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CONCACAF World Cup Qualifier: USA face crucial Jamaica clash
Jun 08, 2013 1:09 PM EST
The United States desperately need a win in their CONCACAF World Cup qualifier against Jamaica on Friday.
Jurgen Klinsmann's men have produced contrasting performances in their last two friendly outings, being beaten by Belgium before edging Germany. The US are fourth in Group A having earned a win, a draw and a loss from their first three games, but need to finish in the top three to claim a place at Brazil 2014. They face a Jamaica side who have been struggling, and are bottom of the group and without a victory in 2013. Klinsmann and his side arrived in Jamaica on Tuesday, giving them extra time to prepare for the conditions in Kingston.
Clint Dempsey is likely to prove the key man for the US in the qualifier, with the Tottenham forward in fine form in the lead-up. The 30-year-old captain scored twice in his side's 4-3 win over Germany and netted a penalty in their 4-2 loss to Belgium. Dempsey has netted seven times through qualifying but most of those came when the US were scoring regularly in the third round, in which they struck 11 goals in six matches. The fourth round has seen them net just two goals in three games, while their last qualifier against Mexico ended in a 0-0 draw.
Tim Howard also has a big role to play as it appears he has edged Brad Guzan for the starting goalkeeper spot. The US cannot afford to concede as many goals as they did in their friendlies and Jamaica have the attacking players to worry them. Reading forward Garath McCleary is likely to start, and Huddersfield Town attacker Jermaine Beckford can cause problems if he comes off the bench. But goals have been a serious problem for Jamaica in their past six matches, as they have netted just once. Getting anything out of their clash against the US will be a huge challenge and Klinsmann's side should claim a much-needed three points.