMNT. It really amped up the pressure on them for the second leg of the home-and-home right here in Ohio.
It probably didn’t have to be this scary, if not for injuries. Landon Donovan didn’t play in either match due to a hamstring. Michael Bradley didn’t play either due to a quad injury. Lastly Clint Dempsey did play, but he was hardly in prime game shape after sitting out during his complicated team transfer situation in Europe moving from Fulham to Tottenham. Regardless though, it was up to Jürgen Klinsmann and his available squad to get the job done. They didn’t on the 7th, but they did last night.
The first half ended in a 0-0 tie, but the United States absolutely dominated the action. The United States held possession for about 80% of the first half which is about as one-sided a possession number as you’re ever going to see. The U.S. also outshot Jamaica 8-0 including three shots that hit parts of the goal, but just wouldn’t find the net. The most dangerous of these shots was a ridiculously long strike from Danny Williams that rocketed about 20+ feet to the inside portion of the top of the upright before ricocheting out of the goal mouth.
Meanwhile Jamaica got some pretty good goalkeeping from Dwayne Miller in the first half to go along with the unfortunate luck of U.S. strikers. That wasn’t necessarily the case in the second half on what turned out to be the game-winner. Herculez Gomez hit a free kick over the wall, off the keeper’s gloves and into the back of the net for what appeared to be a pretty soft goal, at least compared to the chances that “just missed” in the first half.
The United States seemed to gas late in the second half after playing with such intensity in the first half, but they managed to hold on. It was a relatively trouble-free day for U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard, which I am sure he was elated to see. If there was any downside for the United States it would seem to be the lack of quality play they got from their subs in the second half. Jürgen Klinsmann brought in Brek Shea, Jozy Altidore and Maurice Edu, and all seemed sluggish and pretty sloppy when the U.S. could have used a boost of energy in closing the game out.
Either way, this is how the group looks today now that the U.S. won. They are tied for first with Guatemala.
|Antigua and Barbuda||4||0||1||3||2||7||1|
In this group, the United States have two more matches. They travel to Antugua and Barbuda for a match on 10/12/12 at 7:00 PM before wrapping up this group against Guatemala in Kansas City on October 16th. Hopefully the KC crowd is just as energetic and good as the Columbus crowd. That stadium was amped all night last night. Made me proud as an Ohioan.