COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Striker Herculez Gomez converted a free kick in the 55th minute to boost the United States to 1-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Jamaica on Tuesday night.
The win lifted the Americans (2-1-1, seven points) into the CONCACAF Group A lead with Guatemala (2-1-1). Third-place Jamaica (2-1-1) trails by goal difference.
Earlier in the evening, the Guatemalans recorded a 1-0 triumph at last place Antigua and Barbuda (0-3-1, one).
Gomez told ESPN2 that the U.S. had to regroup after its 2-1 loss at Jamaica on Friday.
"It wasn't our best performance," he said. "We had to set forth and fly today. It wasn't always pretty, but I think we did it very well."
After the hosts dominated the first half, Gomez broke the ice with a goal off a free kick 10 minutes into the second half.
Rodolph Austin, one of Jamaica's heroes in its win on Friday, committed an ill-advised foul on Clint Dempsey some 28 meters out. Gomez then curled a right-footed shot toward the upper right corner. Goalkeeper Dwayne Miller got a hand on the ball, but deflected it into the net for Gomez's fifth international goal and second in this qualifying campaign.
"That's my distance," Gomez told ESPN2. "I feel comfortable on the ball on free kicks. Thankfully, coach had confidence in me and so did my teammates. I struck it and it went in. So I'm fortunate it happened."
In response to the Friday night defeat, U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann made five changes to his starting lineup,
He brought in defenders Carlos Bocanegra and Steve Cherundolo and Fabian Johnson and midfielders Grahame Zusi and Jose Torres and sat down defenders Clarence Goodson, serving a yellow-card suspension, Michael Parkhurst and midfielders Maurice Edu and Kyle Beckerman and forward Jozy Altidore.
The Americans did everything but score in the opening 45 minutes. They enjoyed an almost 80 percentage advantage as Miller made several key stops and was aided by the woodwork as well.
The Reggae Boyz were content on playing for a scoreless draw as they had as many as all 11 players behind the ball.
Six minutes into the match, Zusi, off a Steve Cherundolo pass, ripped a shot from the right side off the crossbar. Miller was up to the task in the 20th minute, as he deflected Cherundolo's cross off the right post.
Midfielder Jermaine Jones fired a shot from distance in the 30th minute that bounded off the left post.
The Jamaicans did not threatened many times. They took their first corner kick in the 28th minute, it was cleared by the defense.
Austin tried for the equalizer in the 81st minute but U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard saved his attempt.
The U.S. will complete the semifinal round at Antigua on Oct. 12 before hosting Guatemala at home on Oct. 16.The Reggae Boyz will visit Guatemala on Oct. 12 and host Antigua four days later.