The USA Men’s National Soccer team earned a vital victory over Jamaica last night with an excellent Herculez Gomez free kick to establish a three-team stalemate on top of their CONCACAF 2014 World Cup Qualifying group. Jamaica, Guatemala, and America all sit with 7 points from four matches, but only two are set to progress to the next round. Naturally, America would prefer to have already progressed from the group at this stage like Mexico achieved in their group. But fortunes did not fall in that way and now the US is facing a certain all-or nothing match against Guatemala in mid October.
Clearly the recent Jamaica games proved to be a tough task without the services of Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley, two hugely influential members of the USA team. The loss in Jamaica was a true stinger and will dampen the hopes of our fans regardless. There really is no excuse to losing to that sort of opposition, even if the match was in a foreign stadium. But that was what fate beheld.
Fortunately, the Americans were able to take a victory during the home match as widely was expected. This prevented an all out panic for American World Cup hopes, but looking ahead the future is still uncertain.
America will have to travel to Antigua and Barbuda to play the team at the bottom of their group. The nation has only scraped 1 draw in four matches. They are beatable, but considering that America’s away form in the group has achieved 1 draw and 1 loss, don’t expect anything to be taken from this match.
Guatemala will host Jamaica in their next match that is vital for both teams. Regardless of the outcome, it certainly means that for America, the Guatemala match will decide their qualification hopes. Lucky for the USA the match will be played at home, and one must hope that our injury situation will have improved in the next month. America proved that they need their key players in order to compete and so having the likes of Donovan and Bradley back, as well as the improved match-fit Clint Dempsey should serve to help their efforts.
But one must feel a level of concern given that the USA has struggled in such a weak group of nations. How in the world will this team actually compete in Brazil in 2014 if they play like this? Manager Jurgen Klinsmann will need to address some glaring weaknesses in the squad ahead of the tournament or else the World Cup may yet be another short trip for Team USA.