HERCULEZ SAVES THE DAY FOR THE USA
RECAPS
EXTRA TIME
BRIAN SCIARETTA - Wednesday, September 12, 2012
1
United States vs Jamaica
World Cup Qualifying - Tuesday September 11, 2012
Columbus Crew Stadium
0
On a night when the U.S national team needed three points, it marched into an electric Columbus Crew Stadium on September 11 and walked away with an intense 1-0 win over Jamaica.

Just four days ago, the U.S team put in a terrible performance in a 2-1 loss to Jamaica on Kingston. Their midfield was a mess and the team generally looked void of ideas on how to create chances.

To address this problem, Klinsmann changed the formation from a 4-3-3 to a 4-1-3-2. To make room, he dropped Maurice Edu and Kyle Beckerman from the starting lineups who were both ineffective in Friday's loss. He also removed Jozy Altidore to make room for another midfielder.

In their place, he started Danny Williams in his natural position of central defensive midfield. He also added Graham Zusi and Jose Torres to the midfield along with Jermaine Jones. In the backline, Steve Cherundolo returned after missing Friday's game with a quad injury. The team also welcomed back captain Carlos Bocanegra in central defense.

From the opening whistle, the US team dominated the game. They pressed forward both in the middle and on the flanks with aggressive play from fullbacks Fabian Johnson and Steve Cherundolo.

In the 6th minute, the U.S nearly sent the Columbus crowd into euphoria when Zusi, who enjoyed a strong performance, combined well with Cherundolo and was open inside the box. Zusi struck it well but it slammed off the cross bar and out for a goal kick.

The U.S team's unrelenting attack kept up and in the 12th minute, the team should have been rewarded with a penalty when Herculez Gomez was brought down in the box. The players appealed for a penalty but referee Jose Pineda whistled play on.

Two minutes later, Jermaine Jones hit a header just wide. In the 21st minute a deflected shot from Cherundolo was tipped off the bar by Jamaican keeper Dwayne Miller. Then again in the 30th minute, an inspired Danny Williams fired a laser from 30 meters that appeared to be going it but it the post instead.

At the end of the half, the U.S. had hit three posts and was denied a legitimate penalty but was forced to head to the locker room deadlocked in a scoreless draw.

"The team did really well, especially what you saw for the first 30 minutes was outstanding," said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. "The only thing that was missing was scoring goals. Posts unfortunately don't count. We said at halftime, 'We've got to keep pushing, we've got to force it, at moments you've got to force your luck'"

In the second half, the U.S finally broke the deadlock. In the 54th minute, the US as awarded a free kick from 28 yards out. Gomez elected to take it and he fired a shot that should have been saved by Jamaica's Dwayne Miller but it instead found the back.

Columbus Crew stadium shook in reaction to Gomez's goal and it was an emotional moment for the US team that has struggled to find goals in Klinsmann's 13 month tenure.

The goal took luck but after dominant play, the lead was deserved.

After the goal, the Americans became more conservative and the Jamaica began to apply pressure.

In the end the US team was able to absorb the pressure and walk away with three valuable points.

"We've all played in these types of games before," Cherundolo said. "You can't get frustrated. You have to be patient."

Three points was not the only thing that the U.S team acquired on Tuesday night. Klinsmann also learned a great deal about his player pool.

Graham Zusi enjoyed a stellar performance in midfield in his first performance for the US in a big game. Also Danny Williams was finally given the chance to play in his natural central defensive midfield position and he enjoyed the transition.

"I said I will play wherever the coach wants me to play but I had a couple of talks with the coaches and assistant coaches and I said I think I can help the team the most when I play in this position because I'm used to playing this position," Williams said. "I grew up there in the midfield, and I think the people who saw me today saw why I feel so comfortable in this situation."

"I think when a player doesn't feel comfortable in a position you can see it," the Hoffenheim midfielder added. "When I feel comfortable on the pitch, in my position, then the people can also see it and I can help the team."

For Klinsmann, he knows there is a lot of work to do but he is very happy that the team is in a strong position to qualify for the Hex next mont.

"We are back on track," Jurgen Klinsmann said. "We know it's not done yet. It was obviously very important after that frustrating loss Friday night in Kingston to come back and get back in pole position. We wasted points in Jamaica. It was really important that they get serious and down to business tonight, and they responded well."
4bc
Wednesday September 12, 2012 11:00 pm
@ Alex... Dempsey is wasted on this team if he's not up top poaching. Donovan's game has transitioned. He's a guy we need creating and tracking down balls in the midfield. He's just not the same up top attacking player making slashing runs with a nose for goal these days (counted his shots on goal over the last 2 years?). He's far better at making short midfield bursts, then turning to pick out Dempsey on a dime up top or Bradley running in on a 30-yard blast. I just don't think he's the guy battling for headers in the box or scrapping to poach ugly sitters like our game requires.

Really, I thought last night's play wasn't at all bad. Plenty of guys stepped up and we looked far more together. We hit the bunker after the Gomez goal and I think that could be perceived as a slow-down in our play instead of a conservative tactic to hunker down and take the 3 points. And don't forget how many times we rattled the post. 3-4 inches (and a lesser keeper) on some of those shots and it's a 4-0 blowout. Even without the goals, the fact that we were creating so many opportunities speaks volumes. We were dangerous in the box, outside the box, and from the wings equally. That's something I haven't seen in a while and it had Jamaica on the ropes for the entire game.
Tommy
Wednesday September 12, 2012 10:13 pm
I see the US lining up essentially as they did yesterday. Johnson is not at his best as a midfielder. He's more comfortable running at people than playing with his back to goal. Torres deserves to stay at left midfield. Donovan is better suited for the wide midfield role on the right, but Zusi did a lot to prove he deserves another shot as well. Depending upon where he plays for Spurs, Dempsey may be better off up top. Assuming he's healthy, I believe Bradley takes the more advanced role Jones played last night. I do believe Chandler will be back. Germany is just not going to call him up. Dolo's current form makes Chandler less necessary, but Dolo will continue to get injured because of his age and the fact that he plays all the time for Hanover. Chandler could be the USMNT starter by 2014.
braun
Wednesday September 12, 2012 4:49 pm
Agree with Alex on roster totally.
JK must be leaning towards Gomez as the lone forward.
Fabian definitely at LM instead of Shea.
Dempsey, in form, as a midfielder.
Without Chandler, Lichaj seems the replacement at LB with Fabian shifting to LM.
Pdemelo
Wednesday September 12, 2012 4:05 pm
@Alex, I completely agree with you. What a different game it became, once Jamaica started to play. US seemed to fall apart once Jamaica go out of their defence, and this is the US team that want to go toe to toe with the big boys of Brazil, Germany, etc...really, they can't handle the pressure from Guatemala or Jamaica. Had Jamaica come to play and to win, from the look of it they most likely would have broken yet another record, beating the US on our home ground. I know it sounds harsh, the US completely dominated for 60 minutes, great passes, great plays, unlucky not to score more, but this was only due to Jamaica sitting back. What concerns me, worries me, is how the US, after scoring one single goal, took their foot off the accelarator and could barely handle Jamaica once on the attack, it's not like they were playing Brazil, maybe it's the color of the shirt that creates fear, who knows. The US has talented players, not sure why they can't seem to dominate these lesser teams, something is missing...
Alex
Wednesday September 12, 2012 3:07 pm
Come next month's qualifiers I am going to scream if JK puts forth a lineup that is significantly different from this:

Donovan, Gomez
Johnson, Bradley, Williams (as a holding MF!!!), Dempsey
Lichaj, Boca, Cameron, Dolo.

I could care less whether it is a 4-4-2, 4-1-3-2, 4-3-3, 3-5-1, 3-2-3-2 or whatever but those guys need to be in the game.
Alex
Wednesday September 12, 2012 3:02 pm
I think karma was on our side because Jamaica was deservedly punished for playing such a cowardly defensive game for the first 60 minutes. In retrospect we were lucky to have taken so long to score because once the Jamaicans were forced out of their shell and played they looked like the better side. Had we went up 1-0 early in the game like in Kingston we would have all had to hold our breath much longer.
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