The U.S. Men's National Team clinched the top spot in the Hexagonal with a 2-0 win over Jamaica in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers for a sold-out crowd of 18,467 on Oct. 11 at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.
The U.S. victory, combined with Costa Rica's 1-0 loss to Honduras earlier in the evening, made the USA (6-2-1, 19 pts) top the final CONCACAF qualifying group with one match left to play. Following the USA are Costa Rica (4-2-3, 15 points) and Honduras (4-3-2, 14 points).
The USA and Costa Rica have qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and Honduras has at least a spot in a playoff against the Oceania region representative New Zealand. Jamaica has now officially been eliminated from World Cup Qualifying contention.
With the victory, the USMNT improved to 26-9-6 under head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and 15-3-2 on the year. The 15 victories are a record for a calendar year, topping the previous mark of 13 wins in 2005 and 2009.
“Excited to see this group coming along, the personalities slowly come through there," said Klinsmann. "If you look at this year, 2013, it’s just a tremendous experience for all of us with the fan support every place we play has been sold out."
After a lackluster first half, the USMNT substitutes made the difference in the second half. Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi, a halftime substitute for Landon Donovan, was assisted by Alejandro Bedoyato to score the game-winning goal in the 77th minute. Forward Jozy Altidore provided the insurance goal, his 21st international goal, in the 81st minute.
Captain and goalkeeper Tim Howard earned the his 33rd international clean sheet to move into sole possession of second place all-time ahead of National Soccer Hall of Famer Tony Meola. The USA has now posted 10 shutouts in 2013. Howard made five saves as he improved to 8-2-0 on the year with four shutouts.
The USA wraps up 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying on the road against Panama on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City. The game kicks off at 9:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on beIN SPORT.
The USA will also play Austria on Nov. 19 in Vienna and face Scotland at Hampden Park on Nov. 15 at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN2, WatchESPN and UniMas.
USA - Graham Zusi (Alejandro Bedoya) 77th minute
USA - Jozy Altidore (Edgar Castillo) 81
USA: 1-Tim Howard (capt.); 6-Brad Evans, 20-Geoff Cameron, 5-Matt Besler, 7-DaMarcus Beasley (2-Edgar Castillo, 66); 11-Alejandro Bedoya, 8-Mix Diskerud, 13-Jermaine Jones, 10-Landon Donovan (19-Graham Zusi, 46); 9-Aron Johannsson (16-Sacha Kljestan, 72), 17-Jozy Altidore
Substitutions Not Used: 3-Michael Orozco, 12-Brad Guzan, 14-Terrence Boyd, 23-Kyle Beckerman
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
JAM: 1-DuWayne Kerr; 12-Demar Phillips, 19-Adrian Mariappa, 7-Westley Morgan, 3-Lloyd Doyley; 11-Darren Mattocks , 17-Rodolph Austin (capt.), 15-Je-Vaughn Watson (14-Theo Robinson, 73), 22-Deshorn Brown; 10-Joel McAnuff, 9-Ryan Johnson (21-Jermain Anderson, 85)
Substitutions Not Used: 2- Daniel Gordon, 4-Marvin Ellitott, 5-Alvas Powell, 6-Romario Campbell, 8-Jermaine Johnson, 13-Richard McCallum, 16-Jermaine Taylor, 18-Shaun Cummings, 20-Kemar Lawrence, 23-Gariece McPherson
Head coach: Winfried Schaefer
Stats Summary: USA / JAM
Shots: 14 / 9
Shots on Goal: 5 / 5
Saves: 5 / 3
Corner Kicks: 3 / 2
Fouls: 14 / 15
Offside: 3 / 2
USA - Sacha Kljestan (caution) 90+1st minute
JAM - Jermain Anderson (caution) 90+2
Referee: Elmer Bonilla (SLV)
Assistant Referee 1: Hermenerito Leal (GUA)
Assistant Referee 2: Ronaldo De La Cruz (GUA)
Fourth Official: Sandy Vasquez (DOM)
Budweiser Man of the Match: Graham Zusi