Jamaica overcome USA in World Cup qualifier for N/C America

Posted on by SoccerPunter

Jamaica shocked the United States 2-1 to take the lead in their group in the semi-final round of 2014 World Cup qualifying in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

CONCACAF goals from Rodolph Austin and Luton Shelton overcame Clint Dempsey‘s first-minute strike for the Americans as Jamaica posted their first victory over USA in 19 matches.

The goal for Dempsey – 36 seconds into the match – was the fastest for the United States in World Cup qualifying, confounding predictions that he would show some rust in his first competitive match since June.

But with Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley missing through injury, the United States couldn’t make it stand up as free kicks from Austin and Shelton gave Jamaica the victory.

In the 22nd, Austin fired a low shot through the US wall and past US goalkeeper Tim Howard.

It was Shelton’s turn in the 62nd and Jamaica, who came into the match level with the United States atop Group A, now lead with seven points to the USA’s four.

The top two teams from each of the three groups advance to the final round of regional qualifying next year, and the United States will be aiming to get back on track when they host Jamaica on Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio.

Elsewhere in Group A on Friday, Guatemala hosted Antigua and Barbuda, each team going into the night with one point.

Mexico were trying to stretch their Group B lead as they visited Costa Rica, with El Salvador hosting Guyana in the other Group B clash.

In Group C, Honduras posted a convincing 3-0 victory over Cuba, all three of the Honduras goals coming from players competing in Major League Soccer.

New England’s Jerry Bengtson opened the scoring in the 31st minute. Victor Bernardez added a second goal when he converted a free kick in the 63rd and Marvin Chavez – Bernardez’s team-mate at San Jose – completed the scoring injury time.

It was a needed win for Honduras, who lost to Panama at home in the opening match of the round.

Despite absence of suspended midfielder Roger Espinoza, Honduras looked much the stronger side as they took their points total in Group C to four points.

Canada lead Group C with seven points after edging Panama 1-0 in Toronto.

Dwayne De Rosario scored in the 77th minute, tapping in a free kick from the right by Atiba Hutchinson.

Panama, second in the group with six points, host Canada in Panama City on Tuesday.

Cuba meanwhile, are on the brink of elimination as they look toward a Tuesday World Cup qualifier for N/C America with Honduras in San Pedro Sula.

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