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CHRISTOPHER MCCOLLUM - Saturday, September 8, 2012
The U.S. National Team traveled to Kingston, Jamaica looking to break another winless streak at a rival's home stadium, but came away short.

Jurgen Klinsmann surprised many by electing to start Clint Dempsey and bench Carlos Bocanegra, with both players recently completing moves to new teams after either not playing at all over the summer, or playing in the semi-pro level of Scottish soccer.

Alongside Dempsey in the attack were Jozy Altidore and Herculez Gomez, and lodged behind Dempsey was a defensive midfield combination of Kyle Beckerman, Jermaine Jones, and Maurice Edu. Fabian Johnson got the start at left back, Michael Parkhurst at right back, with Geoff Cameron and Clarence Goodson in the middle and Tim Howard resuming his usual position in the net.

The game started with a bang as Jamaica swung the opening kick off down in the U.S. half of the field, before the ball quickly worked up the middle and pinged around. It fell to Maurice Edu about 35 yards out, who spotted Herculez Gomez making a run into space towards the right side of the penalty box. Edu played a well struck pass into the gap for Gomez, though it looked as if the Santos Laguna forward would be muscled off the ball. Gomez was able to fight his way back into possession however, and struck a shot from a sharp angle about six yards to the right of goal, and five off the touch line. Goalkeeper Dwayne Miller made a good reflex save, but the rebound fell right back to Gomez's feet, who shot again but this time saw his effort blocked on the goal line by a desperate defender. The ball was not cleared from danger, however, falling right to the feet of Dempsey who struck it home with confidence from seven yards out, opening the scoring just 36 seconds into the game.

It looked as if the U.S. was easy street, as the next few minutes saw them looking in control, with hints of further threats playing out in the ball movement. The tide would quickly turn though, and the rest of the game can only be described as an underwhelming performance from the Americans.

Though momentum was shifting, it was not until the 22nd minute that Kyle Beckerman committed a foul about 30 yards from goal, setting up Rodolph Austin to take the free kick. Austin's shot went low into the wall, but Beckerman but already jumped, anticipating a high shot. The ball glanced off of Beckerman's foot and deflected just enough put Howard off balance and unable to save it. The stadium known as The Office erupted, and the U.S. players began to look even less sure of themselves.

Though Jamaica held the upper hand in momentum, the U.S. produced another great opportunity in the 43rd minute as Parkhurst swung the ball in from just outside the right side of the penalty box, finding Dempsey sliding into the goalbox. Dempsey's shot produced a fine save from Miller to deny the Texan his second of the night.

Four minutes into the second half, Howard would be called into action as Austin took the ball outside the right side of the penalty box, close to where Parkhurst crossed in just before half time, and played the ball into the box. Howard was forced to come off of his line and dive into danger, punching the ball clear.

On the resulting counter attack, Jones collected the ball in the middle of the field and fired a quick shot from about 20 yards out. Despite having a good look at goal and space to shoot, his effort was weak and trickled well wide of Miller's net.

Fear grasped the hearts of American fans everywhere in the 52nd minute when Howard went down hurt after a collision just outside of the box on a 50/50 challenge. With Klinsmann not currently having a confident second choice behind Howard, nightmare scenarios began to be played out. Howard limped to his feet though, and was able to keep playing.

Danny Williams entered the game in the 57th minute for Beckerman, making his cap-tying appearance for the U.S., and also making his first appearance in his natural defensive midfielder position.

Shortly after Williams came onto the field, Jermaine Jones possessed the ball on the left flank just in the offensive half of the field, and tried to play a square pass to Edu to relieve defensive pressure. He clipped the ball with his plant foot and missed the ball entirely, swinging through the air. Losing possession right away, Jones committed a dirty, chopping tackle from behind. Though called for a foul, he perhaps avoided a yellow card by hurting himself in the process of the play.

Edu committed a silly foul in the middle of the field, 25 yards from goal in the 62nd minute, going way late into a tackle and bringing down his man. Luton Shelton stepped up to take the free kick, and his curling effort was beautifully struck around the wall and off the inside of the post. Howard had no chance, and no amount of excuses could deny the exquisite nature of the strike.

Terrence Boyd and Brek Shea entered from Jozy Altidore and Edu in the 71st minute, as Klinsmann attempted to bring some speed and width into the game for the final 20 minutes.

In the 78th minute, a Jamaica player rolled over injured in the defensive third of the field, but his teammates played on, advancing possession near half field before finally being knocked out of bounds. Jones, irate with the Jamaicans for not playing the ball out of bounds sooner, received a yellow card for his unsporting behavior.

A bit of hope began to build for the U.S., that perhaps a game tying goal was in reach when a build up of possession in the 80th minute saw the ball pinging around the offensive third, with multiple probing balls into the box looking for an open forward. Nothing came of it though, and the game could be summed up by Fabian Johnson's last ditch effort in the third minute of stoppage time, as he stood with the ball, no one around him, 30 yards from goal, and hit what may as well have been a goal kick over the cross bar.

The United States will face Jamaica in the return leg of this Qualifying set on September 11, in Columbus, Ohio. Though it is not quite a must-win game yet, it will be imperative for the U.S. not to drop any points at home against the new qualifying group leaders.
Tuesday September 11, 2012 3:54 am
Clearly a disappointing loss. Beckerman was slow and looked completely out of his depth. I share YankeeJim's concerns about Jones as well. I am anxious to see what changes JK makes. I will judge him much more harshly if he fails a second time to put together a lineup and gameplan that works. I'll totally forgive JK for losing in Kingston if he can show drastic improvement in a short turn around. Injecting more speed into the lineup seems to be in order, the team is not good enough at passing and possessing the ball to control the tempo against speedy Jamaica. I would for sure start Williams over Beckerman.
Monday September 10, 2012 2:30 pm
@Pdemelo I know a bigger joke is starting Beckerman instead of Adu. At least Freddy can come up with great passes(see last gold cup) in pressure situations. Beckerman's own goal in the jamaica game was devastating and since when has he done anything at all to merit national team status. We need to stop using a third rate league like the MLS to measure quality for national team status. Fact is Freddy has quality and properly weighted balls when he gets enough time with the first team to show what he can do. Torres has not done that. Wheres Donovan? Demps is a FORWARD. Wheres Bradley? Shea has shown infrequent flashes of excitement. Freddy has earned time more than most middys that JK has thrown in there. PUT HIM IN COACH and watch him go to work.
Monday September 10, 2012 12:08 pm
Sad...JK has been disapointing, he talks a good talk, radical at times, very vocal and full of excitment. But his tactics are nothing compared to the ICE man, Bob Braddley. With some of the new youth options at his hands, I wonder how well he would have the US playing.
The wins at Italy and Mexico, statiscally are better than the games themselves were. Both Italy and Mexico seemed to be bored on the field, playing against a boring US team, that somehow managed to score and hold on to win. The win against Italy was a bit better, US played OK, but against mexico, the US defense did well, that's about it, they got very lucky and Mexico was never really into the game.
Too mention ADU playing for the Nats is a good joke, he barely shines in the MLS, he is one lasy, self centered ego maniac. No doubt he's got talent, but unfortunetly is ego seems to always be in his way, to grow as a player, darn shame. I lost hope on him as I have lost hope on JK.
Sunday September 9, 2012 5:42 pm
Exactley what does Jermaine Jones bring to this squad? He's a red card in waiting, passes poorly and can't shoot. He seems to have attitude problems as well. This can't be a plus in the locker room. One day, perhaps soon, one of his cheap shot tackles will cost us a game.
Bent Tolfsen
Sunday September 9, 2012 10:21 am
Wake up guys! How can you beat Italy and Mexico away, and not win against Guatemala and Jamaica?? POOR!!!
Sunday September 9, 2012 12:27 am
After the exilerating win at Azteca, the US Nats have finally hit a new low. What a travesty to lose such an important match to Jamaica. They hit two quality set pieces and deserve the win, but what the #*@#!! is JK doing?! His insistance in using unproven players on a national level is inexplicable and scary. Playing in the MLS does not justify being picked for a national team!!!Cameron,Gomez,Beckerman and Parkhurst have no business being named to a national team much less starting. If players like Bocanegra,Cherundolo,Bradley,Adu and Donovan do not get starts, we could be at risk to not make the next world cup. Joe Corona,Graham Zusi?? Cmon lets get Lichaj,Spector and Gatt back on the field and for petes sake let Adu get some time at winger to distribute sweet passes to the forwards.
Saturday September 8, 2012 2:44 pm
I don't understand why jk did not play maurice edu and cameron in the back line together since they played so well together against mexico. If he would have put edu in the back along side cameron instead of goodson he could have put in a more offensive midfielder like shea or torres to help the atack. I agree with steve I think the coaching staff is going to have to eat up this loss.
Saturday September 8, 2012 12:36 pm
Can anyone explain to me why US started four defensive MF ????? No MF to distibute the balll and start the offense. I blame this game on the coaching staff, I know Torres, Shea, and Corona don't play up to the Klinsmann's standard, however, I think they are more than adequate enough to play in the qualification games. Beckerman is Klinsmann's Bornstein. Beckerman is a mid level central MF in the MLS nothing more.

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