USMNT Report: Loss Sets The Pace

The USMNT loss to Jamaica sets the scene for upcoming Qualifiers, including Tuesday
by Herb Scribner   |   Saturday, September 08, 2012

USMNT Report - coverage of the United States Men's National Team

Yes, that happened.

The United States Men’s National Team, which just got done beating Mexico in the impenetrable fortress that is Estadio Azteca, lost to Jamaica, 2-1 last night. The loss showed the USMNT that it is not going to be an easy road to the World Cup.

Jamaica Highlights: One of the only bright spots for the USMNT was in the first minute.

Clint Dempsey, who just completed a move from Fulham to Tottenham in the English Premier League, netted a goal in the 36th second to claim the very early lead. The goal was the fastest by an American in any US Soccer World Cup Qualifier. Dempsey made history. It seemed like things would only go up from there.

Jamaica tried its best to even the score, but it was stymied by the USMNT defense. It was a perfectly placed free kick that got the Jamaicans the opportunity to score. Kyle Beckerman’s foul near the top of the box gave Randolph Austin the chance to send in a screamer to bring the Reggae Boyz back into the game.Twenty-three minutes in, the game was knotted up.

Dempsey had another attempt just before halftime, but Jamaica goalkeeper Dwayne Miller gobbled the ball up to stop the score.

It was another free kick that got the Jamaicans the win. After a Maurice Edu foul close to the 62 minute mark, Luton Shelton curled the ball into the back of the net.

Shelton wasn’t done though. He didn’t score again, but he gave the Americans a scare when he pursued the ball as Tim Howard was going to boot it away. Howard got hit on his right leg, and it looked like he might be injured but he walked off the pain and played the remainder of the match.

Post-game Reactions: Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said last night’s loss was a learning process.

“In the moment of a defeat you learn a lot. You probably learn more when you get beaten than when you win games. So, we learned a lot,” Klinsmann said.

“The guys that stepped on the field are in charge,” Klinsmann said. “They are responsible to give everything they have. They are responsible for the outcome. They have to match the Jamaican team and overmatch them in a certain way. I don’t complain about players that are not here because there are reasons why they’re not here.”

Herculez Gomez, who has been an USMNT offensive threat, wasn’t too thrilled with the loss either.

“We were happy that we went up early on,” Gomez said. “I thought the tempo was controlled and then we started losing a little bit of the midfield. The conditions didn’t help us. We lacked creativity and gave up bad fouls. When you do that, it’s not a good sign and bad things can happen and they did.”

From the Stands: The match, held at the National Stadium (nicknamed “The Office”) in Kingston, Jamaica, drew 24,000.

The Road to Now: Things were going right for the USMNT before this win.

The team just got done beating Mexico, 1-0, at Estadio Azteca for the first time in history.

Before that, the Americans had some WCQ to take care of. They tied Guatemala, 1-1, on June 12, in front of 18,000 in Estadio Mateo Flores. Dempsey scored for the USMNT, and did so 56 seconds into the game.

The USMNT played Antigua & Barbuda four days before that at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. It was an easy win for the Americans, as they soundly defeated Antigua, 3-1, with goals from Carlos Bocanegra, Dempsey and Gomez.

Analysis: The USMNT shouldn’t have lost this game.

No disrespect to Jamaica, but the Americans just finished their biggest feat in team history with the win in Mexico. And that came on top of other 2012 victories over Italy, Scotland and Venezuela. The one loss this year for the USMNT was a 4-1 loss to Brazil, never an easy task. Otherwise, the team had been steaming ahead … so it seemed.

Dempsey’s goal in the early going showed once again that the Americans have found a way to get goals in the net in the opening seconds. But, the team still struggles with maintaining the lead. This was a constant problem under former head coach Bob Bradley, and it’s something Klinsmann has been trying to fix for a while now.

All teams lose eventually, so this loss isn’t the end of the world for the USMNT. It does, though, paint the picture of what’s to come. This coming Tuesday the Americans have another game with Jamaica, and it’s surely to be a firecracker of a match if the USMNT is looking for revenge at home.

Even if the US does have the last laugh of this round against Jamaica, this loss still gives this team an idea of what it’s got to go through to qualify. It isn’t going to be an easy road.

Not by a long shot.

Up Next: The USMNT gets it’s a chance at revenge on Tuesday, as it plays Jamaica again. This time though, the game will happen stateside at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. It will be televised on ESPN2/ and Galavision.


UMass Amherst
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FC Barcelona
SN managing editor and award-winning journalist, Herb has always been known as "The Soccer Guy" wherever he goes. He's a leftback in most outdoor and indoor leagues. He also writes for Deseret News National.