- header photo by Getty Images
USA hosts Jamaica in Austin at the Q2 for the first ever World Cup Qualifying match in the Lone Star State. The USA comes in with 5 points without a defeat and Jamaica is struggling with just one point after the first round of matches. Without Pulisic, Reyna and Brooks out with injuries, the USA would have to rely on its roster depth.
Starting Lineups and Officials
USA: 1-Matt Turner, 2-Sergiño Dest, 3-Walker Zimmerman, 4-Tyler Adams (Capt.), 5-Antonee Robinson, 6-Yunus Musah, 7-Paul Arriola, 8-Weston McKennie, 11-Brenden Aaronson, 12-Miles Robinson, 16-Ricardo Pepi
Substitutes: 13-Zack Steffen, 9-Gyasi Zardes, 10-Cristian Roldan, 14-Luca de la Torre, 15-Chris Richards, 17-Sebastian Lletget, 18-Mark McKenzie, 19-Matthew Hoppe, 20-Tim Weah, 21-George Bello, 22-Shaq Moore, 23-Kellyn Acosta
Head coach: Gregg Berhalter
JAM: 1-Andre Blake (Capt.), 5-Alvas Powell, 9-Jamal Lowe, 10-Bobby Reid, 11-Shamar Nicholson, 15-Je-Vaughn Watson, 17-Damion Lowe, 19-Adrian Mariappa, 20-Kemar Lawrence, 21-Tyreek Magee, 22-Devon Williams
Available Subs: 13-Dillon Barnes, 23-Jaedine White, 2-Jamoi Topey, 3-Javain Brown, 7-Kemar Roofe, 8-Oniel Fisher, 12-Junior Flemmings, 14-Javon East, 18-Andre Gray
Head coach: Theodore Whitmore
Referee: Reon Radix (GRN)
AR1: Keytzel Corrales (NCA)
AR2: Iroots Appleton (ATG)
4th Official: Tristley Bassue (SKN)
The Q2 in Austin was sold out and the American Outlaws were extremely loud looking give the USA a superior home advantage in this match. A big story line in Austin was there is no VAR for the World Cup Qualifier in Austin tonight.
Just seconds into the match, controversy as a foul just 20 seconds in open field with a clear run on goal by Arriola and was fouled by Jamaica’s Kemar Lawrence from behind, clearly looking a foul worthy of a red card. Head Referee Reon Radix in his first World Cup Qualifier had to make the tough decision to make the call and gave Lawrence a yellow caution. The Americans showed aggression early attacking a applying high pressure on the Reggae Boys. Jamaica first chance came in the 10th minute with a shot from distance but sailed wide right over the diving Matt Turner.
Momentum swung Jamaica’s way in the 13th minute as they applied some offense and speed, testing Matt Turner but to no avail.
The Americans looked patient in the 23rd minute looking for the build up and making numerous passes in Jamaica’s final third eating up possession time and looking to wear down the defense. The USA owned over 60 percent of possession 27 minutes in going into the hydration break. Jamaica seems to settling in and letting USA possess looking to counter attack.
McKeenie looked dangerous in the box in the 29th with a run in the box and forced a corner, but Jamaica’s keeper was able to collect the corner kick and stop USA’s attack.
Another hard foul in the 32nd minute in just outside the box and a through ball connected with Brenden Aaronson on a hard foul from behind from by Damion Lowe. The referee issued a yellow on another clear red card. USA was able to convert on McKennie’s free kick. USA is dominating on all fronts 35 minutes, with the exception of the score as it remains nil-nil.
Matt Turner made a excellent diving save on a shot in the 40th minute as Jamaica’s making best of chances. USA defense has kept their shape and organization so far in the first half. In the 44th a header from Jamaica’s Nicholson almost scored on a header from the corner but shot just wide right past Turner.
USA and Jamaica headed into the half at nil-nil. Jamaica holding the US and lucky to still have 11 players on the pitch but yellow cards could still come into account later in the match. The half time whistle was met with some boos, most likely for the refs decisions rather than the performance.
Second half started well for the Americans as they quickly countered and Musah connected with Dest. Dest found Pepi who was able to knock into in the back of the net just three minutes into the second half. Ricardo Pepi, native of El Paso and striker for FC Dallas would be the one to score the opening goal for the USA in Austin.
In the 51st minute Musah made a quick run into the box and almost scored and forced another corner for the USA.
56th minute, another foul by Jamaica just outside the box on Dest as he made a run to the box. Kick free spot was just outside the 18 yard line. Dest strike off the free kick just went past the upper 90.
Aaron broke free in the 60th minute on the left side and made a low cross to find Texas’ very own Ricardo Pepi who made a wonderful one touch goal past Andre Blake and the Q2 crowd broke into chants of “Pepi! Pepi! Pepi!” The second goal gave a commanding leading lead to the USA.
First subs came in the 67th minute as Pepi and Aaronson were replaced by Zardes and Weah, with the game seemingly in hand at this point. Berhalter is looking to rest some of his players with two more matches in the coming days in Panama City, Panama and Columbus, Ohio.
USA opened up Jamaica defense and looked dangerous and Zardes had a couple of clear chances to score being slightly unlucky in those accounts.
We also got see Timothy Weah, Kellyn Acosta and Shaq Moore made appearances and saw minutes making some impact on the match and keeping Jamaica on their back heels.
Nicholson almost was able to put one away in stoppage time to close the gap but alas it was not be as moments later the referee blew the final whistle.
Overall, it was a great night the US Men’s National Team as the 2-0 victory over Jamaica vault the US to the top of the CONCACAF Qualifying table heading to Panama for a difficult encounter in the middle of this three match set.
Next Qualifying Matches for USMNT: (Sunday October 10, 5:00 PM at Panama Esatadio Rommel Fernandez Gutierrez, Panama City, Panama; Wednesday October 13, 6:00 PM vs Costa Rica at Lower.com Field, Columbus, Ohio.