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U.S. MNT Wins Third Straight Hexagonal Following 2-0 Victory Against Jamaica at Sold-Out Sporting Park

  • Second-Half Substitute Graham Zusi of Hometown Sporting Kansas City Tallies Game-Winning Goal in 77th Minute
  • Jozy Altidore Scores 21st-Career Goal in 81st Minute to Move into Tie for Sixth All-Time with Bruce Murray
  • Goalkeeper Tim Howard Earns his 33rd Shutout to Move Ahead of Tony Meola for Second All-Time
  • U.S. MNT Wraps up FIFA World Cup Qualifying at Panama on Oct. 15, with Broadcast Live on beIN SPORT Starting at 9:30 p.m. ET

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Oct. 11, 2013) – The U.S. Men’s National Team utilized a second-half attacking surge to secure a 2-0 win against Jamaica that clinched the top spot in the Hexagonal for a third straight FIFA World Cup Qualifying cycle. The match was played in front of a sold-out crowd of 18,467 at Sporting Park.

The U.S. victory, combined with Costa Rica’s 1-0 loss to Honduras earlier in the evening, made the Americans' spot atop the final CONCACAF qualifying group unassailable with one match left to play.

The U.S. sits atop the group with 19 points (6-2-1), followed by Costa Rica (4-2-3, 15 points) and Honduras (4-3-2, 14 points). The USA and Costa Rica have qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and Honduras has assured itself at least a spot in a playoff against the Oceania region representative New Zealand.

Midfielder Graham Zusi, who stars for Major League Soccer’s Sporting Kansas City, and forward Jozy Altidore provided the scoring punch with goals in the 77th and 81st minutes, respectively. The victory provided the USA with a perfect 5-0-0 record in home qualifying games during this cycle. The USA out-scored its opposition 8-0 over the five matches.

Goalkeeper Tim Howard, who wore the captain’s armband, earned the his 33rd international clean sheet to move into sole possession of second place all-time ahead of National Soccer Hall of Famer Tony Meola.

The U.S. MNT will wrap up 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying on the road against Panama on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City. The game kicks off at 9:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on beIN SPORT. Fans can also follow on’s MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer.

During the match, U.S. Soccer announced that the U.S. MNT would be playing Austria on Nov. 19 in Vienna. Further game details will be announced shortly. The USA will also face Scotland at the famed Hampden Park on Nov. 15 at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN2, WatchESPN and UniMas.

After a subpar first half, the Americans turned up the heat in front of an appreciative crowd during the second half and finally broke through with 13 minutes left in the game. It was Zusi, a halftime substitute for Landon Donovan, who delighted his hometown fans, cutting a low shot into the lower left corner off an assist from Alejandro Bedoya.

Altidore sealed Jamaica’s fate with an 81st-minute goal, easily finishing a left-footed shot into a wide open net after Edgar Castillo calmly crossed the ball in from the left side with a rolling pass just above the six-yard box. Altidore’s 21st international goal moved him into a tie with Bruce Murray for sixth on the all-time MNT scoring list.

Jamaica’s best scoring threat actually came on the final shot of the game as Theo Robinson’s close-range blast from the right side was batted away by Howard to preserve the shutout. The USA has now posted 10 shutouts in 2013. Howard made five saves as he improved to 8-2-0 on the year with four shutouts.

Additional Notes:

  • With the victory, the U.S. MNT improved to 26-9-6 under head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Those 26 wins tie him for fourth all-time with Steve Sampson (26-22-14 from 1995-98).
  • Landon Donovan made his 40th appearance in World Cup Qualifying and played his 154th career game overall. He is the USA’s all-time record holder in World Cup Qualifying games and is now 10 overall appearances behind record holder Cobi Jones (164 games).
  • Striker Aron Johannsson made his first start and earned his third cap. He was paired up front alongside Jozy Altidore in a 4-4-2 formation. Johannsson’s change of association from Iceland to the U.S. was approved earlier this year. The 22-year-old who was born in Mobile, Ala. made his U.S. MNT debut on Aug. 14 during the USA’s come-from-behind 4-3 victory at Bosnia-Herzegovina.
  • Left back DaMarcus Beasley tied Claudio Reyna for fifth on the all-time caps list by playing in his 112th game. Beasley leads this year’s team with 15 starts, and he is tied for the team lead with Eddie Johnson with 15 appearances.
  • Tim Howard and Geoff Cameron made their 13th appearances in this World Cup Qualifying cycle, trailing only Clint Dempsey (14 games, 14 starts). Howard has started in 13 of the 15 World Cup Qualifying matches.
  • Midfielder Mix Diskerud made his first start in World Cup Qualifying and his second appearance in qualifying overall.
  • The U.S. MNT moved to 15-3-2 on the year. The 15 victories are a record for a calendar year, topping the previous mark of 13 wins in 2005 and 2009.
  • The U.S. won its 12th straight home game, a record streak that began with a 4-3 victory against Germany on June 2 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The USA’s previous record was 10 straight wins from June 15, 2008, to July 11, 2009.
  • The USA is now 13-1-8 all-time against Jamaica, which includes a 5-1-6 record in World Cup Qualifying.
  • Jamaica has now officially been eliminated from the FIFA World Cup Qualifying contention. Jamaica entered the game against the U.S. still mathematically in the running for a fourth-place playoff spot to face Oceania region winner New Zealand.
  • Before the game, former U.S. Men’s National Team forwards Joe-Max Moore and Peter Vermes were inducted to the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Also during Induction 2013, presented by Eurosport, George Vecsey of the New York Times was honored as the 2013 Colin Jose Media Award recipient.

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

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Jamaica
Date: Oct. 11, 2013
Competition: 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying – Final Round
Venue: Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.
Kickoff: 5:30 p.m. CT
Attendance: 18,467
Weather: 72 degrees, cloudy

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

USA – Graham Zusi (Alejandro Bedoya)  77th minute
USA – Jozy Altidore (Edgar Castillo)       81

USA: 1-Tim Howard (capt.); 6-Brad Evans, 20-Geoff Cameron, 5-Matt Besler, 7-DaMarcus Beasley (2-Edgar Castillo, 66); 11-Alejandro Bedoya, 8-Mix Diskerud, 13-Jermaine Jones, 10-Landon Donovan (19-Graham Zusi, 46); 9-Aron Johannsson (16-Sacha Kljestan, 72), 17-Jozy Altidore
Substitutions Not Used: 3-Michael Orozco, 12-Brad Guzan, 14-Terrence Boyd, 23-Kyle Beckerman
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

JAM: 1-DuWayne Kerr; 12-Demar Phillips, 19-Adrian Mariappa, 7-Westley Morgan, 3-Lloyd Doyley; 11-Darren Mattocks , 17-Rodolph Austin (capt.), 15-Je-Vaughn Watson (14-Theo Robinson, 73), 22-Deshorn Brown; 10-Joel McAnuff, 9-Ryan Johnson (21-Jermain Anderson, 85)
Substitutions Not Used: 2- Daniel Gordon, 4-Marvin Ellitott, 5-Alvas Powell, 6-Romario Campbell, 8-Jermaine Johnson, 13-Richard McCallum, 16-Jermaine Taylor, 18-Shaun Cummings, 20-Kemar Lawrence, 23-Gariece McPherson
Head coach: Winfried Schaefer

Stats Summary: USA / JAM
Shots: 14 / 9
Shots on Goal: 5 / 5
Saves: 5 / 3
Corner Kicks: 3 / 2
Fouls: 14 / 15
Offside: 3 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Sacha Kljestan (caution)       90+1st minute
JAM – Jermain Anderson (caution)  90+2

Referee: Elmer Bonilla (SLV)
Assistant Referee 1: Hermenerito Leal (GUA)
Assistant Referee 2: Ronaldo De La Cruz (GUA)
Fourth Official: Sandy Vasquez (DOM)

Budweiser Man of the Match: Graham Zusi