World Cup Qualifier
The U.S. men's soccer team was fortunate to eke out a win last night against Jamaica. Last Friday, Jamaica surprised the U.S. with a 2-1 victory in Kingston. Had the U.S. lost last night in Columbus it is likely the team would have been eliminated from the World Cup qualifying rounds. Quite honestly, that would have been pathetic.
The game last night was dominated in the first half by the U.S. Three shots went off the goal posts/crossbar. Jamaica was comfortable just packing it in and trying to play for the tie. I thought that was a very bad strategy. They have speed and the U.S. team has been notoriously bad on the back end with mistake after mistake.
In the second half, the 0-0 tie was broken by a U.S. goal off a free kick from about 26 yards. The Jamaican goalkeeper badly misplayed the kick and it went in off his hands. The thing that was irritating was that the U.S. then decided to go conservative and stopped attacking. Jamaica pressed the attack for the last 25 minutes or so and had a number of great opportunities. Had the U.S. just continued to play its game it would have had great opportunities to push in a clincher.
Jurgen Klinsman took over as coach from Bob Bradley about two years ago. He has not been able to raise the play of the team and in fact, in my opinion it has regressed. The U.S. men failed to qualify for the Olympics and their lackluster play is not inspiring me to think that they will make the World Cup. They should be dominating their pool but are tied with Jamaica and Guatemala. If they lose to Guatemala, they may very well not even make it out of this early pool stage. Even if they get out of the pool, they are going to have to play in a tougher 6 team pool and will not get out of it if they don't improve their play dramatically. We'll see.