The U.S. Men’s National Team earned its first World Cup Qualifying victory in Jamaica in dramatic fashion, giving up an equalizer in the 89th minute before defender Brad Evans scored his first National Team goal with a slick finish in extra time for a 2-1 win against the Reggae Boyz at National Stadium.
U.S. forward Jozy Altidore tallied the first goal in the 30th minute, powering home a header off a Graham Zusi cross from the right wing. The first half strike seemed like it would be enough for the victory until Jermaine Beckford darted free behind the USA’s restraining line to head home an 89 th-minute free kick from six yards out.
With four minutes of stoppage time added, the Americans went for the win. The goal originated from a corner kick after Jamaica goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts’ sprawling dive could not keep a headed back pass from rolling over the end line.
From the left side, Michael Bradley played the corner short to Zusi and then received the ball back. Bradley beat Alvas Powell with a quick move, sweeping the ball toward the end line just outside the penalty area before rolling a short cross to the unmarked Evans, who had his back to the goal.
The USA’s unlikely hero collected, spun toward the net and while falling backwards struck a right-footed shot from a few yards outside the left corner of the six-yard box into the far post side-netting. It seemed as if the ball took a slight deflection off Daniel Gordon, which left Ricketts without a chance and the stunned Jamaicans did not have an answer for the remainder of stoppage time.
U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann started the same 11 players he sent out against Germany in a 4-3 victory on June 2 during the Centennial Celebration match in Washington, D.C., and the critical three points earned on the road put the USA into second place in the Hexagonal with two home World Cup Qualifying matches to come during the next 11 days.
The U.S. next faces Panama at CenturyLink Field in Seattle on June 11 (6:30 p.m. PT on ESPN, WatchESPN and UniMas) and then Honduras in Sandy, Utah, on June 18 (7 p.m. MT on ESPN, WatchESPN and UniMas).
The USA broke through in the first half with a nice piece of flank dribbling from Zusi, who beat O’Brian Woodbine with a nifty move before sending a perfect service into the middle for Altidore. The forward knifed between two defenders and pounded his six-yard header past a stranded Ricketts.
It was Altidore’s second goal in as many games and his seventh-career goal in World Cup qualifying. Altidore was also the beneficiary of a superb cross from Zusi on the first goal of the USA’s 4-3 victory against Germany on June 2.
In the 56th minute, Jermaine Jones, who was performing his usual workingman tasks in the central midfield, took a knock to the head in a collision with Daniel Gordon as both battled for a cross. Jones left the game and was replaced by Geoff Cameron, who helped the USA battle out the final 30-plus minutes.