U.S. Soccer

Morris Strike Leads MNT to 1-0 Victory Against Jamaica in Chattanooga

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Feb. 3, 2017) – The U.S. Men’s National Team used Jordan Morris’ 59th minute strike to defeat regional rivals Jamaica 1-0 on Friday night at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, Tenn. The win marked the first victory of Bruce Arena’s second tenure in charge of the MNT.

The U.S. found its first chance of the game in the seventh minute when Benny Feilhaber hit a picture-perfect corner kick from the left to find Dax McCarty rise outside the six-yard box where he nodded a shot just over the crossbar. Twelve minutes later, Sebastian Lletget broke free up the left flank where he powered past two Jamaica defenders to center a pass for Juan Agudelo, but the striker’s first-time effort scraped just wide of the near post.

A close call on Romario Williams’ 34th minute rebound was followed up by two more U.S. chances. In the 38th minute, Jordan Morris broke free into the box, but Jamaica ‘keeper Andre Blake turned his effort out for a corner kick. On the ensuing take, Feilhaber played a short corner into the box for McCarty who settled for Lletget, before the LA Galaxy midfielder’s measured effort curled inches past the left post.

The MNT would find the go-ahead goal just before the hour mark when a clever combination between Feilhaber and Morris saw the latter beat substitute goalkeeper Ryan Thompson to record his second international goal in the 59th minute. Lletget nearly doubled the lead 10 minutes later, but placed his headed effort straight at Thompson before the U.S. closed out the 1-0 victory.

Next on the Schedule: The U.S. MNT reconvenes for two crucial World Cup Qualifying matches on March 24 vs. Honduras in San Jose (10:30 p.m. ET; FS1, UniMas, UDN) and March 28 at Panama (Kickoff TBD; beIN Sports).

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Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Jordan Morris (Benny Feilhaber)
, 59th minute: The U.S. finally found the back of the net through a well-worked goal just before the hour mark. Dax McCarty played a penetrating pass for Benny Feilhaber who took the ball on a turn before dishing to Jordan Morris. The two played a quick combination to get into the box before Feilhaber laid for Morris on the right where the Seattle Sounders FC striker finished past Jamaica goalkeeper Ryan Thompson.  USA 1, JAM 0 [WATCH]

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
USA – Luis Robles, 34th minute:
Atlanta United FC striker Romario Williams forced a turnover at midfield before front-line partner Corey Burke gave chase down the left. Entering the box, Burke put in a quick, low cross that saw Robles turn the ball away, only to have Williams rebound attempt pop over the crossbar.

JAM – Andre Blake, 38th minute:  A looping header over the top found Juan Agudelo who rose to nod the ball into the path of Morris. The speedy striker split two Jamaican defenders to run free into the box, but Blake came just as quickly off his line to deny the attempt and turn the ball out for a corner kick.

JAM – Ryan Thompson, 57th minute: Right back Graham Zusi got on the end of a diagonal before uncorking a left-footed rocket that Thompson tipped over the bar for a corner kick.

JAM – Ryan Thompson, 67th minute: Shortly after entering the match, Darlington Nagbe laid the ball for Jorge Villafaña on the left. There, the Santos Laguna defender whipped in a right-footed cross that saw Lletget rise to head his effort straight at Thompson.

NOTES:

  • With the result, the U.S. moves to 14-2-8 all-time vs. Jamaica
  • Bruce Arena earned the first win of his second tenure as U.S. MNT head coach, improving to 72-30-30 all-time and 5-0-5 vs. Jamaica
  • The U.S. MNT has held opponents scoreless through 180 minutes in 2017
  • Jordan Morris recorded his second international goal in the 59th minute. Morris opened his international account on April 15, 2015 vs. Mexico
  • Benny Feilhaber tallied his second assist and first since 2007 on Morris’ strike
  • Graham Zusi captained the MNT for the first time in his second-straight appearance at right back
  • Hailing from nearby Lawrenceville, Ga., Walker Zimmerman earned his U.S. MNT debut, going the full 90 minutes in the win
  • Along with Zimmerman, defender Jorge Villafaña and midfielders Chris Pontius and Sebastian Lletget made their first starts for the MNT after earning their first caps in Sunday’s 0-0 draw vs. Serbia
  • Both making their third international appearances, Luis Robles and David Bingham combined for the clean sheet
  • Dax McCarty made his first MNT appearance since a 1-1 draw with Chile on Jan. 22, 2011
  • Feilhaber made his first start for the MNT since a 1-0 win vs. Venezuela on Jan. 21, 2012
  • Center back Steve Birnbaum was the only player to feature in all 180 minutes of the MNT’s pair of January Camp friendlies
  • With his substitute appearance, Michael Bradley moved past Marcelo Balboa into sole possession of fifth all-time on the MNT all-time caps list
  • Veteran defender DaMarcus Beasley entered for Villafaña in the 86th minute to make his 124th career international appearance
  • Arena utilized a 4-1-3-2 formation, lining up Walker Zimmerman and Steve Birnbaum as central defenders with Graham Zusi and Jorge Villafaña on the right and left sides, respectively
  • In midfield, Dax McCarty set up in the holding role, while Chris Pontius, Benny Feilhaber and Sebastian Lletget deployed from right to left
  • Up top, Jordan Morris partnered with Juan Agudelo

- U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Jamaica
Date: Feb. 3, 2017
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Finley Stadium; Chattanooga, Tenn.
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Attendance: 17,903
Weather: 38 degrees; mostly clear

Scoring Summary:      1          2          F
USA                             0          1          1
JAM                             0          0          0

USA – Jordan Morris (Benny Feilhaber)                        58th minute

Lineups:
USA: 12-Luis Robles (22-David Bingham, 46); 19-Graham Zusi (capt.) (3-Brad Evans, 68), 15-Steve Birnbaum, 21-Walker Zimmerman, 14-Jorge Villafaña (7-DaMarcus Beasley, 86); 20-Dax McCarty (6-Darlington Nagbe, 63); 23-Chris Pontius (11-Alejandro Bedoya, 74), 10-Benny Feilhaber (4-Michael Bradley, 62), 18-Sebastian Lletget; 8-Jordan Morris, 9-Juan Agudelo
Subs not used: 1-Nick Rimando, 2-Greg Garza, 5-Chad Marshall, 17-Jozy Altidore
Head coach: Bruce Arena

JAM: 1-Andre Blake (23-Ryan Thompson, 46); 3-Damion Lowe, 5-Alvas Powell, 6-Sergio Campbell (4-Ladale Richie, 61), 8-Oniel Fisher, 9-Ewan Grandison, (2-Rosario Harriott, 78), 10-Romario Williams (16-Jourdain Fletcher, 83), 11-Cory Burke (14-Shamar Nicholson, 83), 12-Michael Binns, 15-Je-Vaughn Watson, 18-Owayne Gordon (7-Omar Holness, 56)
Subs not used: 17-Kevon Lambert, 19-Dwayne Ambusley
Head coach:
Theodore Whitmore

Stats Summary: USA / JAM
Shots: 10 / 4
Shots on Goal: 3 / 0
Saves: 0 / 2
Corner Kicks: 7 / 3
Fouls: 17 / 14
Offside: 2 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
JAM – Ewan Grandison (caution)               10th minute

Officials:
Referee: Jafeth Perea (PAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Daniel Williamson (PAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Alejandro Camarena (PAN)
4th Official: Jose Kellys (PAN)

Budweiser Man of the Match: Jordan Morris

- ussoccer.com -

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MNT Feb 3, 2017

- U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Jamaica
Date: Feb. 3, 2017
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Finley Stadium; Chattanooga, Tenn.
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Attendance: 17,903
Weather: 38 degrees; mostly clear

Scoring Summary:      1          2          F
USA                             0          1          1
JAM                             0          0          0

USA – Jordan Morris (Benny Feilhaber)                        58th minute

Lineups:
USA: 12-Luis Robles (22-David Bingham, 46); 19-Graham Zusi (capt.) (3-Brad Evans, 68), 15-Steve Birnbaum, 21-Walker Zimmerman, 14-Jorge Villafaña (7-DaMarcus Beasley, 86); 20-Dax McCarty (6-Darlington Nagbe, 63); 23-Chris Pontius (11-Alejandro Bedoya, 74), 10-Benny Feilhaber (4-Michael Bradley, 62), 18-Sebastian Lletget; 8-Jordan Morris, 9-Juan Agudelo
Subs not used: 1-Nick Rimando, 2-Greg Garza, 5-Chad Marshall, 17-Jozy Altidore
Head coach: Bruce Arena

JAM: 1-Andre Blake (23-Ryan Thompson, 46); 3-Damion Lowe, 5-Alvas Powell, 6-Sergio Campbell (4-Ladale Richie, 61), 8-Oniel Fisher, 9-Ewan Grandison, (2-Rosario Harriott, 78), 10-Romario Williams (16-Jourdain Fletcher, 83), 11-Cory Burke (14-Shamar Nicholson, 83), 12-Michael Binns, 15-Je-Vaughn Watson, 18-Owayne Gordon (7-Omar Holness, 56)
Subs not used: 17-Kevon Lambert, 19-Dwayne Ambusley
Head coach:
Theodore Whitmore

Stats Summary: USA / JAM
Shots: 10 / 4
Shots on Goal: 3 / 0
Saves: 0 / 2
Corner Kicks: 7 / 3
Fouls: 17 / 14
Offside: 2 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
JAM – Ewan Grandison (caution)               10th minute

Officials:
Referee: Jafeth Perea (PAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Daniel Williamson (PAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Alejandro Camarena (PAN)
4th Official: Jose Kellys (PAN)

Budweiser Man of the Match: Jordan Morris

Walker Zimmerman Shows Well in MNT Debut

A long-standing tradition for the U.S. Men’s National Team is to have first-timers sing in front of the entire team during their initial camp. With the MNT’s early-year gathering winding down this past week, that opportunity came for newbies Sebastian Lletget, Jorge Villafaña and Walker Zimmerman at dinner Thursday night.

Lletget gave a pretty good rendition of the theme song from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and Villafaña made it through Katy Perry’s “Firework”, but it was Zimmerman who stole the show as he impressively belted out “A Whole New World” from Aladdin.

No we don’t have video, but it seems it was a sign of things to come for the 23-year-old center back, who gave an assured performance in his U.S. MNT debut in Friday’s 1-0 victory against Jamaica.

“I was extremely excited to get the opportunity and I thought we had a good performance as a team,” Zimmerman told ussoccer.com. “Ultimately, to put the effort in that we did and come away with a result, 1-0, it was perfect.”

Hailing from nearby Lawrenceville, Ga., Zimmerman’s first MNT cap was made even more special by having his family as well as a number of high school and college friends make the short trip to Chattanooga to see him partner with Steve Birnbaum in central defense.

Along with full backs Graham Zusi and Villafaña, the pair limited Jamaica to just four shots, none of which were on goal, as they developed their chemistry through the course of the match.

“It’s obviously different with every player, every back line that you’re with,” Zimmerman said. “Steve and I had gotten a few reps together in camp, so we were just learning each other’s tendencies, communicating well and I think we just got better as the game went on.”

As the team returned to the hotel following the match, head coach Bruce Arena carried out another MNT tradition, gifting Zimmerman a team-signed ball to mark the occasion of his first cap.

With the memory of his Thursday night solo still fresh in everyone’s mind, his MNT teammates asked for an encore performance, and the FC Dallas center back delivered again with Justin Bieber hit, “Love Yourself”.

Closing out camp on that high note, Zimmerman returns to FC Dallas as a U.S. international, confident in what he showed to Arena and his staff in January Camp.

“I think just realizing that you belong at this level is the main [takeaway],” he said. “Training with all these amazing players in camp, performing well in camp and in the game, all you can do is put your best foot forward and put the effort in and the rest is up to the coaching staff. I’m pleased with the body of work over the past month and now we’ll see what happens in the future.” 

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MNT Feb 4, 2017

GALLERY: MNT Takes Down the Reggae Boyz with Jordan Morris Goal

Photos from the U.S. Men's National Team's 1-0 win against Jamaica at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, Tenn. A 59th minute goal from striker Jordan Morris assisted by Benny Feilhaber marked the difference and gave Bruce Arena his first win of his second tenure in charge of the MNT. After wrapping up January Camp on a high note, the U.S. MNT reconvenes for two crucial World Cup Qualifying matches on March 24 vs. Honduras in San Jose (10:30 p.m. ET; FS1, UniMas, UDN) and March 28 at Panama (Kickoff TBD; beIN Sports).

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MNT Feb 4, 2017

Anatomy of a Goal: Benny Breaks Down Game-Winner Against Jamaica

While the U.S. Men’s National Team created plenty of chances in Friday’s 1-0 win against Jamaica, it was one moment of magic between Benny Feilhaber and Jordan Morris that defined the game and capped off January Camp the right way.

Making his first MNT start since January 2012, Feilhaber broke the 59th minute goal down following the match.

“Dax [McCarty] got the ball with a little bit of space -- I could tell he was looking at me and kind of wanted me to move into space where I could find the ball,” he told ussoccer.com. “I was kind of hidden a little bit behind their defensive midfielder, and so I was trying to open up space for him.”

McCarty hit a penetrating pass through the middle for Feilhaber, who had a good read on Morris’ positioning and cleverly flicked a first-time pass to the Seattle Sounders FC striker.

“Even before Dax played me the ball I saw that Jordan was kind of off my shoulder. Dax played me a great ball and I was able to just one-time it to Jordan.”

Morris quickly returned the ball to Feilhaber, which proved to be a crucial pass in the play’s development according to the Sporting KC midfielder. 

“I think the best pass of that sequence - which is a little bit understated - is Jordan’s back to me which puts their left back [Damion Lowe] in a position where he can’t do anything – he can’t come to me, he can’t come to Jordan – it makes it easy for me to play it back to Jordan and then he does the rest.”

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MNT Feb 4, 2017
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