U.S. MNT Falls to First-Place Jamaica 2-1 in Group A World Cup Qualifier in Kingston

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.

Additional Notes:

-- 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
Attendance: 24,000
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

Misconduct Summary:
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