DAVID SMITH - Tuesday, September 11, 2012
The United States will try to shake off the woes of Friday's shock defeat in Jamaica when they once again face off against the Raggae Boys on Tuesday evening in Columbus, Ohio.
Barely one minute into Friday's third-round game of World Cup 2014 qualification, the United States looked to have put themselves into the driver's seat when Clint Dempsey gave the team the lead with a short-range strike.
The evening quickly devolved into an agonizing debacle, as the heavily defensive-minded American lineup was unable to muster any creativity for the next 89 minutes, and were ultimately done in by a pair of Jamaican set pieces in the 2-1 loss.
While the result sent waves of horror around both American fans and media as the team's ability to qualify for 2014's big show in Brazil was questioned, the team can still stop the bleeding should they score a convincing win in Columbus.
They are currently tied with Guatemala for second place in Group A, both teams trailing Jamaica by three points, and could feasibly propel into the lead while regaining the confidence of skeptical fans with a victory.
After starting a trio of defensive midfielders on Friday evening, head coach Jürgen Klinsmann will likely be forced to opt for a more attacking lineup on the team's home soil, which could mean the inclusion of engine Jose Torres in the starting eleven.
In addition to the continue absences of mainstays Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley due to injuries, center back Clarence Goodson, who started on Friday, will also be forced to be a spectator after he picked up his second yellow card.
This will put US captain Carlos Bocanegra back into the heart of the defense alongside Geoff Cameron, which could also see a further shift should Steve Cherundolo be selected in favor of Michael Parkhurst at right back.
Jamaica, who did conspire to earn a draw during their last visit to Columbus in 2006 World Cup qualification, can all but wrap up their spot in the next round of qualification should they score an unlikely win.
They should have the same squad of players available as suited up on Friday, although Jevaughn Watson and Jason Morrison will be mindful of avoiding a second yellow card which would keep them out of next month's trip to Guatemala.