U.S. Soccer supporters will be sleeping much easier tonight.
Four days after hitting a road bump in the form of a 2-1 loss to Jamaica in Kingston, the United States avenged the disappointing defeat with a 1-0 win in Columbus on Tuesday.
A Herculez Gomez 55th minute free kick proved to be the difference in a game that the hosts collected a bevy of early chances. Tim Howard, who was victimized on a pair of set piece goals on Friday, was rarely tested as Jamaica spent the majority of the match bunkered inside their defending third.
The U.S. turned the ignition on its attack in the opening minutes, anxious to find an early goal. And early on, the engine was roaring, but the destination would remain in the distance for nearly an hour.
Six minutes into match, Steve Cherundolo went forward and fed it to Graham Zusi inside the box. With visions of kissing the twine, Zusi pounded a shot that puckered up with the woodwork instead.
The U.S. zig-zagged through the Jamaican defending third, playing it wide then cutting inside with increasing frequency as the game progressed.
As the 17th minute approached, they began to unload the heavy artillery. After a Jermaine Jones sustained a hard tackle near the depths of the left flank, Gomez curled the subsequent free kick into a host of hungry attackers before keeper Dwayne Miller came off his feet to punch away.
Miller starred in a highlight save minutes later when Cherundolo hit a shot that ricocheted off a Jamaican defender that nearly crept into the net. That was until Miller shifted his weight left and put enough of his mitt on it to push it off the post in the 20th minute.
The U.S. continued its assault when Fabian Johnson ripped a shot that deflected off yet another Jamaican defender that fortuitously fell right in front of Cherundolo, who was stopped cold by Miller at the near post.
At the half hour mark, Johnson pulled the trigger from 30 yards that hit the post and made a b-line away from frame. The firepower was there. But despite the heavy fire, Jamaica escaped unharmed in the first half.
But in the 55th minute, the U.S. finally cracked their adversary’s defense. A free kick from 30 yards presented itself, and Gomez blasted a shot that slipped through Miller’s fingers and into the net. The advantage was theirs.
With the lead in its possession, the U.S. midfield ripped a page from their counterparts’ defense and began to sit back. But the U.S. adopted the approach at its own peril, as the Jamaican attack found signs of life in the final 20 minutes.
On a cross from the right corner, Ryan Johnson poked through the defense and headed a shot that went just wide of the left post, much to the dismay of keeper Tim Howard.
At the edge of the 83rd minute, Jamaica grabbed consecutive corners, with the equalizer in mind. But the guests fell short on both efforts, as the U.S. erased the embarrassment of Friday’s loss in convincing fashion.
With a spot atop its Qualifying group, the U.S. will return to action at 7pm on Oct. 12 against Antingua & Barbuda at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.