2014 World Cup Qualifying Semifinal Round
- USA’s Clint Dempsey Scores Opening Tally in 36 Seconds for Fastest World Cup Qualifying Goal in MNT History
- Jamaica Rallies with Two Goals on Set Pieces, Takes Group A Lead
- U.S. MNT Hosts Jamaica in Rematch at 8 p.m. ET on Sept. 11 at Sold-Out Columbus Crew Stadium; Match Televised Live on ESPN2, ESPN3 and Galavision
KINGSTON, Jamaica (Sept. 7, 2012) – The U.S. Men’s National Team fell to Jamaica 2-1 on Friday at National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica, in Group A of the Semifinal Round of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying.
Clint Dempsey scored the game’s first goal in 35 seconds for the fastest World Cup qualifying goal in MNT history, but Jamaica rallied with back-to-back set piece goals.
Jamaica took sole possession of first place in the group with a 2-0-1 record and seven points, while the USA fell to 1-1-1 with four points. The U.S. has never won a World Cup qualifier match in Jamaica, posting four draws in the previous four meetings.
The U.S. and Jamaica resume FIFA World Cup qualifying when they meet at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Sept. 11, at a sold-out Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN2, ESPN3 and Galavision. Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and via Twitter @ussoccer.
The buildup to the USA’s early goal started with Maurice Edu slipping a pass into the right side of the penalty area for forward Herculez Gomez who attacked down the right, cut to the left against his defender and took a shot that was saved by Jamaican goalkeeper Dwayne Miller. The ball deflected back to Gomez, who took a second shot, this time with his left foot, but defender Nyron Nosworthy fell to his knees to block the shot with his chest. The rebound fell a couple feet above the goal box and Dempsey slotted the ball home with his left for an early 1-0 lead.
Dempsey’s goal was his eighth career in World Cup qualifying, tying him for fourth in MNT history with Eddie Johnson. Dempsey also has scored in three straight qualifying matches, including the lone USA goal during the 1-1 draw against Guatemala on June 12 and a goal during the team’s 3-1 win against Antigua & Barbuda on June 8.
Jamaica responded to the USA’s opening goal, capitalizing on a free kick opportunity following a foul by U.S. midfielder Kyle Beckerman near the top of the box. Jamaica’s Randolph Austin struck a low shot that barely left the ground, but deflected off of Beckerman’s right foot in the wall and found the back of the net to tie the score at 1-1 in the 23rd minute.
The USA nearly found a go-ahead goal just before halftime as Dempsey’s 44th-minute attempt was saved by Jamaica goalkeeper Dwayne Miller. The U.S. crossed the ball in from the right side and Edu’s re-direct touch set up Dempsey while creating a hole in the Jamaica defense. Dempsey took a shot that appeared bound for the left side of the goal, but a diving Miller made the save with his right glove to keep the score level heading into the break.
Jamaica found the game-winner on another free kick. After an Edu foul, Shelton hit a curling right-footed shot over the USA wall, past an outstretched Howard, and off the left post before finding its way into the net.
The U.S. had a bit of a scare when goalkeeper Tim Howard was down on the ground just outside of the box in the 53rd minute after colliding with speedy Jamaica forward Luton Shelton. Shelton had a couple of steps against the USA defense in pursuit of the ball and Howard made a dash to clear. In the process, Howard took a knock to his right leg but was able to walk off the injury and play the remainder of the match.
- Clint Dempsey scored his fourth goal of the year and 28th of his international career. He ranks fourth on the USA’s all-time list, just two behind third-place Brian McBride who scored 30 goals in 95 games.
- Dempsey’s quick strike beat the previous mark he set in a World Cup Qualifier when he needed only 53 seconds to notch the first goal of an 8-0 rout of Barbados in 2008 during qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
- U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard wore the captain’s armband for a second straight game. Howard was the captain during the team’s historic 1-0 win against Mexico on Aug. 15 as the USA posted its first victory at Estadio Azteca.
- The U.S. is now 6-2-2 this year, with the only other defeat coming against Brazil on May 30.
- U.S. midfielder Danny Williams made his third appearance of the year (first off the bench) when he replaced Kyle Beckerman in the 58th minute, playing his first match in an official competition with the United States.
-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --
Match: USA vs. Jamaica
Date: Sept. 7, 2012
Competition: 2014 World Cup Qualifier; Group A
Venue: National Stadium; Kingston, Jamaica
Kickoff: 7 p.m. CT
Weather: 81 degrees, light rain
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
JAM 1 1 2
USA – Clint Dempsey 1st minute
JAM – Rodolph Austin 23
JAM – Luton Shelton 62
USA : 1-Tim Howard (capt.); 15-Michael Parkhurst, 21-Clarence Goodson, 20-Geoff Cameron, 23-Fabian Johnson; 13-Jermaine Jones, 5-Kyle Beckerman (14-Danny Williams, 58), 7-Maurice Edu (11-Brek Shea, 72); 8-Clint Dempsey, 17-Jozy Altidore (18-Terrence Boyd, 72), 9-Herculez Gomez
Subs not used: 2-Jonathan Spector, 3-Carlos Bocanegra, 4-Michael Orozco Fiscal, 12-Brad Guzan, 16-Jose Torres, 19-Graham Zusi
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
JAM : 13-Dwayne Miller; 19-Arian Mariappa, 2-Nyron Nosworthy, 14-Lovel Palmer; 15-Je-Vaughn Watson, 17-Rodolph Austin, 7-Jason Morrison, 6-Jermaine Taylor (capt.); 21-Luton Shelton (8-Joel Senior, 83); 18-Kavin Bryan (5-Darren Mattocks, 63), 9-Ryan Johnson (10-Omar Cummings, 90+1)
Subs not used: 1-Duwayne Kerr, 23-Jacomeno Barrett, 4-Shavar Thomas, 3-Dicoy Williams, 12-Andrae Williams, 16-O’Brian Woodbine, 22-Ewan Grandison, 11-Dane Richards, 20-Tremaine Stewart
Head coach: Theodore Whitmore
Stats Summary: USA / JAM
Shots: 7 / 9
Shots on Goal: 2 / 4
Saves: 2 / 1
Corner Kicks: 1 / 3
Fouls: 12 / 14
Offside: 0 / 4
USA – Clarence Goodson (caution) 67th minute
JAM – Je-Vaughn Watson (caution) 76
USA – Jermaine Jones (caution) 78
Referee: Marco Rodriguez (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Marvin Torrentera (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Marcos Quintero (MEX)
Fourth Official: Mauricio Morales (MEX)
Budweiser Man of the Match: Clint Dempsey
- Clint Dempsey Scores 27th Career Goal, Passes Joe-Max Moore for Fourth All-Time in PointsÂ
- USA Extends Unbeaten Streak Against Guatemala to 18 (12-0-6)Â
- U.S. Resumes World Cup Qualifying on Sept. 7 and 11 Against Jamaica; Sept. 11 Match at Columbus Crew Stadium to Be Broadcast Live on ESPN2, ESPN3, Univision Family
GUATEMALA CITY (June 12, 2012) â€“ The U.S. Menâ€™s National Team kept their Group A lead in the Semifinal Round of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying this evening with a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Guatemala at Estadio Mateo Flores.
U.S. forward Clint Dempsey tallied his 27th career international goal in the 40th minute, but second-half substitute Marco Pappa finished a free kick late in the match to give each team a share of the points.
With the draw, the U.S. extended its unbeaten streak against Guatemala to 18 games (12-0-6) and maintains its lead in Group A with four points. Earlier in the evening, Jamaica drew with Antigua & Barbuda in the other group match to keep pace with the U.S. at four points. The U.S. holds the top spot with a better goal differential.
The U.S. resumes World Cup qualifying with back-to-back matches against Jamaica on Sept. 7 and 11. Jamaica hosts the Sept. 7 match in Kingston, and then four days later the U.S. will welcome the Caribbean nation to Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. That match will be broadcast live at 8 p.m. on ESPN2, ESPN3 and the Univision family. Fans can follow the match live on ussoccer.comâ€™s MatchTracker and via Twitter @ussoccer.
â€œI think we saw quite an exciting game,â€ said U.S. Menâ€™s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. â€œI think the game was open for most of the stretch of it. Obviously, with the lead one-nil, you want to win it, you want to bring the three points home. We came for three points but I think at the end of the day, the tie, based on all the chances on both sides, is OK.â€ [More Quotes]
Dempsey opened the gameâ€™s scoring with five minutes left in the first half after U.S. left back Fabian Johnson attacked up the left flank and slipped the ball to his right for the open forward. Dempsey did the rest of the work, calmly eluding two defenders while moving to his right, and then placing a low drive past Guatemala goalkeeper Ricardo Jerez, Jr. for the 1-0 lead.
Dempseyâ€™s third goal of the year upped his career points total to 64 (27 goals, 10 assists) and moved him ahead of Joe-Max Moore (62 career points) for fourth all-time in U.S. history.
Guatemala nearly found an equalizer just before halftime as their captain Carlos Ruiz avoided U.S. midfielders Maurice Edu and Michael Bradley at the top of the box and shot just wide right of the frame past goalkeeper Tim Howard.
Before those two chances, the U.S. and Guatemala combined for only three shots on goal during the opening half. Bradley delivered the USAâ€™s first attempt in the 28th minute with a volley from a little more than 25 yards out, forcing Jerez to make the save to his right. Ruiz had Guatemalaâ€™s first shot on goal in the 31st minute, blasting a free kick over the USAâ€™s five-man wall and directing it straight to Howard for the save. Carlos Figueroa had the other after getting free down the right and forcing Howard to save from a tight angle and give up a rebound which narrowly eluded an oncoming Ruiz.
For a second straight World Cup qualifying match, Guatemala head coach Ever Hugo Almeida made all three of his substitutions to start the second half. Manuel Leon, Pappa and Dwight Pezzarossi replaced Jose Contreras, Figueroa and Mario Rodriguez, respectively.
In the 69th minute, the U.S. managed to come away unscathed from a Guatemala flurry in front of Howard that started with a corner kick from the left side. Pezzarossi had the initial header off the corner and the ball reached teammate Luis Rodriguez, who fired a shot that Howard did well to make the close-range save. The rebound made its way to Ruiz, but his high-percentage, point-blank opportunity sailed well over the crossbar and the U.S. continued to maintain its one-goal lead.
The U.S. had its opportunities in the final 10 minutes of regulation to add to its lead. Second-half sub Jozy Altidore nearly found the scoring column in the 79th minute, but the USAâ€™s sequence quickly was ruled dead too quickly by referee Joel Aguilar when Dempsey was fouled two yards above the box while he was sending the ball through to Altidore. Jones took the following free kick but missed high and wide.
Guatemala found its game-tying goal a few minutes later when Ruiz was fouled by Johnson in the 82nd minute and the U.S. back was issued a yellow card. Pappa, who plays for Major League Soccerâ€™s Chicago Fire, took the subsequent free kick over the USAâ€™s eight-man wall and just under the crossbar, giving Howard little time to react to make the save.
The U.S. had one final burst with Bradley leading the charge down the left side and providing a lead pass toward the top of the box, but Altidore was unable to get into the space for what could have been a clear chance on goal.
Additional Match Notes:
- The USA completed a five-game stretch in 18 days in what head coach Jurgen Klinsmann approached as a tournament, posting a 2-1-2 record during this span and moving to 5-1-2 for the year.Â
- U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard made three saves for the U.S. and Guatemala â€˜keeper Ricardo Jerez, Jr., had two saves for Guatemala. Guatemala held a 13-11 shots advantage and a 4-3 shots on goal advantage.Â
- U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra made his 106th international appearance on Tuesday, tying for seventh place on the all-time USA list with Eric Wynalda.Â
- U.S. left back Fabian Johnson returned to the starting lineup following a right calf injury that forced him to miss the June 3 international friendly against Canada and the June 8 World Cup qualifying opener against Antigua & Barbuda.Â
- Guatemala and the U.S. combined for 36 fouls, with Guatemala committing 22.Â
- U.S. midfielder Kyle Beckerman made his first appearance in 2014 World Cup qualifying, replacing Landon Donovan in second-half stoppage time.Â
- Clint Dempsey scored his seventh career goal in World Cup qualifying. He is second only to Donovan (12) among this rosterâ€™s World Cup qualifying scoring leaders.Â
- Donovan played in his 37th career World Cup qualifying match.Â
- Geoff Cameron made his World Cup qualifying debut, replacing Clarence Goodson to open the second half
-- U.S. Menâ€™s National Team Game Report --
Match: USA vs. Guatemala
Date: June 12, 2012
Competition: 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifier
Venue: Estadio Mateo Flores; Guatemala City, Guatemala
Kickoff: 9 p.m. CT
Weather: 68 degrees, partly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USAÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 1 0 1
GUAÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 0 1 1
USA â€“ Clint Dempsey (Fabian Johnson)Â 40th minute
GUA â€“ Marco Pappa (free kick)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 83
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 21-Clarence Goodson (20-Geoff Cameron, 46), 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 23-Fabian Johnson; 7-Maurice Edu, 4-Michael Bradley, 13-Jermaine Jones; 10-Landon Donovan (14-Kyle Beckerman, 90+3), 8-Clint Dempsey, 9-Herculez Gomez (17-Jozy Altidore, 64)
Subs not used: 2-Michael Parkhurst, 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 11-Joe Corona, 12-Brad Guzan, 16-Jose Torres, 19-Chris Wondolowski
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
GUA: 1-Ricardo Jerez Jr.; 4-Erwin Morales, 5-Carlos Gallardo, 14-Luis Rodriguez, 3-Elias Vasquez; 6-Wilfred Velasquez, 11-Jose Manuel Contreras (15-Manuel Leon, 46), 18-Carlos Figueroa (16-Marco Pappa, 46); 10-Mario Rodriguez (17-Dwight Pezzarossi, 46), 20-Carlos Ruiz, 19-Marvin Avila
Subs not used: 2-Rafael Morales, 7-Jose del Aguila, 8-Gonzalo Romero, 9-Jairo Arreola, 12-Paulo Cesar Motta, 13-Alejandro Galindo, 21-Juan Paredes, 22-Minor Lopez, 23-Jonathan Lopez
Head coach: Ever Hugo Almeida
Stats Summary: USA / GUA
Shots: 11 / 13
Shots on Goal: 3 / 4
Saves: 3 / 2
Corner Kicks: 2 / 4
Fouls: 14 / 22
Offside: 2 / 5
USA â€“ Clarence Goodson (caution) Â Â 23rd minute
GUA â€“ Luis Rodriguez (caution)Â Â Â Â Â Â 51
USA â€“ Michael Bradley (caution)Â Â Â Â Â 60
GUA â€“ Marco Pappa (caution)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 61
USA â€“ Maurice Edu (caution)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 66
USA â€“ Fabian Johnson (caution)Â Â Â Â Â Â 82
Referee: Joel Aguilar (SLV)
Assistant Referee 1: William Torres (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Zumba (CRC)
Fourth Official: Marlon Mejia (CRC)
Budweiser Man of the Match:
U.S. Men’s National Team head coach JURGEN KLINSMANN
“We discussed prior to the game that it would be difficult to break them down. Antigua did a very good job defending and made it very tight. They made it very difficult for us to create more chances. I think we created quite a few chances and we could have scored a few more goals. Those games are tricky. At the end of the day, I think the three points is the starting point we wanted to have. We know we have to step it up a lot going into Guatemala, which we will do. Overall, we give a complement to Antigua and a complement to the crowd of over 23,000 coming to the game. It was amazing. Now we’ve got to look toward Tuesday and we’ve got to give Guatemala a real fight.”
On if the goals came as a result of the team simply taking more shots:
“It’s not a simple as that. A couple guys tried in the first half but there were always three or four bodies in front of them. I mentioned it at halftime. I said, ‘You guys have got to shoot more often. Once you have a little bit of open space, pull the trigger.’ And Clint [Dempsey] said, ‘We’re trying, but we always have three, four bodies in front of us’. I think we tried a lot coming over the wings. Landon [Donovan] did quite a good job there, often breaking through. For us a big bummer was obviously the injury of Jose Torres. We’ll see tonight how his x-ray is. It’s not looking very good right now. We got a lot from him, constantly going down the left side, bringing balls in and getting more numbers in the box, which we also told them at halftime. One thing is getting crosses, the other thing is having presence in the box. I think there are points where we can obviously do better than tonight.”
On if there is frustration that the team did not score more goals:
“There’s not a level of frustration. I think there’s kind of a reality check that you’ve got to kind of wear everybody down first. You have to play fast out of the back. If you watch our training sessions, you see there’s speed, there’s one-two touches, there’s constant movement off the ball, and we didn’t see that in the first half hour. There were enough chances to score more goals, obviously, but then you’ve got to be clinical enough to put them in. The guys know they didn’t do that. They know they can step it up and they will step it up. But also, it’s not the expectation just to overrun Antigua more, or whatever country that looks a little bit weaker on a piece of paper. That’s not the case. They came here, they played their game. For them, it’s big time. They gave everything they had and made it difficult. We just heard that Mexico had a similar experience tonight with Guyana, winning 3-1 at home. But still, the important thing is the players understand what they did okay and what was not so okay, so they will hear that from me and then we’ve got to step it up in Guatemala City.”
On the things to take from the game:
“I think that we just have to circle the ball around faster. We’ve got to find the midfielders playing in more forward positions and not having midfielders, as I mentioned at halftime, coming back and picking up behind. I told Michael [Bradley] and Jermaine [Jones] to ask for the balls further up because we need the ball further up in their half. Even there, if you watch a bit from the first half, we often had the midfielders on the same line and then we had the forwards on the same line. There needs to be a lot more movement off the ball, which is easier when you have space. Obviously we don’t have space because they’re defending really well there and were very compact with 10 guys behind the ball. It’s a bit more tricky. But that’s when you just have to release the ball earlier. You have to control your pass or try a one-touch if possible so you can get behind their backline faster.”
On winning his first World Cup Qualifier with the U.S. team:
“I’m excited about every game we have an opportunity to play. Definitely, what I would like to see going forward is that no matter if you play a qualifier or a friendly, you take it the same way. You’re not holding back anything. That’s why I was a little bit disappointed in Canada. I thought, ‘Okay, we had heavy legs, but we can still beat them.’ It didn’t happen. I think we have to develop a real sense of urgency over time. Be urgent in everything we do, whether it’s training, whether it’s a game, no matter who’s the opponent … we need to develop that understanding that coming in here and being with the U.S. National Team means a lot. Sometimes in the last year we had the feeling that it’s only friendlies. Maybe it’s because there’s no peer pressure like you have in Europe and South America because it’s not such a big ordeal if you lose a game. It’s interesting for me, and I’m learning as well.”
U.S. MNT forward LANDON DONOVAN
On the game:
“We were OK. We can improve. They were a little more organized defensively than I thought they might be, but they did a good job, so give them credit. The important thing is to win and get qualifying started the right way.”
On the need to shoot more:
“I think we just wanted to get the perfect opportunity. We probably should have been better about shooting. We were a little unlucky with a few plays that didn’t come off, but on the night we probably had 20 chances or so to score. I think three is a good number. It would have been nice to score more.”
U.S. MNT forward HERCULEZ GOMEZ
On the World Cup qualifying process:
“You know going into this that it’s a long process. It’s a long 16 games, long 18 months, and you know there’s going to be ups, there’s going to be downs, there’s going to be good games, not so good games, and bad games. But the most important thing is just the commitment to do whatever it takes to get points, to get results and to make sure that at the end of it all you’re in the World Cup. I think we all can look at ourselves close enough to know it’s certainly not our best night. But having said that, it’s three points.”
On where the team could improve moving forward:
“When you play against these teams you know they’re going to come in, they’re going to defend, they’re going to try and make it difficult. They’re going to put numbers behind the ball. And that means that now for us the challenge is can we be sharp enough and just dangerous enough in how we play and how we move and how then we put them under pressure. I thought at times it was good and at times I thought that part could have been better.”
U.S. MNT goalkeeper TIM HOWARD
On the challenges throughout a long qualifying process:
“Qualifying is horrendously difficult. I think Jurgen or someone said yesterday that between now and by the time we get to the World Cup we’re going to play like 16 or 18 qualifying games. It’s not like you can knock that out in a day and you forget how long that process actually takes. This is a small step on the way there. Tonight was a first step, and though it didn’t look pretty I think there’s going to be a lot of days along the way where we think, ‘We got the three points.’”
U.S. MNT forward CLINT DEMPSEY:
On Friday’s result against Antigua & Barbuda:
“The good thing is we were able to score tonight and we got three goals. When you’re scoring, a team has confidence in front of the goal. It was good for me to get a goal. It gives me a little bit more confidence going into the next game. But we’ve just got to be a little more clinical in front of the goal and that comes with confidence and it comes with the next game. We’ve got to step sup, go out there and get the job done, and take advantage of the chances that we get.”
On improving the rate of play in the final third:
“You’d like to play as quickly as possible and you want to try to create space for yourself so you can get shots. A good way to do that is rate of play and also give-and-gos. The team we played tonight really sat back. I don’t think Guatemala’s going to sit back at home, so I don’t think we’re going to have to deal with that problem. I think they’re going to be on the front foot. They’re going to be playing with that confidence that they’ve got the whole stadium behind them, and I don’t really see them being a team that’s going to sit back at home during a World Cup qualifier. In that sense, we don’t have to worry about them packing it in the back. We’ve still got to move the ball quickly and take our chances when they come. We’re still a work in progress. We’re still trying to figure out what our best 11 is, what our best formation is, and we’ve got the games coming up to prove it. We’ve got to win away from home if we want to qualify for the World Cup and that starts with the next game.”
- Bocanegra Nets 13th Career Goal, Tying All-Time USA Mark for Defenders
- Dempsey Contributes 26th Career Goal on Game-Winning Penalty Kick; Gomez Adds Goal in 72nd Minute
- U.S. Resumes World Cup Qualifying Against Guatemala at 10 p.m. ET on Tues., June 12 at Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City
TAMPA, Fla. (June 8, 2012) - The U.S. Men's National Team took control from the opening whistle and never looked back as it downed Antigua & Barbuda 3-1 on Friday to open the Semifinal Round of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying in Group A in front of a crowd of 23,971 at Raymond James Stadium.
U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra tied the all-time scoring mark for U.S. defenders with his 13th career goal, matching the mark set by National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee Marcelo Balboa. Clint Dempsey's penalty kick conversion in the 44th minute proved to be the game-winner, with Herculez Gomez added his fourth career goal in the second half.
The U.S. next travels to Central America to face Guatemala at 10 p.m. ET on Tuesday, June 12, at Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City. The match will be televised live on pay-per-view (learn more) and ustream.tv. Fans can follow the match live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker and via Twitter @ussoccer.
"We discussed that prior to the game that it would be difficult to break them down," said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who captured a win in his first career World Cup qualifier as a coach. "Antigua did a very good job defending and made it very tight. I think we created quite a few chances and we could have scored a few more goals. Those games are tricky. At the end of the day, I think the three points is the starting point that we wanted to have. We know that we have to step it up a lot going into Guatemala, which we will do. Overall, we give a complement to Antigua and a complement to the crowd of over 23,000 coming to the game. It was amazing. Now we've got to look toward Tuesday and we've got to give Guatemala a real fight."
Playing in rain-soaked conditions at the start of the game, the U.S. struck quickly after creating a couple of early set piece opportunities. Landon Donovan purposely delayed his second corner kick in the eighth minute to wait for Bocanegra to finish tying his shoe while off the field just to the left of the goal. In the end it paid off, with the U.S. captain following up a Gomez header to tap home from close range and give his team the lead in the first meeting between these two countries.
The goal was Bocanegra's first of the year and 13th of his career, matching Balboa's career mark that had stood by itself since 1998.
Antigua had one big scoring opportunity in the first half, and center back Clarence Goodson was pivotal in keeping the ball out of harmâ€™s way. On a quick restart, Antigua took advantage of the USA players still tracking back, and Dexter Blockstock got a shot off at the top of the box. His left-footed strike was blocked by a sliding Goodson and cleared to safety. Blockstockâ€™s shot would have surely tested Tim Howard in the net, but the block meant Antigua finished the half without an official shot on goal.
The U.S. dominated the entire first 45 minutes in possession, and the team finally found its second goal shortly before halftime. While Bocanegra remained on the sidelines tending to a cut in the back of his head, the USA still pushed forward. A flowing move started with a give-and-go between Dempsey and Donovan before the USA's number 10 was scythed down in the area by Antigua's Marvin McCoy in the 43rd minute. Dempsey stepped up and buried the penalty kick, firing straight up the middle for his 26th career international goal. The Texan is the first USA player to score in multiple games this year, following up his game-winning goal against Italy on Feb. 29, and now has scored more than one goal for the MNT in every year since 2005.
The U.S. has reshuffled its personnel at left back in recent weeks, and Jose Torres was drafted into service tonight after absences to Fabian Johnson (right calf) and Edgar Castillo (hamstring). Torres spent the first half joining the attack effectively, but was forced to leave the game in the second half with a left ankle contusion sustained after a nasty challenge. Klinsmann again reshuffled the backline, bringing in Oguchi Onyewu and shifting Bocanegra to the left.
Shortly after the change, Bocanegra pushed up into the attack and set up Gomez for a one-timer in the 58th minute that caromed off the crossbar. The USA had one more crack at the goal on the sequence with Michael Bradley trying to set up Dempsey, but the Antigua defense disrupted the play and cleared the danger.
Three minutes after Antigua's Peter Byers entered the match, he cut into the USA's lead with an unexpected goal in the 65th minute. Mikele Leigertwood provided the feed from the left side and Byers turned Onyewu before forcing the ball past Howard to cut the lead in half.
The setback galvanized the USA, and for a three-minute stretch beginning in the 70th minute the U.S. peppered James in the Antigua goal. Dempsey and Bradley each tried shots from distance, forcing James into a body save against Dempsey and diving to his left to push aside Bradley's attempt.
The Antigua goalkeeper could only do so much, and the U.S. increased its lead in the 72nd minute. Gomez and Michael Bradley both made a charge at the ball at the top of the box and Antiguaâ€™s defenders got in the way of the initial shot attempt. With the ball springing free and the 'keeper caught out, Gomez stuck with the run and deposited the ball into the near left side to return the U.S. to a two-goal cushion.
Antigua nearly took advantage of a defensive mishap by the U.S. defense in the 84th minute, but Howard was able to tip Byers' blistering shot over the goal for his lone save of the match.
James had eight saves on the night as the U.S. out-shot Antigua 19-7 overall, collecting an 11-2 advantage in shots on goal.
The USA improved to 5-1-1 on the year and now shifts its focus to the big game in Guatemala in four days time.
Additional Match Notes:
- Jose Torres, normally a midfielder, has actually played outside back before for the U.S. MNT. Torres made his debut at outside back on Oct. 11, 2008, as a 68th-minute sub for Heath Pearce during the USA's 6-1 win against Cuba at RFK Stadium to clinch a berth in the Final Round of 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying.
- U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra earned his 105th cap Friday. He is one appearance away from tying for seventh place all-time with Eric Wynalda (106) on the U.S. list.
- Steve Cherundolo moved into sole possession of 20th all-time with his 83rd cap. Landon Donovan made his 142nd appearance and is second all-time behind Cobi Jones (164).
- Donovan has now appeared in 36 World Cup qualifying matches.
-- U.S. Men's National Team Game Report --
Match: USA vs. Antigua & Barbuda
Date: June 8, 2012
Competition: 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying; Semifinal Round
Venue: Raymond James Stadium; Tampa, Fla.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Weather: 73 degrees; rain
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 1 3
ATG 0 1 1
USA - Carlos Bocanegra 8th minute
USA - Clint Dempsey (pen) 44
ATG - Peter Byers 65
USA - Herculez Gomez 72
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 21-Clarence Goodson, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 16-Jose Torres (5-Oguchi Onyewu, 57); 7-Maurice Edu , 4-Michael Bradley, 13-Jermaine Jones (18-Terrence Boyd, 81); 10-Landon Donovan, 8-Clint Dempsey, 9-Herculez Gomez (17-Jozy Altidore, 80)
Subs not used: 2-Michael Parkhurst, 12-Brad Guzan,14-Kyle Beckerman, 20-Geoff Cameron
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
ATG: 18-Molvin James; 2-Marvin McCoy, 5-Marc Joseph, 17-George Dublin, 11-Quinton Griffith; 14-Randolph Burton, 8-Mikele Leigertwood, 15-Lawson Robinson, 10-Keiran Murtagh (16-Peter Byers, 62); 13-Tamarley Thomas (9-Stefan Smith, 83), 23-Dexter Blackstock
Subs not used: 1-Olson Forde, 3-Joshua Parker, 4-Karanja Mack, 6-Ranja Christian, 7-Kimoi Alexander, 19-Troy Dublin, 20-Akeem Thomas, 21-Keita Decastro, 22-Justin Cochrane
Head coach: Tom Curtis
Stats Summary: USA / ATG
Shots: 19 / 7
Shots on Goal: 11 / 2
Saves: 1 / 8
Corner Kicks: 14 / 2
Fouls: 17 / 10
Offside: 3 / 0
ATG â€“ Marc Joseph (caution) 12th minute
ATG - Quinton Griffith (caution) 67
Referee: Hugo Cruz (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: Warner Castro (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Osvaldo Luna (CRC)
Fourth Official: Ricardo Cerdas (CRC)
Budweiser Man of the Match:
|October 16, 2012||MNT vs Guatemala||3-1 W||Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.||16,947|
|October 12, 2012||
||2-1 W||Sir Vivian Richards Stadium; North Sound, Antigua||7,000|
|September 11, 2012||
||1-0 W||Columbus Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio||23,881|
|September 7, 2012||
||1-2 L||National Stadium; Kingston, Jamaica||24,000|
|June 12, 2012||MNT vs Guatemala||1-1 D||Estadio Mateo Flores; Guatemala City, Guatemala||18,000|
|June 8, 2012||
||3-1 W||Raymond James Stadium; Tampa, Fla.||23,971|
Round Three Notes
- In the Semifinal Round, the six group winners from Round Two then join the remaining six teams that received byes for Round One and Round Two.
- The 12 teams will be drawn into 3 groups of 4 teams each.
- The matches are foreseen to be played in the period from June 8 - October 16, 2012.
- All three group winners and three group runners-up advance to the Final Round.
|Jun. 8, 2012||USA vs. Antigua & Barbuda||3-1 W||Raymond James Stadium;
|Jun. 8, 2012||Jamaica vs. Guatemala||2-1||National Stadium;
|Jun. 12, 2012||Guatemala vs. USA||1-1 T||Estadio Mateo Flores;
Guatemala City, Guatemala
|Jun. 12, 2012||Antigua & Barbuda vs. Jamaica||0-0||Sir Vivian Richards Stadium;
North Sound, Antigua
|Sept. 7, 2012||Jamaica vs. USA||2-1 L||National Stadium;
|Sept. 7, 2012||Guatemala vs. Antigua & Barbuda||3-1||Estadio Mateo Flores;
Guatemala City, Guatemala
|Sept. 11, 2012||USA vs. Jamaica||1-0 W||Crew Stadium;
|Sept. 11, 2012||Antigua & Barbuda vs. Guatemala||0-1||Sir Vivian Richards Stadium;
North Sound, Antigua
|Oct. 12, 2012||Guatemala vs. Jamaica||2-1||Estadio Mateo Flores;
Guatemala City, Guatemala
|Oct. 12, 2012||Antigua & Barbuda vs. USA||2-1 W||Sir Vivian Richards Stadium;
North Sound, Antigua
|Oct. 16, 2012||USA vs. Guatemala||3-1||LIVESTRONG Sporting Park;
Kansas City, Kan.
|Oct. 16, 2012||Jamaica vs. Antigua & Barbuda||4-1||National Stadium;
|Jun. 8, 2012||Mexico vs. Guyana||3-1|
|Jun. 8, 2012||Costa Rica vs. El Salvador||2-2|
|Jun. 12, 2012||El Salvador vs. Mexico||1-2|
|Jun. 12, 2012||Guyana vs. Costa Rica||0-4|
|Sept. 7, 2012||Costa Rica vs. Mexico||0-2|
|Sept. 7, 2012||El Salvador vs. Guyana||2-2|
|Sept. 11, 2012||Mexico vs. Costa Rica||1-0|
|Sept. 11, 2012||Guyana vs. El Salvador||2-3|
|Oct. 12, 2012||El Salvador vs. Costa Rica||0-1|
|Oct. 12, 2012||Guyana vs. Mexico||0-5|
|Oct. 16, 2012||Mexico vs. El Salvador||2-0|
|Oct. 16, 2012||Costa Rica vs. Guyana||7-0|
|Jun. 8, 2012||Honduras vs. Panama||0-2|
|Jun. 8, 2012||Cuba vs. Canada||0-1|
|Jun. 12, 2012||Canada vs. Honduras||0-0|
|Jun. 12, 2012||Panama vs. Cuba||1-0|
|Sept. 7, 2012||Cuba vs. Honduras||0-3|
|Sept. 7, 2012||Canada vs. Panama||1-0|
|Sept. 11, 2012||Honduras vs. Cuba||1-0|
|Sept. 11, 2012||Panama vs. Canada||2-0|
|Oct. 12, 2012||Canada vs. Cuba||3-0|
|Oct. 12, 2012||Panama vs. Honduras||0-0|
|Oct. 16, 2012||Honduras vs. Canada||8-1|
|Oct. 16, 2012||Cuba vs. Panama||1-1|