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A brief history of USMNT vs Jamaica duels

USMNT vs Jamaica - Is this the birth of a golden generation?

February 3, 2017 By Andrew Amoth Wandola
As the USMNT prepares to face Jamaica in an international friendly, we flash back to the past and how things have changed in less than a decade.

The USMNT take on Jamaica in an international friendly on Thursday at the Finely stadium. What should the home fans expect from Bruce Arena's men in this clash? First things first, let's have a look at their head to head record.These two sides first met in 1988 for the two-legged CONCACAF Championship tie. The USMNT won the second leg 5-1 after registering a goalless draw in the first leg. This was the first time the Yanks had scored five goals in a match in 20 years, as they cruised into the 1989 CONCACAF Championship and also their first World Cup appearances in four decades. 

Then there is the 2-1 emotional win in 2002. This was USMNT's first match since the September 9/11 attack, and it took the intervention of a less-known Landon Donovan to give the Yanks the much-needed victory that would send them to the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Donovan, who has now made 157 appearances for his country and scored 57 goals, had been hacked inside the box, and the referee awarded his side with the penalty which was converted by Joe-Max Moore, who had earlier on opened the scoring for the hosts. This would become his last international goal for his country, having played 100 games and scored 24 goals in the process. 

In June 2011, USA beat Jamaica 2-0 in a dramatic clash that steered the former to the 2011 Gold Cup Semi-finals thanks to Clint Dempsey's 80th minute goal. In September 2012, USA lost 2-1 in Kingston in the first leg of their 2014 World Cup qualifier, but won the reverse fixture 1-0 thanks to Herculez Gomez's well-taken free-kick that steered his country back to the qualification campaign.

A year later, the US returned to Kingston for their World Cup qualifier where they won 2-1. This was their first ever qualifying victory for the MNT in Jamaica. And now, four years later, the two sides face each other in an international friendly. A lot has changed on both sides, particularly the US. The hosts are actually on a reconstruction mission with Bruce Arena focusing on rebuilding the team's confidence following a series of hot and cold performances under former manager Jurgen Klinsmann. 

Klinsmann's record with MNT

  • 98 games 
  • 55 wins
  • 16 draws
  • 27 defeats
  • 178 goals scored
  • 109 conceded
  • 56.1 win percentage 

Arena's record with MNT

  • 130 games
  • 75 wins
  • 28 defeats
  • 27 draws
  • 57.6 win percentage 

Prior to his second return, Arena clearly had a better record than Klinsmann. Here's how he performed as head coach of the MNT' from Aug 1998 to July 2006.Jamaica are set to introduce new faces in this match: goalkeeper Nicholas Campbell, defenders Kareem Manning, Romaine Breaknridge and Roberto Johnson, and Tevin Shaw (holding midfielder) are among the players who are expected to make their debuts against the USA. The top scorer of the Red Strike Jamaican Premier League, Shamar Nicholson, who plays for Boys' Town (he scored nine goals), is also set to feature in this game. The same case applies to the hosts; Arena recently confirmed that FC Dallas central defender Walker Zimmerman would feature in Friday's clash, hence earning his first USMNT debut. The same case applies to new arrival Jorge Villafaña, who is also expected to make his debut. Call it a friendly of debuts but this could be the begining of something special, the birth of a golden generation. 

It is clear that both sides are experimenting some new crop of players in this friendly and that is what makes it even more exciting to watch. There are some great expectations among the fans of the two sides, particularly USA, who need an improvement following the barren draw against Serbia last weekend. Today's clash gives their 65-year-old manager a chance to show some progress and general improvement ahead of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup on June 8. Can he rebuild the USMNT to become a force to reckon with in the region just in time for the Gold Cup? The journey starts today at the Finely stadium. 

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