Graham Zusi (front row, second from left) was in the starting lineup for the United States against Jamaica Tuesday night. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi finally had the kind of impact for the USMNT many Sporting fans have been anticipating in the United States 1-0 win over Jamaica in World Cup Qualifying Tuesday night.
USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann inserted Zusi into the starting lineup on the right side of the midfield in a 4-1-2-1-2 formation, where Zusi was able to put together his finest performance in a United States kit thus far.
The 1-0 victory was essentially a must-win for the United States, who lost 2-1 to Jamaica last Friday night in Kingston, and found themselves trailing the Raggae Boyz by three points in the Group A standings. And although there are numerous areas in which the US will still have to improve as World Cup Qualifying continues, Tuesday night's victory put the USMNT back on track, and back to the top of Group A with both Jamaica and Guatemala.
The United States were the dominant team for much of the game on Tuesday night, possessing the ball almost 70 percent of the match, and out-shooting Jamaica to a tally of 13-6. Herculez Gomez would eventually find the game-winner for the home side, a free kick from about 30 yards out that beat Jamican keeper, Dwayne Miller.
Gomez scored the winner, but Zusi was, perhaps, the United States most dangerous player for much of the 71 minutes in which he featured, and one would have to think that Klinsmann will have Zusi's name penciled into the starting lineup when the USMNT take on Guatemala at Livestrong Sporting Park on October 16th.
Zusi, making his third start for the national team, almost notched a goal for the United States in the sixth minute of action as right back Steve Cherundolo found Zusi just inside of Jamaica's box, where he was able to fire a right-footed shot that beat Miller, but deflected off of the top of the bar.
In the 21st minute, Fabian Johnson, set up nicely by Clint Dempsey, found himself with a very good chance inside Jamaica's penalty area. However, his left-footed shot was not accurate, and sailed high, and looked to be going out of play. Zusi, having cut in from the right side of the field, got on the end of Johnson's dud, and shot a rocket from a tough angle right towards Miller, who made a nice save to keep the score level.
Just two minutes later, Zusi almost notched a goal again when a Gomez free kick looped into the Jamaica penalty area, and was deflected out, where Zusi was all alone. He fired a rocket towards goal that was just over the bar.
In other international news regarding Sporting Kansas City, midfielder Roger Espinoza played 90 minutes for Honduras in their 3-0 win over Cuba in World Cup Qualifying, and midfielder Peterson Joseph and Haiti defeated Puerto Rico 2-1 in the Caribbean Cup.