November 27, 2021

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Team USMNT rides its luck with snatching provisional side in Jamaica

Team USMNT rides its luck with snatching provisional side in Jamaica

USMNT was without a lot of regular stars in Jamaica. However, they were very lucky in their 1-1 draw.

Even the most die-hard USMNT fan will tell you they ran off with one in Jamaica. Dare I say, Jamaica was awarded CONCACAF by the United States in Kingston.

This is the quality of the points that make you participate in the World Cup.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned ]

Greg Berhalter was without Sergino Dest and Gio Reina due to injury in this camp, plus Christian Pulisic was only fit to play a minor role on the bench and Miles Robinson and Weston McKinney were suspended for the trip to Kingston. Let’s remember that.

All things are considered a 1-1 tie on the road in Jamaica Not a bad result. But it could have been much worse.

The second youngest starting lineup in USMNT World Cup qualifying history started well and dominated most of the first half, with Tim Weah scoring a beautiful early goal to put them on their way.

[ MORE: Player ratings vs. Jamaica ]

However, Michel Antonio’s stunning long-range goal snatched a well-deserved point for the Reggae Boyz and they will regret a huge waste and questionable call in the second half as they should have won.

USMNT knows that.

USMNT slip into old habits, let go of the hook

The second half show will take care of Greg Berhalter and show his young team still have a long way to go.

Especially with the road matches in Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica still on track to reach the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

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“A tough game. “Jamaica played very straight,” Berhalter said. “They had a really good physical presence at the top and they were collecting the second balls in a good way. It made it difficult for us. We scored the first goal and then Jamaica equalized a special goal from Antonio. Both teams fought hard in the conditions and we will take a point from this match.”

Berhalter seemed relieved to leave Kingston with a point. And he has to do that.

Jamaica put the United States back in the second half and should have secured a win back. After drawing with Panama and Honduras earlier in the qualifiers, this result was the same and the performance was slightly better. but not too much. Youngsters Tim Weah, Gianluca Pusio and Chris Richards all rose to the top, but Zach Stephen, Deanery Yadlin and Anthony Robinson all struggled just days after their brilliance against Mexico.

As for Jamaica, the Caribbean nation will regret a horrific loss to Bobby Decordova-Reed from close range in the second half and will be pissed off at an official call as they appeared to have won it of late.

Damion Lowe inexplicably disqualified a header for a slight push on Walker Zimmerman, as replays showed he barely pushed the USMNT defender and his header should have held.

“I couldn’t see the summoned target again…but I know he blew an early whistle,” Berhalter said.

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With no VAR tech in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, USMNT knew they had gotten away with one and were happy to slip out of the “office” in Kingston with a point.

Without several key players, the USMNT was on hold in the second half as they lost McKennie’s midfield drive, Reyna’s shrewdness, Dest’s tireless running and Robinson’s presence.

Get those four guys ready, along with a perfectly fit Pulisic, and things will look a lot better than this. With the big guys out, you need a little luck to get past you.

Qualification closer, but doubts remain

The USMNT is still in a very good position in the playoffs (15 points from eight games) and looks almost certain to secure at least fourth and first place.

All they have to do is win their home matches and draw on the road and they will reach the World Cup. No problems.

But with Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica on the way up next, how many points will the USMNT pick up there? If they play like they played against Jamaica, they will probably be out of luck. That leaves little room for error in their three home games against El Salvador, Honduras and Panama.

Then again, USMNT’s luck appears to compare to their last World Cup qualifying campaign when they were faced with several unfortunate (and some unfair) events on the final day of the qualifiers in 2017. Four years later, the lady’s luck was resplendent over the stars and stripes. She did against Costa Rica last month and she was definitely in Jamaica. But how long will that last?

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With the key players likely to return for the January qualifiers at home against El Salvador and out of Canada, and then another home game in early February against Honduras, the Berhalter Sons negotiated a tough hurdle in Jamaica.

But they were still mixed with Mexico, Canada and Panama to take the top three and when asked about the USMNT team being close to qualifying for the World Cup, this was Berhalter’s response.

“We don’t take anything for granted. The next window is going to be an important window and we just want to keep moving forward,” Berhalter said. You see tonight, it was a very tough match and we were able to hold there and get the point we needed on the road. In general, I am happy with the group and we will continue to improve and improve.”

This was not USMNT’s best offer but it was a good result. That, and a healthy dose of luck, is important. But there’s still a lot of growing trouble to keep the USMNT fan base heading into those January’s main qualifiers.