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Morris goal helps USMNT close winter camp with a win vs. Jamaica

Photo by Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today Sports
Photo by Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today Sports

For the second straight game, the U.S. Men’s National Team was lacking a bit of sharpness on the attacking end, but all it took was one moment of magic to create what turned out to be the game-winner.

Benny Feilhaber’s assist sprung Jordan Morris for the game’s lone goal as the U.S. toppled the Reggae Boyz, 1-0, on Friday in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The win is Arena’s first since taking over the USMNT following a scoreless draw with Serbia in the first game of the annual January camp.

The U.S. knocked on the door several times throughout the match with a majority of their efforts looking very similar to the Serbia match as the final ball was simply lacking. Finally, that final ball came through Feilhaber, who opened the door for what turned out to be the game-winning goal in the 59th minute.

Following a quick one-two atop the box, Feilhaber slipped a past in between defenders and onto the feet of Morris. The Sounders forward took a touch before firing a shot towards goal, besting Jamaica goalkeeper Ryan Thompson for the USMNT’s first goal in the two-match camp.

While the first side was relatively tepid, both sides did create chances that could have, and probably should have, hit the back of the net.

The U.S. controlled the better of the play, with the best look actually coming via a set piece in the 39th minute. Following a short corner from Benny Feilhaber, a pass was laid back to Sebastian Lletget, who curled a shot just past the far post.

On the other end, Jamica nearly took advantage of a fast break opportunity down the right side. Luis Robles made the initial save on Romario Williams and the ensuing shot was tipped up and over the bar.

Defensively, the USMNT remained solid throughout aside from the Williams chance with Walker Zimmerman looking strong in his USMNT debut. Jorge Villafana, making his second international appearance, created several chances on the attacking end, with the best coming via a second half cross that was headed straight at the goalkeeper by Chris Pontius.

Following the win, the U.S. now looks ahead to World Cup qualifying. The next stage of CONCACAF play begins in March with a clash with Honduras in San Jose, California before a visit to Panama.


  1. big adjustment from Klinsmann to Arena is the commitment from the outside backs to stay home and defend first; even Zusi who is getting reamed on this board showed the change in philopsophy

  2. Benny and Lletget both showed what midfield can be like when you have players in the midfield who want the ball and constantly and consistently show for the ball in midfield, and consistent issue with the USMNT with others positioned in there, others who are not that type of player. Good on Arena for at least putting a player, Benny, in the advanced central midfielder role who actually plays that position and can contribute what players who play that position can contribute.

  3. Would prefer to see Dax starting over Bradley. It was impressive how he combined with Benny to put him in dangerous positions. There was just a better understanding of where to pass the ball. The recognition that Benny liked to get into space between defenders and that anticipation was impressive. Bradley rarely likes to go through the middle with passes and seems to prefer over the top which is what we don’t need right now. Dax was also impressive in his positioning. He swivels his head like Beckerman and knows when he can close versus when he can’t. Bradley seems to rarely know and recognize when is the right time to take risks, when to double team and which passing lanes he needs to fill.

  4. Guzan
    Villafana, Cameron, Birnbaum, FJ
    Pulisic, Lletget, Bradley, Nagbe, Bedoya

    Rimando, Bingham
    Hedges, Beasley, Brooks, Zimmermann, Yedlin
    Zusi, Zardes, Jones, McCarty, Feilhaber
    Morris, Jozy

    • You have got to be kidding me!!! Villafana plays on the left not right, first of all and DOES NOT PLAY at ALL in Liga MX. How about in March (Jones is suspended):

      Horvath, ( 1 of Guzan/Yarborough/Rimando/Hamid/Bingham)
      Birnbaum, Chandler, Besler, Villafana
      Arriola, Fielhaber, Williams, Lleget
      Morris, Nagbe

      Agudelo, Johanssen (if playing after injury – but doubt it)

  5. Zusi is pathetic as right back, Jamaica’s only chance
    was caused by his slowness and lack of quality, this
    invention did not convince me

      • Zusi looks bad against raw pace. He looked fine against Serbia because they couldn’t just run right by him. Same problem I saw, actually, with Edgar Castillo at left back a couple years back.

        Which makes him not a full-time but rather a situational solution…and while that might get you into a qualifier – against somebody who doesn’t have superfaster wingers (which leaves out Costa Rica and Panama) – I think it also ultimately could leave him off the plane in Russia because can you really include a situational guy in your Russian 23?

    • Even though Jamaica only practiced three times prior to the match their physical presence always shows up. Big rangy strong and fast footballers are always tough to match up against especially when you lack ball control and body control. Zusi lacked both ball control and body control. Zusi often made the wrong pass or passed to no one? His body control or lack of balance allowed the Jamaica their best chance on the right side. Even without speed if Zusi plays a proper angle and bodies up the Jamaican is taken off the ball

    • Antony quit letting your hate for Zusi get in the way of actually watching. Is he the future WC starter at RB? No. Has he done a solid job the past two games in the new role? Yes. He took one bad angle last night against a very fast player and got bumped off the ball. For being new he has done just fine defensively and I thought picked his times to get forward well. He was testing their backing line and getting himself/the ball in dangerous positions. What more do you want?

      • I do not like zusi? Yes, I do not like him, I like good
        football, I like lletget, pulisic, fabian, arriola who are
        much more players than him, who is a limited player,
        if he does not go to Russia in 2018, why did not he
        test other right backs? It was a waste of time
        having called you and put you on the field in this
        function or in any other

      • Zusi wasn’t very good at RB. Maybe with more reps there for SKC he can improve but until then I’ve seen enough of him there. No problems with experimenting in these games. That’s what they’re for. At least Bruce knows this is when you experiment rather than, say, a WCQ against Mexico.

  6. While the performance wasn’t great there were some positive takeaway’s from these matches/camp.
    1) Our striker pool is getting better & deeper. Jozy, Wood, Zardes, Morris, Agudelo….etc.
    2) Nagbe, & Feilhaber add additional creativity to the team. time will tell if they’re starters or subs
    3) Villafana looks like he can finally provide a decent backup to Fabian at LB
    4) We didn’t give up any goals. Even if the quality of the opposition wasn’t great, it’s still a positive.

    When the team reconvenes in March we’ll hopefully have our full complement of players. Cameron & Fabian are nearing there return from injuries. Brooks, Pulisic, Yedlin, & Wood will hopefully all be seeing consistent minutes. Young players like Hyndman, Green, Horvath, & Zelalem have secured transfers/loans to get more playing time.

  7. Jamaica was without all of its stars.Serbia had the same situation. I want to see them win, but I’m not convinced of much yet, except that Jordan Morris is playing like he always has with the Klinsmann MNT. If this were the real national team that will play for the WC, they should have won this game about 4 – 0. And when will we be mixing in the Germany players? And then, the England and others in the UK? After that, only time and reality (the actual qualifier games) will tell.

  8. Before people get too excited (and the announcers seemed to ignore our European based players in their talk about the March qualifiers), this wasn’t even a first rate Jamaica team and we started maybe one or two players who might see the field in March. I think we will see Jozy and Wood up top with Pulisic, Bradley, Zardes and one player to be determined (Nagbe, Lletget, Feilhaber, or?) and FJ left back, Brooks and Cameron, if he is fit, in the middle, and Yedlin or Chandler at RB. Some of the discussion during the broadcast was pretty ridiculous (will Zimmerman play in March?).

    • C’mon man. Why not say what you actually thought about the game…. instead of thinking of every single possible qualifying statement about why nobody should form an opinion because …..

    • Gary I know you are a Galaxy fan but why are you so confident Zardes has a spot locked up? He has not played since his injury? Plus, has holes in his game especially with his first and second touch.
      I thought Holdon was very kind, generous, and full of sugary color commentary. Donovan was much more honest and had a bit of vinegar. Especially with his first half take of Lletget being the only field player having a chance to be on the team in March.

      • Klinsmann liked him and started him almost every game. Arena likes him and starts him almost every game. He works hard on defense and is a team player and is good in the air. One season he scored I think 14 goals. Sometimes his first touch deserts him, but that is true of a number of players. He also has speed and a high work rate.

      • Gary, I guess what I was getting at was the health of his foot? Broken feet can be very tricky to recover from.

  9. Not against villafana getting a start at LB against Honduras. Had Morris not scored a goal I would have given Jorge the motm.

    Very glad we went with the 4132 (and not the similar 41212)

    Jozy wood
    Fj nagbe pulisic
    Jorge JB birn yedlin

    I have no qualms with that lineup.

    Letgett, benny, Morris assumed subs

    • I would personally play Sacha in the middle, but that looks about right to me. The only thing that worries me is Villafana’s lack of playing time, although he looked sharp tonight. I must say McCarty looked pretty good in that D mid spot and lets not forget about Williams. Should be some good competition to keep Bradley playing well.

    • maybe Arena will start doing it the way past coaches use to do it. one team for World Cup and one for Gold Cup. Something like

      world Cup Qualifying



      ———–Bradley————–(tho I prefer Jones)

      Jorge —-JB—-birn—-yedlin

      Gold Cup

      ————Agudelo———Morris——– (sneak in Green, Johannsson or Rubin)

      Lletget———-Feilhaber——-Bedoya (Sneak in FafĂ  Picault, Ibarra or Zardes)




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