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United States face desperate Jamaica in tonight’s huge World Cup qualifier

Jun 7, 2013, 12:20 PM EDT

Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson, Jozy Altidore AP

The friendlies are over, the time to talk has gone and now the US national team returns to World Cup qualifying.

Tonight in Kingston, Jamaica, the USMNT face the Reggae Boyz (9:30pm ET, beIN Sport) in a crucial clash that could have huge implications for the USA’s chances of qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil next summer.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s side will be full of confidence, following their massive 4-3 friendly win over powerhouse Germany at RFK Stadium last Sunday. But they will want to exorcise some ghosts from Kingston, after losing 2-1 in the previous stage of qualifying back in September 2012.

That defeat showed what Jamaica are capable of, but the Caribbean outfit are without several starters and will be much changed since they defeated the US last year.

Rumors today from Jamaica have the pacy duo of Ryan Johnson and Darren Mattocks (both playing in Major League Soccer, with the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps respectively) starting up top, after Johnson cut a forlorn figure during Jamaica’s crushing 1-0 loss at home to Mexico in World Cup qualifying on Tuesday night.

(MORE: Three things to watch for US national team vs. Jamaica)

Klinsmann’s US side must be on their guard, as the Reggae Boyz know that anything less than a win tonight at the National Stadium, could spell the end for their World Cup hopes.

After the USA’s impressive display against Germany last weekend, Klinsmann is set to remain with the same starting lineup for one of the only times during his tenure with the US national team.

(MORE: U.S. news and notes as team arrives in Jamaica)

Brad Evans is set to remain at right back, with Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley the lynchpins in midfield.

Getting service to the red-hot Jozy Altidore will be key, as the 23-year-old forward is coming off a record goalscoring season in Holland with AZ Alkmaar (31 goals) and teamed up superbly with captain Clint Dempsey during the offensive masterclass against Germany last Sunday in the nations capital.

(MORE: Mexico tops Jamaica – and what it means for the United States)

The US are 11-1-8 all-time against Jamaica. But when the two nations have met in World Cup qualifying, results tend to be pretty even as the US has yet to win on Jamaican soil, with one loss and four draws.

After accumulating four points from their first three games in the Hexagonal tournament so far — a 2-1 loss to Honduras, a 1-0 win over Costa Rica and a 0-0 tie with Mexico — the US national team know a win tonight is crucial if they’re going to make the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.

What they’re saying

Theodore “Tappa” Whitmore, Jamaica’s head coach: “All is not lost, all is not lost. We did it already, and I’m sure we can do it again. We are on a positive vibe, because the last two training sessions have been good. We are confident because we know what we have to do, and that is to get three points … that is very important for us, and so we are looking forward to a good game.”

Donovan Ricketts, Jamaican captain: “Right now everyone is in a desperate position because we are all scrambling for points. But we are at home and you definitely need home games. Hopefully we can come out and play good football. We haven’t won since the [Hex] stage’s start, so hopefully we can get that right.”

Clint Dempsey, US captain : “Things can change quickly. And if you make a mistake you can find yourself on a bad run of form. So we can’t let that happen. We have to hit the ground running.”

Jurgen Klinsmann, US head coach : “We learned back in February that when you only come in two days before to a place where it is 90 degrees and really high humidity, it is simply not possible to adjust. So we will get in a few training sessions and experience what the field will be like, and we will be well prepared for Friday.”

Probable lineups

Jamaica (4-1-3-2): Ricketts; Powell, Mariappa, Woodbine, Gordon; Austin; Hue, McCleary, Watson; Johnson, Mattocks

USA (4-2-3-1): Howard; Evans, Gonzalez, Besler, Beasley; Bradley, Jones; Zusi, Dempsey, F. Johnson; Altidore.

  1. Dan - Jun 7, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    “Jurgen Klinsmann’s side will be full of confidence, following their massive 4-3 friendly win over powerhouse Germany at RFK Stadium last Sunday.”

    Again, I am sorry, that is just errant reporting. The US beat a German side that was without no fewer than ELEVEN first and second teamers. Irrelevant as it was a friendly, but to make the US win out to be anything more than what it truly is continues to be irresponsible.

    Do it in a match that matters.

    • dfstell - Jun 7, 2013 at 1:07 PM

      Yeah….I don’t put much stock in that scoreline either. But, it’s misleading all around. Honestly, I was more impressed at how the US *played* in the Germany friendly than in their wins at Italy and Mexico. Until the game descended into weirdness because of all the substitutes, the US was the better side. Usually against good international teams, we’re hanging on by our fingernails. Even though Germany was missing a lot of players, that was still a pretty nifty squad. Germany is one of those countries that could probably send two complete teams to the World Cup.

      And, I think that final scoreline flatters Germany a little bit. True…..they came back. But, they came back after that game had lost all shape because of all the substitutes.

  2. takethelongview - Jun 7, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    Three broadcast questions:

    1. If Be In sports has the broadcast rights for all non-Mexcio, non-US qualifiers, why are all three of tonight’s matches being played more or less simultaneously? It’s not the last match day, so isn’t it in the broadcaster’s interest to stagger them?

    2. Why on Earth is the Jamaica match starting at 8:30 local time (EST = CDT)?

    3. If host countries hold the broadcast rights, why does Telemundo televise the Mexico away matches? Does Be In sports control only the English-language rights? Wouldn’t that mean the match is available on both Telemundo and Be In?

  3. ndnut - Jun 7, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    Since we’re BeIn left in the dark, is there ANY radio station in the U.S. broadcasting the match. Almost all stations stream online, so it wouldn’t matter where they are from.

    P.S. I have a shortwave, so it could also be possible that the Jamaican or U.S. channels would broadcast it.

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