• Friday Jun 07, 2013

    U.S. tops Jamaica on late Evans goal

    KINGSTON, Jamaica -- After conceding an 89th minute equalizer, the United States pulled out a 2-1 victory over Jamaica on Brad Evans' stoppage-time goal in a World Cup qualifier on Friday night.

    The U.S. earned its first-ever qualifying win ever at the National Stadium as the visitors snapped a four-game winless (three draws and a loss) streak in Jamaica.

    The result made for a three-way tie in points atop the standings among Costa Rica (2-1-1, 7 points), the United States (2-1-1) and Mexico (1-4-0). The Ticos hold the top spot, though, due to superior goal differential (+2) over the Americans (+1) and El Tri (+1).

    The defeat was a devastating one for the winless Reggae Boyz (0-2-3, 2 points), who fell further behind the pack in their quest to clinch a World Cup berth in Brazil next year.

    The U.S. took a slight advantage into the waning minutes on the strength of Jozy Altidore's first-half goal. Jermaine Beckford, however, scored in the 89th minute off a Rodolph Austin feed into the penalty area before he knocked the ball into the lower corner.

    Instead of brooding over a lost opportunity, the Americans connected for the game-winner two minutes into stoppage time. A short corner kick came to midfielder Michael Bradley. The Roma midfielder cut the ball inside to Evans, who fired a shot into the far right corner.

    In the early going, the Americans enjoyed the majority of the possession, while the Reggae Boyz were looking to counterattack.

    Jurgen Klinsmann's side came close to scoring the first goal of the match, when Bradley latched into a Graham Zusi cross and volleyed a shot from 15 yards off the left post in the second minute.

    Jamaica goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, wearing the captain's armband, had right-shoulder issues after diving for a ball. He was down on the pitch for a while, but continued playing.

    The visitors finally broke through in the 30th minute. Jozy Altidore headed home a Zusi cross for the second consecutive game. The AZ Alkmaar forward has now tallied in two successive international matches for the first time in more than four years or since March 28 and April 1, 2009.

    Austin had the Jamaicans' first two shots — in the eighth and 32nd minutes — but knocked both over the net.

    In the 39th minute, Ryan Johnson played a one-two with Austin, who fired a shot off the post.

    Four minutes into the second half, someone other than Austin finally took a shot for the host as Garath McCleary delivered an effort that missed the post by a couple of yards.

    Zusi and Altidore tried to team up for another goal in the 53rd minute, but the ball was headed away by a Jamaican player. On the ensuing corner kick, Altidore hooked a try on goal that Ricketts and a defender managed to clear away.

    Jamaica's Jermaine Hue tried for the equalizer in the 64th minute, however, U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard made the save.

    Seven minutes later, Clint Dempsey tried to give the Americans some breathing room with a header that traveled over the crossbar.

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