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USMNT earn road point in flat draw with Jamaica

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The U.S. men’s national team snatched an early lead on the road in Kingston on Tuesday night, but lacked the aggressiveness to walk away with a second victory in the November World Cup Qualifying window.

Timothy Weah scored an early opening goal for Gregg Berhalter’s side against Jamaica, but Michail Antonio’s wicked equalizer helped the Reggae Boyz earn one point at home in a 1-1 draw. Both Zack Steffen and Andre Blake each made one save apiece in the draw, one that sees the USMNT stay top of the octagonal round standings for now.

Weah needed only 11 minutes to break the deadlock, showing off his determination and skill in the final third. Ricardo Pepi’s pass upfield was gathered by Weah on the left side of Jamaica’s box, before the Lille forward outmuscled Bobby Reid and chipped a shot past Blake and into the bottom-right corner.

It was Weah’s second goal for the USMNT.

Antonio equalized for Jamaica with a thunderous strike in the 23rd minute, cutting onto his right foot before unleashing a missile past Zack Steffen and into the top-right corner. The West Ham United forward picked up a pass from Devon Williams before delivering his second goal in consecutive qualifiers for Theodore Whitmore’s side.

Gianluca Busio’s right-footed curler was the Americans best chance after halftime, but the Venezia midfielder’s effort skied just over the crossbar.

Reid had a golden chance to propel Jamaica into the lead in the 54th minute, but skied his effort from close range. Antonee Robinson’s poor clearance off a cross fell nicely to his Fulham teammate, but the winger missed the goal off the half-volley.

Damion Lowe looked to have given the Reggae Boyz a late winner on home soil, heading in a corner kick in the 83rd minute, but the defender was whistled for a foul on Walker Zimmerman. The centerback’s header left Steffen watching the ball go into his net, but thankfully for the Manchester City goalkeeper, the goal was waived off.

The USMNT will return to action on December 18 in a home friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina before resuming World Cup Qualifying in late-January.

Comments

  1. The USMNT doesn’t seem to function well without McKennie in the lineup. Even when he’s bad, he’s better than the alternatives.

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  2. That was a loss. Not just because a win would have been preferred. The US lost the game, Jamaica blew it and didnt win it by hitting a sitter over the crossbar, GIVING the US a tie.
    .
    All those that said, play the US best team both games on short rest…were wrong. I guess the result was the same, but Panama is the better team between the two, no doubt about that…and the same scoreline.
    .
    The US needs to beat Panama to qualify. End of story. Sor their fate is in their hands, they are the better team. But they have to win to qualify……the way it should be.

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    • This is a serious question…in the past hasn’t the US trotted out the basically the same 11 for the entirety of qualifying, basically the same 11 throughout entire Gold Cups and World Cups? The depth didn’t allow anything different. You know what we don’t hear about anymore? The incredible fitness regimen of USMNT training. I’d like to hear GB questioned about how he prepares the team fitness-wise. This team – with it’s youth – should be able to run for 90 minutes in games 3 days apart. If MB90 could do it Adams should be able to. It seems only Aaronson could hang with teams of the 00’s and 10’s.

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      • Your post is ironic as hell, lol. MoO. I think, it’s obvious players play more matches in today’s time than 10-20 years ago. Today’s athletes are bigger stronger and faster. This is true in all sports. We are underestimating the athletes of this generation, if we compare them to past ones. America is the sports science center of the world. Strength, conditioning, nutrition/diet is what is in the forefront, now. Anyway, This is WCQ not club. For the 1st time in WCQ, there’s 3 matches in 8 days. 3 matches in a window is difficult physically, on players under the age of 25. On top of the CONCACAF away matches, which most of the squad is going through for the 1st time. Every away match, outside of 45 minutes of Honduras, has been collectively lousy. The young players are tired. Old school fans (15+ years) want to see ties on the road. New school wants to see wins on the road. No US fan wants to lose. I hope, the team can be some where in the middle in ‘22. I believe, we are going to have to win all the home matches plus at least one road match to be in the safe zone, these last 6 matches.

  3. The US starting line up was missing half of its preferred starting field players. Half. Five of 10. Perhaps the the five best players in the pool at their positions. How many teams across the world could lose there two best forwards, best number 8, best center back and right back, go on the road and get a result? To put things in perspective. Jamaica (pre-Micheal Antonio) sit in the rankings at the level of Finland, Northern Ireland and Burkino Faso. Finland who has in the last year beat France and came within a point of qualifying for a UEFA playoff for WCQ, Northern Ireland who held both Italy and Switzerland to draws at home in WCQ and Burkino Faso who went 1-0-2 vs perennial powers Nigeria and Algeria in WCQ. There are very few walk throughs in WCQ – and none in this Octagonal.

    WCQ anywhere in the world for the powers in those regions is a slog. And that slog while missing 5 of your best players would mean many of those powers don’t qualify. Look at Norway…no Erling Haaland meant no WC. One player made all the difference (ok, he might not be human but…Pulisic) the US was without five! Italy and Switzerland couldn’t make hay away versus a similar level opponent with their full squads.

    (Perhaps the Mexico result speaks more to where Mexico is than where the US is. The Mexicans have been beat by the US’ A squad, then C squad and now an A-/B+ squad)

    Anyway all this is to say the US did very good to come away with a point. And looking at the standings now that point may make all the difference come the spring. Of course a win would be better but let’s not raise our fandom to Mexican-fantasyland levels of expectation.

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    • I think that’s a very good assessment. The game was definitely disappointing to watch as a spectacle, but players like Leon Bailey and Michel Antonio are incredibly dynamic and, on their day, pose a threat to any team in the world. Antonio makes the best defenders in the Premier League look average week in and week out, so I wasn’t at all surprised by this result. Yes, we played poorly; and, yes, we were missing McKennie, Robinson, Reyna, Dest, and Pulisic; but had those players been fit, I still don’t think we would have trounced this Jamaica side.

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  4. Someone needs to check Taylor Twellman’s refereeing credentials. Zimmerman had been jumping out of the roof all night long winning balls and all of a sudden he can’t get off the ground on the disallowed Jamaica goal. I give Twellman credit live TV didn’t have the best angle but it was obvious the arms were holding Zimmerman down. Better TV angles later verified that Zimmerman was being held down as the referee had indicated by the correct call.

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    • Twellman jumped the shark with his post TnT tirade. Since then he’s all about stirring up controversy and nothing else. Not one Jamaican player was in the ref’s face. There was no sideline explosion from Jamaica. That’s a non-controversy.

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    • Yeah the comments of refs let that go all the time, were so misguided. Refs call that all the time, sometimes it gets let go. When it does it is a mistake, not just letting them play more physical soccer.

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  5. Mental toughness is a skill that can be learned, so it makes you wonder HOW / WHY we fluctuate so much between games. Where is the consistency??? USMNT coaches need to understand what is lacking and bring in THE RIGHT people to develop that motivation, focus, desire and drive that players on this team so desperately need because, again, mental toughness can be taught. We see this, time and time again in US soccer. We play well at home where we feel safe but seem to lose ALL our abilities when playing in a hostile environment (and our focus, skill, talent and abilities drop-off …… CONSIDERABLY!!!). The game of soccer / football is filled with challenges, negatively obstacles (pitch, weather, crowd etc.) and adversity, but what separates good teams from great teams is the ability to cope and overcome pressure.
    We need this part of our game before we can make a statement on the world stage……

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    • Bizzy,

      Moments of brilliance are tough to counter. That was one hell of a rocket by Antonio. Also, if the ref is going to allow wild challenges all game, then it devolves into a grudge match where you can only be judged on your end outcome. So, On the end outcome, it was passable.

      Now, my thoughts here were that Zimmerman’s attempts to play long were terrible, just really poor. Meanwhile, Yedlin had a poor game too. That entire side of the defense was poor in my estimation. Poor passing, poor movement, poor build up. Busio was trying to calm the team down in possession a little too much, when he should have pressed forward harder. That is his Serie A showing… He’ll have to get a message about that from Berhalter. But he had a decent game. Finally, this was the type of game where the decision to not bring a Pefok or a Dike is something we should all question Berhalter about. Jamaica looked the bigger and stronger team and we didn’t have proper target men to hit our free kicks at.

      People have been pitching at Berhalter for changing it up so much… but playing against MX is totally different from playing at jamaica and likely requires different players, or at least the ability to bring in someone off the bench to change up the look. Bringing Ferreira in for PEpi isn’t changing anything up. Pulisic for Aronson, is also like for like. Anyway, good news is we should take lots of points from the next window. And we are in a good position.

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    • “Mental toughness is a skill that can be learned”
      I’m not sure I agree with that but if I do I would say we are witnessing that learning curve. It’s a bunch of 18-23 year olds out there after all.

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  6. Correction. Barring a major comeback, Canada is on track to win and take 1st place. Mexico is on track to capture 0 points in November and drop to 3rd. The US got lucky tonight but remain firmly in the top 3.

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    • As of the completion of the November WCQ cycle, Canada sits 1st with 16 points, US 2nd with 15, Mexico and Panama at 3rd & 4th place, respectively with 14 points apiece. We’re still a long way from clinching an automatic spot for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

      We really need to change the conservative mindset of feeling complacent of getting a tie on the road in WC qualifications, 0-0 at El Salvador, losing 0-1 at Panama and 1-1 at Jamaica (extremely lucky not to lose 1-3) tonight. Unless we’re happy to remain mediocre in CONCACAF instead of the king of CONCACAF.

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  7. Pepi should have put this one away on Weah great backpass right after his goal… 2-0 would have been done with.
    But Pepi has developed square feet and somehow lost all his skill these past 2 games; he plays with zero confidence and it shows. Time to bring back Pefok, Sargent, Dike and some new faces too because Pepi is basically a statue out there.
    And on the same note, Robinson has been horrible also at LB recently – let’s give Vines a shot.

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    • @Mat, FYI, Weah was offside before the back pass to Pepi. The line ref raised the flag afterwards. It would not have been counted anyways.

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  8. Win at home & at least a draw on the road. The US is still on track for WC.
    Mexico & Canada clash outdoors in chilly Edmonton tonight. Canada may leapfrog into 2nd if they play their game.

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