USMNT settles for 1-1 draw with Jamaica in CONCACAF World Cup qualifier

USMNT settles for 1 1 draw with Jamaica in CONCACAF World

Tim Weah of the U.S. and Jamaica’s Michail Antonio exchanged first-half goals 11 minutes apart in a CONCACAF World Cup qualifier that finished in a 1-1 draw Tuesday before a sparse crowd limited by COVID-19 to less than 5,000 at National Stadium.

Damion Lowe briefly brought the crowd to its feet in the 84th minute, heading a Leon Bailey corner kick into the back of the net. But the game-winning goal was immediately disallowed because Lowe had climbed the back of U.S. defender Walker Zimmerman to get to the ball, allowing the fatigued Americans to escape with a point.

The result keeps the U.S. (4-1-3) atop the qualifying standings pending the result of Tuesday’s late game between Mexico and Canada in snowy Edmonton. Jamaica finishes the 2021 portion of the tournament 1-3-4, six points out of the third and final qualifying position held by Canada entering the day.

The game was played on the 24th anniversary of Jamaica’s lone qualification for the World Cup, which came on a scoreless draw with Mexico. The Reagge Boyz’ tie Tuesday was their fifth in seven World Cup qualifiers with the U.S. in Kingston.

Weah put the U.S. in front in the 11th minute, beating Jamaican keeper Andre Blake with a shot from a tough angle at the edge of the six-yard box.

The sequence started with Weah, who had switched sides with Brenden Aaronson moments earlier, handing the ball off to Ricardo Pepi and receiving a quick return pass just as he entered the penalty area. He then dodged around Lowe, outmaneuvered Bobby de Cordova-Reid and banked a curving left-footed shot off the far post and in.

The U.S. nearly doubled the lead five minutes later, but a hard shot from Pepi was blocked in the center of the box and Blake made an outstanding saves on an Aaronson try off the rebound. Jamaica tied the game in the 22nd minute on a 35-yard shot from Antonio that cleared the outstretched hands of U.S. keeper Zack Steffen before dipping under the crossbar and into the upper right corner.

It was Jamaica’s only shot of the first half but it allowed the Reggae Boyz, who had been thoroughly dominated to that point, back into a game they seemed in danger of falling out of.

Jamaica took control after the intermission — and nearly took the lead in the 56th minute, when the ball dropped at the feet of De Cordova-Reid inside the penalty area. But his left-footed shot from close range sailed well over the goal.

With an average age three weeks shy of 23 years, the lineup Gregg Berhalter started Tuesday was the second-youngest in a qualifier in U.S. history, trailing only the lineup he used in last month’s win over Costa Rica.

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