|Dempsey scored the go-ahead goal.|
The United States finally found form in their quarterfinal match-up against Jamaica in front of a packed RFK stadium in Washington, DC. The Americans vaulted to victory behind goals from Jermaine Jones and Clint Dempsey, who each played exceptionally well on the day.
The Americans dominated the run of play for much of the game. The plan seemed to be to maintain possession and keep the ball away from the speedy Jamaicans; a plan that worked almost to perfection. The United States provided their most complete performance of 2011 as they possessed the ball, passed and attacked with more fluidity than we’ve seen in a long time.
“I thought we were able to start to do a good job of establishing control, passing the ball and keeping the ball moving,” Bob Bradley stated after the game. “Ultimately it took a while to get the goal and the second goal, but as far as establishing our game today I thought we did an excellent job.”
The first half held an impressive amount of chances for the Americans and apart from an early scare, Tim Howard’s goal was not threatened in any substantial matter. Second half goals from Jones and Dempsey were the difference.
Jermaine Jones blasted a shot from outside the box four minutes after halftime. The shot was world class however it looked as though Donovan Ricketts had it covered but not for a deflection off a Jamaican defender. With the ball going in, Jermaine Jones celebrated with the rest of the US team by offering a solute and a smile. This was the first goal for Jones since joining the American national team.
|Jermaine Jones was impressive vs. Jamaica|
Jones was also useful in drawing a foul that lead to a red card for Jamaican defender Taylor. Jones appeared to be in towards goal when brought down by Taylor. The Jamaican offered little objection as he walked off the field.
With the red card to the Reggae Boyz, the Americans were free to attack in greater numbers. That is what happened on the second goal. Juan Agudelo played the ball to a wide open Dempsey who rounded Donovan Ricketts for the easy tap in. From this point on, there was no looking back. The United States gave no chance for the Jamaicans to come back, rarely giving them the ball.
Clint Dempsey had this to say, “I was disappointed with my performance against Guadeloupe. I wasn’t able to finish some chances that I got and I wanted to make sure that I came out today and whatever I could to help the team win. I was able to get the goal that sealed it.”
Exceptional on the night was Alejandro Bedoya. He looks to be a younger version of Dempsey with his vision, passion for attack and audacity to take people on. Interesting that he never made the original 23 roster, but has started in some very serious matches.
|Rob Kinnan Photography|
Absent from the starting line-up was Landon Donovan, who left camp to visit his twin sisters wedding. Clint Dempsey was also released from camp before the game, however he earned the start. Reasons for Donovan’s absence were said to be that his flight arrived in D.C. early that morning as opposed to Dempsey’s flight which arrived some time earlier.
“When you make decisions on a lineup, you size up all sorts of things. It’s been a busy stretch for Landon and we felt with an afternoon game…made sense to use him as a reserve today,” said Bob Bradley.
The United States will now take on Panama, who they lost to in group stage, in the semifinal match down in Houston, Texas.
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