TAMPA, FL - JUNE 08: Forward Herculez Gomez #9 of Team USA celebrates his goal against Team Antigua and Barbuda during the FIFA World Cup Qualifier Match at Raymond James Stadium on June 8, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
The United States did everything that they couldn't do on Friday night. They played with width, they kept the ball and they created chances, all while quickly pressuring Jamaica and winning the ball back quickly whenever they lost it. It only barely paid off, as a series of incredible saves and terrible lucky kept the Americans from scoring as many goals as they deserve, but a Herculez Gomez free kick proved to be enough in a 1-0 win at Crew Stadium.
The Americans pressured from the very start and after 10 minutes it was clear that they were going to boss the match. They knocked the ball around with ease, using Steve Cherundolo and Fabian Johnson expertly to push forward and create width, while Danny Williams was finally allowed to play in his natural central midfield position to tremendous results.
But despite the Americans' fine play, they couldn't turn it into a goal. Graham Zusi hit the bar, as did Danny Williams, while Dwayne Miller put on his Superman cape to rob the U.S. on several occasions.
At halftime, the U.S. could claim dominance, but couldn't point to the scoreboard as proof of it. It was still 0-0.
The U.S. came out in the second half looking much like they did in the first half. They had possession, they used the flanks and they opened space, but it took 10 minutes before they got their goal.
A foul gave the Americans a free kick from 28 yards, right in the middle of the pitch. It was in a perfect spot for Jose Francisco Torres, who is a tremendous free kick taker, but instead it was Gomez who got the chance. He hit it over the wall and then curled it inside the post as it dipped. Miller got to it and probably should have saved it, but the soccer gods that worked against the U.S. all first half smiled upon this time as Miller failed to keep it out of the net. Crew Stadium erupted and the U.S. had a lead they so thoroughly deserved.
Up a goal, Klinsmann decided to take his foot off the gas and it almost backfired. Brek Shea, Maurice Edu and Jozy Altidore all came on as substitutes as the U.S. tried to kill the match instead of continuing to keep the ball. Jamaica found a spark as Williams struggled out on the right, there was a big gap in the center and the Americans failed to keep the ball.
Luckily, the changes didn't hurt the U.S. They may not have finished the match strong and a 1-0 win may not impress, but there was no doubt who the better team was. The Americans fixed many of their problems from a week ago and walked away with a vital three points that they most certainly earned.