USA vs. Jamaica: Live Commentary

Jones vindicated this evening?

The very-near-must-win in Columbus is about to down.

Crew Stadium should be a shaking. Will Frankie Hedjuk be pounding beers?

Line-ups shortly. Enjoy.

82 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by matthewsf on 2012/09/11 at 2:00 PM

    Starting this thread early as Jamaica has announced their line-up already:

    Jamaica Line-up 4-3-3: Miller; Nosworthy, Mariappa, Palmer, Jerm. Taylor — Austin, Morrison, Je-V Watson; – Shelton, Bryan, Cummings.

    Jamaica’s typical 4-3-3 line-up. The’ll hunger and likely try to spring Cummings and Shelton off Bryan.


  2. Posted by Crow on 2012/09/11 at 2:16 PM

    One of my favorite soccer memories-

    In February 2009 I drove 7 hrs by myself to Columbus for my first USMNT game since I was 14 during the 2000 Olympic qualifiers. I met up with American Outlaws for the first time. We stood in line in hail (literally) and a horrible thunderstorm. The wind started up and the wind chill went into the 20’s. Participated in my first epic supporter section. Bradley’s brace blew the roof off to make the score the desired Dos A Cero. Frankie Hejduk runs over to our mob after the game and the guy BESIDE me gets his jersey! So close!! Hejduk is definitely one of my favorites.

    Two guys from Purdue University I met there were locked out of their car (I wonder if they ever got out of that parking lot). I hear Rivers Cuomo was in attendance- I wonder if anyone can confirm that.

    Ahhhh… wish I could be in Columbus tonight.


    • Crow, I didn’t go 7 hours but I did go 3 by myself. It got pretty nuts in the temporary seating. We couldn’t compete with the AOs on the other end of the field but we got pretty loud all the same.


  3. Posted by ezbills7 on 2012/09/11 at 2:38 PM

    Long-time lurker, first-time poster here. I enjoy the commentary and comments a lot.

    I”m a stats nerd and figured some people might be interested in the true “must win” nature of tonight’s game in terms of moving on to the hexagonal. As I’ve figured it, 11 points is the magic number. Any team from the group that reaches 11 points will advance, no help from other teams needed, no worries about goal differential (it’s impossible for 3 teams to end with 11+ points at this point).

    For either the U.S. or Guatemala, that means 2 wins and a draw is sufficient with no need to get help from other teams, while Jamaica needs a win and a draw to advance. This also means that a U.S. loss tonight could potentially mean that they no longer control their own destiny with two games to play.

    The real grey area is finishing with 9 or 10 points. 9 points for the U.S. (a win and 2 draws) would leave their fate in the hands of Guatemala, who could still finish with double digit points along with Jamaica. 10 points would put any team in high likelihood, but not guaranteed, territory, as there are multiple scenarios where three teams finish with 10+ points (meaning a team with 10 points will still be out). As such, two wins for the U.S. or Guatemala, or one win for Jamaica, is good but not enough for those teams to advance without either one additional point or specific helpful results. (For example, if the U.S. won tonight, lost to Guatemala, and then Jamaica and Guatemala draw, and those three teams all beat A&B, the U.S. would be out with 10 points in third place.)

    For all intents and purposes 7 or 8 points won’t cut it. It’s mathematically possible in various scenarios, but realistically that would involve something like Jamaica running the table or A&B defeating the U.S. In other words, a win, draw, and loss for the U.S. in the remaining three games would likely mean no hexagonal unless the right set of circumstances allowed them to still finish ahead of Guatemala.

    Bottom Line: The U.S. needs 10 total points in the group to feel comfortable about advancing, but preferably 11 points which would guarantee a spot. This means that 2 wins in the final 3 games is a must.

    A win tonight puts the U.S. in great position, needing at most 4 points in their final two games, quite possibly less than 4, to advance. A draw tonight still leaves the U.S.’s fate completely in their own hands, albeit with considerably less margin for error. A loss tonight means two actual ”must win” games coming up plus some help would be needed (particularly via goal differential and/or Guatemala dropping points to A&B or Jamaica), and any further loss of points would put them in great jeopardy of not moving on.


    • Thanks for that, excellent summarization. Double points for being a Bills fan, too.


      • Posted by ezbills7 on 2012/09/11 at 3:07 PM

        Ha, thanks. After Sunday’s debacle for the Bills, I’m looking to the Yanks to restore my faith in humanity. Of course WC qualification is important, but a win tonight will also help to even the trash talk with a friend from my rec league soccer team who is Jamaican. 🙂


    • Posted by mbw on 2012/09/11 at 3:13 PM

      Might be worth noting also that, depending on how heavily one weights home field advantage, the game at Antigua isn’t a gimme. According to the statistical model that’s floating around Twitter (93% chance of qualifying if they win, 56% if they lose and all that), the expected goal difference for that game is actually less than the two home games. Plus common sense says it’s never a good idea to need a win on the road in CONCACAF. In short, big game tonight.


      • Good points, Antigua did draw with Jamaica after all. Not only are tonight’s points big for the U.S., but a win would keep Jamaica at 7 points and keep both top spots up for grabs.


  4. Posted by Eric on 2012/09/11 at 4:18 PM

    US Line up is in:


    Anyone else shocked that it’s Torres on the left and not Shea?


    • Posted by dude on 2012/09/11 at 4:20 PM

      No width again. CRAP. And don’t tell me Zusi and Torres are wingers.


      • Posted by Justin on 2012/09/11 at 4:37 PM

        I’d venture a guess you’ll see more freedom for Johnson and Dolo to get forward and provide width, Jamaican speed/countering ability be damned. We need three points, we are at home, we have no true wings on the team save perhaps Brek (I guarantee you’ll see in the second half if we need a goal), and tucking Zusi and Torres in to help possess in midfield will be necessary given the problems in that department we had in Kingston.


    • Posted by Union on 2012/09/11 at 4:27 PM

      Me. Is Beckerman Jurgen’s Bornstein or is it Torres?

      Whatever. The only thing I’ll say, before we go into this game (a game I’m somewhat optimistic about given what is at stake and how the US traditionally responds in these games), is that I’m very wary of a squad that is putting its WC hopes on the back of Graham Zusi and Torres as starting MFers.


      • Posted by twewlife on 2012/09/11 at 4:39 PM

        The strangest thing to me about the torres start is the positioning. I really don’t understand why Klinsman is still insisting on putting him on the wing. Unless I’m missing something, it makes more sense to have torres start on the top of the midfield diamond, with williams on the left…


        • Posted by Jason on 2012/09/11 at 5:03 PM

          Williams is a central player too, and IMO has not looked very impressive on the outside. I don’t get the Torres thing either, but Deuce or Shea (or even Johnson) makes the most sense on the left and I think Shea was left out to allow Johnson room to work the flank while Torres cut in… so actually it MIGHT make sense. Or I’m trying too hard to rationalize


    • Posted by Rafael on 2012/09/11 at 4:40 PM

      I would have started Shea on the left and put Torres in place of Jones.


    • Posted by Jason on 2012/09/11 at 4:51 PM

      US Soccer calls it a 4-1-3-2 with Danny Williams behind Torres, Jones, Zusi. I like Zusi for his service and I’m excited to see Williams finally(!) in the middle of the pitch (however i don’t know what his speed is like, Edu wouldn’t have been a bad choice for this spot). As long as Johnson and Dolo can actually contribute to the attack width shouldn’t “necessarily” be a problem.


  5. Have to think this shakes-out as a 4-1-3-2. Wing play of Johnson and Cherundolo is going to be key tonight.


    • Posted by mbw on 2012/09/11 at 4:49 PM

      Bingo. In theory, I like it. But it does put a lot of faith in Torres, Zusi, and Williams — two guys who’ve never played a meaningful international match and one guy who’s never played well in a meaningful international match.


      • Posted by mbw on 2012/09/11 at 4:54 PM

        My only other concern/problem is, I like Altidore better for this lineup (because his passing game accents Dempsey’s off-the-ball movement). Will be pleasantly surprised if I’m wrong.


  6. Shea in Torres’ position makes way more sense (or Edu as CDM and Williams in Torres spot). Hoping Torres proves us wrong.

    This is a mighty big test for the entire midfield. A ton is riding on Jones and Williams staying tactically sound and positionally aware.


  7. I think the lineup may be more closely deployed like this, but we will see:







    • Posted by dude on 2012/09/11 at 4:53 PM

      Jones as the artist who slips in passes and doesn’t act like a feral dog? How could this go wrong…


  8. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2012/09/11 at 5:02 PM

    Seeing Hedjuk revving up the fans, is pure class.


  9. Posted by Nelson on 2012/09/11 at 5:03 PM

    Let’s Go!!!


  10. Posted by Crow on 2012/09/11 at 5:04 PM

    WTF ESPN3 is “blacked out in my area” how the hell am i supposed to watch the game?


    • Posted by Ufficio on 2012/09/11 at 5:05 PM

      Yeah, I had the same unpleasant surprise.


      • Posted by Crow on 2012/09/11 at 5:07 PM

        ESPN is an absolute joke. Are there any streams?


        • Posted by Ufficio on 2012/09/11 at 5:09 PM

          Having a rough time getting a working stream at the moment.


          • Posted by Crow on 2012/09/11 at 5:10 PM

            im desperately looking to please keep me updated


            • Posted by Crow on 2012/09/11 at 5:11 PM

              i got a crappy one first one when i googled usa jamaica september 11 stream

            • Posted by Ufficio on 2012/09/11 at 5:24 PM

              The same search didn’t give me a stream. Can you help me out with a URL? I’ve got nothing.

            • Posted by Ufficio on 2012/09/11 at 5:38 PM

              Well, shit. I expected to have a free legal HD stream, and I can’t find anything that will play for more than five seconds.

            • firstrowsports dot eu

            • Posted by Crow on 2012/09/11 at 7:25 PM

              sorry i didn’t see your message- the stream i had actually crashed my computer around the 28′ minute- the stream was stuttering every 30 secs anyway. I work with desktop support and I was concerned as my computer is really screwed up. Thankfully I remembered (too late almost) that my cell phone has “Sprint TV” which has mobile ESPN which showed the game.

              I am absolutely disgusted with ESPN- what is the point of ESPN3 anyway? How is it “blacked out”? Its not a regional broadcast and the game was sold out. I wish at the least they would have given a warning and I could have gone to a sports bar. Sorry, but I refuse to pay $100/month anymore for a few soccer channels I want. I’m paying for the Fox Soccer online package and other sports I want (MLB TV). Its companies like ESPN and cable/satellite providers that ruin everything with their greed. If I could pay for channels a la carte like you can in alot of other places in the world I would have TV.

              I’m ready for ESPN to me done with soccer entirely- give it to FOX, NBC Sports or someone who cares. Just go back to 24 hrs of LeBron James worship. And please no more garbage soccer articles from the clowns Leander, David Hirshey, and Scoop Jackson. (I guess its my fault for reading them)

    • Posted by Spiritof76 on 2012/09/11 at 6:25 PM

      had the same problem w/ ESPN3 at first but its working fine now. you might try again?


      • Posted by Crow on 2012/09/11 at 7:27 PM

        it didn’t work at all for me although I stopped trying shortly after the game started.


  11. Posted by Ufficio on 2012/09/11 at 5:04 PM

    Guatemala up 1-0 on A and B at the half. No help there.


  12. Posted by dth on 2012/09/11 at 5:06 PM

    Zusi’s kind of a Steven Gerrard lite. He’s played out at the wing, if only because it’s kind of hard to figure out where to put him (in the center of the park, he makes Gerrard look like Xavi in terms of patience.)


  13. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2012/09/11 at 5:08 PM

    The Geico caveman is singing your anthem!


  14. Posted by Nelson on 2012/09/11 at 5:10 PM

    solid job on the national anthem. would be cool to hear a quartet or a choir do it as that’s sounds better in general. but that guy did pretty damn well solo.


  15. Posted by dth on 2012/09/11 at 5:17 PM

    That moment’s hesitation on Torres’ part is why his continued inclusion in the US lineup is such a mystery. He’s always done this, and he’ll always do it until he moves leagues. Until then, he shouldn’t be on the team.


  16. Posted by Nelson on 2012/09/11 at 5:20 PM

    Let’s go Graham!


  17. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2012/09/11 at 5:37 PM

    Has Howard touched the ball yet? I want his unused gloves!


  18. Posted by Nelson on 2012/09/11 at 5:47 PM

    the right back kept Gomez onside. bad call ref


  19. So some of my prior intuitions have come to fruition here, as I got Zusi right and D-Will in the holding role where he has looked good. Don’t understand Torres on the other wing aside from giving US ball control and allowing Fabian to play up the wing, almost looking like a 3-5-1-1 at times. I would like this to be Jones’ last appearance as well—giving me elevated heart rate on both sides of the ball.


  20. Posted by twewlife on 2012/09/11 at 6:15 PM

    Thoughts on the first half:

    1. I really haven’t seen anything from Torres. As a result, much of buildup play has gone through the right side. That being said, Dolo’s had a good game so far.

    2. For all the possession, we haven’t generated that many good chances. Aside from the one Gomez try that resulted in an excellent save, our only other real opportunity has come from a Zusi cannon and a similar go by Williams. Both were more the result of individual play, rather than concerted movement through the final third. For the amount of possession we had, around 75%, that’s really not that great. We need to do more around the box to build potential scoring. I’d like to say Shea in within the 60 minute mark. His ability to take defender’s on 1v1 should open up some space…

    3. Where can I get a silk screen t with the Dempsey face?


  21. Posted by Spiritof76 on 2012/09/11 at 6:28 PM



  22. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2012/09/11 at 6:28 PM

    Not only would I have saved that, I would have caught it. Another needless freekick conceded.


  23. Posted by Jared on 2012/09/11 at 6:29 PM

    Finally. US has deserved this.

    I’ve been impressed by Williams a lot. Edu/Beckerman need to stay on the bench while he plays.


  24. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2012/09/11 at 6:32 PM

    Shea for Torres at 65′?


  25. Posted by Spiritof76 on 2012/09/11 at 6:37 PM

    Shelton->Bryan for Jamaica
    Shea->Torres for US


  26. Posted by union on 2012/09/11 at 6:45 PM

    I’ll never understand why the US turns into a CONCACAF B team every time they get a lead in an important competition. PRESS THE F’ING GAS!


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2012/09/11 at 6:50 PM

      Taking care of the ball is more important than pressing for a second. Keep it tight and don’t take risks. Not saying to sit back and absorb though.


      • Posted by Cornelius on 2012/09/11 at 7:23 PM

        If they had kept possession of the ball, that would have been one thing. But they neither pressed for a 2nd, nor kept possession. I agree with comments below: the subs down the stretch did not help.


    • Posted by Jared on 2012/09/11 at 6:51 PM

      I don’t like the subs either. Taking off Zusi and Torres who can keep posssession for guys that give it away is tough. Also why move Williams onto wing when he’s been good in middle?


      • Posted by union on 2012/09/11 at 7:09 PM

        Torres was a HUGE liability defensively. I wasn’t all that impressed with him today to be honest, but I’m not a huge Torres guy to begin with.


        • Posted by Jared on 2012/09/11 at 7:17 PM

          I’m not a big Torres guy either but to replace him with Shea seems odd as the team started to turtle up.


        • Posted by Cornelius on 2012/09/11 at 7:25 PM

          Disagree with him being a defensive liability tonight. Most nights, yes. But actually saw some great pressing and hustle from Torres tonight. More importantly, he was making solid passes that kept possession. USA couldn’t hold possession after he was subbed out.


          • Posted by Nelson on 2012/09/11 at 9:13 PM

            I agree. Torres needs to work on his speed of play on the counter, but he proved tonight he can do more than lateral passing providing some diagonal balls. just needs to work on one-touch stuff.

            How about D Williams though?


  27. Posted by Nelson on 2012/09/11 at 7:09 PM

    HUGE sigh of relief


  28. Didn’t like the moves much either, particularly Zusi. The one good thing going forward however, is that Zusi was able to show well which I think changes the depth chart a bit and will hopefully have Jurgen looking more for width in the starting MF.


  29. Posted by Eric on 2012/09/11 at 7:39 PM

    I’m going to start my thoughts on the game with the following disclaimers:

    1) I’ve had a few drinks during the game.
    2) I do believe the US deserved the win.

    That said, here we go. Overall, the US did okay but I’m still bothered by the lack of a true killer pass at times. They did well to create some of the chances they did but many were longer shots instead of inside the box chances created through good combination play. Again though, the players took what Jamaica gave them and often that was a longer shot. Credit to the US in this regard that they were able to take those shots and make them dangerous, which led Jamaica to have to step up a little quicker and put pressure so that the long range shots weren’t as much of an option, which left open other avenues for attack.

    Also, still not sold on JFT. He’s got passing ability but he always seems to take one more touch than necessary or to hesitate just a half second too long. It’s like watching someone who wants to play like Claudio Reyna but is half a step behind the game.

    Zusi was a good addition and he deserves another look. He moved the ball well and was dangerous when combining with Dolo, Dempsey and Herc. Good work there. Along that note, Danny Williams looks much more comfortable in the center. Granted, it was only one game but I’d like to see him there more again. He has the athleticism to be a rangy defensive mid with possibly better skill and passing ability than Edu.

    Finally, the backline was excellent. Cameron and Boca dominated in the air and helped start possession from the back. Cameron in particular did a good job here. Dolo and Fabian did their jobs by getting up higher on the wings and joining the attack often, leading Williams to simply drop into the back line as another centerback at times meaning that we rarely compromised our defense as we sent both outside backs forward.


  30. The only real negatives from this game were the performances of the subs. Shea, Edu and Altidore offered nothing when they came on. Altidore was especially poor. I believe he gave the ball away a good 4-5 times in the 13 minutes he was on the pitch. Boyd should be ahead of him on the depth chart at this point.

    Torres started slow but picked-up the pace and had some dandy passes, despite playing out of position yet again. Zusi has earned himself a spot on the roster with that performance and Williams should be starting as the holding midfielder from now on. Just great all-around off-the-ball movement by everyone on the pitch.

    My MOTM: Cherundolo. Such a smart player and proved he still has the motor to go the full 90. He and Zusi were immense on the right and complemented each other perfectly.


    • Posted by Eric on 2012/09/11 at 7:53 PM

      I’m not excusing Altidore because I think he could have done better but I would point out that many of the giveaways he had came off him having to try and settle several long balls with his chest. I can remember at least two from Cherundolo alone that Altidore had to try and settle out of the air with his chest while fighting off two defenders.

      Again, not saying he shouldn’t have done better, simply pointing out. Part of this occurred because without Zusi, Williams was pushed wide to make way for Edu. When this happened, Cherundolo lost his main outlet pass and he started playing long balls in the air to Altidore to help relieve pressure as the game wound down.


      • How long are we going to craft excuses for Altidore though? It doesn’t matter whether he’s starting or subbing, he is entirely underwhelming nearly every time he steps on the pitch. For every deft touch he makes, he has 10 boneheaded miscues.

        Gomez rightfully started this game and should continue to do so. And Boyd should be first option off the bench.


        • Posted by Eric on 2012/09/11 at 8:25 PM

          Not trying to make excuses for him and certainly not trying to saying that he deserved the start over Gomez.

          What I’m pointing out is that by the time Jozy entered, the US strategy had changed from attack to trying to hold the lead. That combined with Zusi leaving for Edu, and consequently Williams pushed wide, meant that the US started playing more long balls. I don’t think it would have mattered if it was Gomez, Jozy, or Boyd in there. It would have been tough for any of them to hold off two or three defenders while trying to control some of those long balls in the last five minutes or so.


          • Supposedly that’s what Altidore was in there to do though, maintain possession by bringing down those long passes and holding-up play. Which he’s not proven to be great at doing, especially for someone of his size. I wasn’t expecting him to slot home a goal or even rip off a shot. But a forward that big shouldn’t have as much difficulty with hold-up play as he does.

            And just as an example, the heel-flick pass was nifty but not something he should have been attempting with a few minutes left in that tight of a game. That might be a petty thing to criticize him for, but I think it speaks to larger inconsistencies in his game.


            • Posted by Nelson on 2012/09/11 at 9:10 PM

              I laughed so hard at the heel flick. I’ve seen Agudelo have better holdup play than Jozy tonight. Really looking forward to Boyd progressing at Vienna and proving his potential.

              also, who was it that passed the ball into the middle after the short corner? really?

            • Posted by Jared on 2012/09/12 at 6:32 AM

              It’s pretty amazing how bad Jozy is at holding the ball up. I would definitely prefer Boyd at the end of games if the sub is being made to be an outlet for long balls.

              The Zusi for Edu sub was a terrible one in my opinion. It reshuffled 2 positions by forcing Williams out wide after he had spent the entire game proving that he is much better than Edu in that central midfield role. It also removed a player who had been a good outlet on the wings and done well in possession. Unless it comes out that Zusi was injured it goes as a negative to Klinsmann’s tactical ability (it also goes to a negative in his team selection as he didn’t have enough wide players this entire camp).

  31. Posted by jackson19 on 2012/09/11 at 7:49 PM

    Based on our last couple games, for our next qualifier I like:
    ———–Jozy/Gomez(depending on who is in form, usually I like Jozy better, but Gomez impressed tonight)

    Torres was good, but I definitely thought Zusi was better. Also, Torres is so inconsistant, I’d love to see if Zusi can lock down the other wing spot. I like Jones more than most, but his hot head combined with the fact he’s getting up there in age and Williams’ great performance tonight wins the starting spot for Williams in the near future for me.


    • Posted by Cornelius on 2012/09/11 at 7:58 PM

      I was thinking the same thing. Zusi, Torres, or Shea are all LM options in this setup. Boyd is also an option on very top.

      Any word on whether Bradley and/or Donovan will be back and ready to play in the qualifier?


  32. Posted by Eric on 2012/09/11 at 8:03 PM

    Wow, that was satisfying. That said, I wanted to read the live commentary after I watch the game, but where is it? I don’t see a link?


  33. Posted by jtgualt on 2012/09/11 at 8:54 PM

    Just got home from the game and from a live perspective Zusi looked like the best player on the pitch (other than Dempsey). i was really impressed with his performance.


  34. Posted by KickinNames.. on 2012/09/11 at 9:18 PM

    Tonights players and tactics were pitch perfect IMO. As bad as they were on Friday I think JK got it quite right for the opponent and pitch. Still puzzling as to how he set out on Friday especially with tonights performance.
    Zusi can be a nice Donovan lite out wide and could be one of those nice development players with pace and very good crosses. Torres was a difference maker IMO in just settling possession and tempo early. A few miscues here and there but he could have made a big difference in G1.
    Williams better have displaced Edu at one of the DMF spots. He just looks like he belongs there. Cool in possession and size and strength defending is impressive.
    If Fab J can stay healthy there are big things in store for both club and country.


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