The U.S. Men’s National Team will round out their annual January Camp with a friendly on Feb. 3 against Jamaica in Chattanooga, Tenn. Having met 23 times, the two sides have become well acquainted through the years. The team has found plenty of success against the Caribbean nation, going 13-2-8 all-time.
Here are five of the most memorable matches the USA has played against Jamaica.
Aug. 13, 1988: U.S. Routs Reggae Boyz in 1990 FIFA World Cup Qualifying
Somewhat surprisingly, the U.S. and Jamaica only first met in 1988, when the two nations were pitted in a two-leg series to book a place in the 1989 CONCACAF Championship, then the Final Round of World Cup Qualifying in CONCACAF.
- TICKETS: See USAvJAM on Feb. 3 in Chattanooga
The MNT held Jamaica to a scoreless draw during the first leg on July 24 in Kingston, before returning to St. Louis for the decisive fixture three weeks later. Defender Brian Bliss scored in the 18th minute and the U.S. entered halftime with a 1-0 lead, but Alton Sterling pulled Jamaica level after the break, giving the Reggae Boyz an important away goal in the 54th.
Veteran attacker Hugo Perez, one of the few U.S. players who had previously participated in World Cup Qualifying, earned a penalty and converted to give the MNT a 2-1 lead in the 68th minute.
From there, the U.S. didn’t look back as Frank Klopas buried his first international goal after a scramble in the box in the 76th, followed two minutes later by Paul Krumpe before Klopas closed the scoring in 85th.
The 5-1 win marked the first time the USA scored five goals in a match in 20 years and also tied the MNT’s record margin of victory. More importantly, it propelled the U.S. into the 1989 CONCACAF Championship and on to its first World Cup appearance in 40 years.
Oct. 7, 2001: Joe-Max Moore Leads U.S. to Emotional 2-1 Win, 2002 World Cup Berth
Gaining 13 of a possible 15 points in the first half of the 2001 Hex, the MNT looked well in control of its World Cup destiny before three consecutive losses – 1-0 away to Mexico, 3-2 home against Honduras and 2-0 away to Costa Rica – put their trip to Korea/Japan in doubt with two games left.
The September 11 attacks occurred just days after the Costa Rica defeat, making the MNT’s meeting with Jamaica on Matchday 9 the first contest for a U.S. National Team in any sport since the events of 9/11. Adding another layer, President George W. Bush announced the United States had launched military operations in Afghanistan less than an hour before kickoff, resulting in the match being pre-empted on ABC.
However, the game did go on and the MNT received an early lead from Joe-Max Moore’s diving header just four minutes in. Jamaica pulled level 10 minutes later when James Lawrence’s low blast tucked inside the left post. The U.S. hammered away at the Jamaica back line the rest of the match, with Moore and John O’Brien providing nearly pulling the U.S. back ahead after halftime.
Just as it looked like a goal might not come, a bleach-haired teenager named Landon Donovan showed one of his first moments of brilliance in a U.S. shirt, playing a quick combination with Claudio Reyna before a clever cut back led Jamaica defender Tyrone Marshall to clumsily chop him down in the area and earning a penalty kick.
Moore stepped up to the spot and buried a powerful penalty into the lower right corner, his 24th and final international goal clinching a 2-1 victory for the USA.
Needing two other results to go their way that evening, the U.S. players huddled on the field after the match awaiting the outcomes. A 0-0 draw between Costa Rica and Mexico combined with a shock 1-0 win for Trinidad & Tobago in Honduras meant that the MNT had booked a place in the 2002 FIFA World Cup, but viewers in the U.S. would have to wait until the next day to see it all when the game aired via tape delay on ESPN.
June 19, 2011: Jones Wins Battle of the Jermaines as U.S. Advances to 2011 Gold Cup Semis
Both teams earn quality chances to open the scoring in a back-and-forth first half, but the first goal wouldn’t come until the second stanza. In the 49th minute, Eric Lichaj’s cross from the left was headed away by Jamaica defender Jermaine Taylor. Falling to the feet of Jermaine Jones, the MNT midfielder’s first-time effort deflected back off Taylor and left goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts leaning the wrong way as the ball glanced into the net.
The goal was his first international strike, but Jones wasn’t done yet. In the 67th minute, a pass by Clint Dempsey ricocheted off two Jamaican defenders and fell to Jones in the center circle where he took a good initial touch to get past Taylor with a clear path to goal. In pursuit, Taylor slid and tripped up the midfielder about 40 yards from goal and was sent off for denying a goal scoring opportunity.
Sept. 11, 2012: Herculez Gomez Restores the Road to the 2014 World Cup
Playing Jamaica home and away in the span of four days, the U.S. came into the match on the heels of a disappointing 2-1 defeat in Kingston and returned to Columbus badly needing a result to stay on target in qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The needed goal came 10 minutes into the second half. Following a foul on Dempsey just outside the area, Herculez Gomez stepped up to curl a free kick over the wall and past Jamaica goalkeeper Dwayne Miller inside the right post, leading the U.S. to a crucial 1-0 victory.
June 7, 2013: Brad Evans Gives USA First World Cup Qualifying Win in Kingston
The U.S. returned to Kingston the following year and opened the scoring as Jozy Altidore headed home a Graham Zusi cross on the half-hour mark. Jamaica sought the equalizer for much of the rest of the game, putting the U.S. back line and goalkeeper Tim Howard under siege.
After being held off for nearly an hour, the hosts found the equalizer in the 89th minute when Rodolph Austin’s free kick from the left picked out Jermaine Beckford, who nodded inside the far post.
Brad Evans celebrates his stoppage time strike vs. Jamaica on June 7, 2013 in Kingston (ISI Photos)
Just as it looked like the U.S. would have to settle for a road point, Michael Bradley penetrated on the left before cutting back to Brad Evans in the area. With his back to goal, the Seattle Sounders FC utility man turned on a dime before slotting an effort inside the right post in the second minute of second half stoppage time to deliver the U.S. a 2-1 away win.
The unlikeliest of heroes, the goal was Evans’ only one in a U.S. shirt and gave the MNT its first qualifying victory in Jamaica.