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Bocanegra header is enough for 1-1 draw with Poland.

Mission accomplished for Americans in disposing of Grenada.

Americans take it to next round with 3-2 defeat of Grenada.

Lackadaisical Americans are lucky to tie Poland.

Beasley's pair sparks 3-0 victory over Grenada to open qualifing series.

Second-half goals relieve pressure on U.S. for Grenada return leg.

McBride's two goals spark 4-0 romp over Honduras as Reyna reaches 100-cap milestone.

U.S. heads into qualifying on positive note after drubbing Honduras.

Pope knocks home rebound in stoppage time to defeat Mexico 1-0.

U.S. put in impressive effort against Mexico, even before Pope won it.

Beasley goal defeats Poland 1-0, hands Arena first win over host Europeans.

Gritty American effort defeats Poland for first win of 2004.

Califf's tally late in stoppage time salvages 1-1 draw with Haiti.

Outplayed by Haiti, Americans are fortunate to gain 1-1 draw.

Goal by teen Robben sends Netherlands past U.S. 1-0.

Netherlands was clearly superior in victory over Americans.

  • Ching gains repemption, his goal in 89th minute earning 1-1 qualifying draw in Jamaica.

    Analysis

    Reserves spark late rally that allows U.S. to steal important road point in Jamaica.

    By Robert Wagman
    SoccerTimes

    KINGSTON, Jamaica (Wednesday, August 18, 2004) -- It looked like it was going to wind up being a long night for the United States men at Jamaica's National Stadium before a late goal by reserve striker Brian Ching gave the Americans a 1-1 draw and broke the hearts of a previously joyous capacity crowd at the CONCACAF semifinal-round World Cup qualifying opener for both nations.

    Ching, making his first meaningful appearance with the U.S. men, made up for a bad miss of a potential equalizer 14 minutes after defender Ian Goodison put the Reggae Boyz ahead 1-0 in the 49th minute. Ching was the beneficiary of an unselfish and well-placed touch from his San Jose Earthquakes teammate Landon Donovan and calmly blasted his eight-yard blast high and inside the right post for a 1-1 tie in the 89th minute.

    In the 63rd minute, U.S. defender Greg Vanney perfectly put a left-side cross onto Ching's head, but the forward drove his six-yarder wide right of open net.

    The importance of stealing a standings point on the road in a four-nation, six-game qualifying round-robin group cannot be overestimated.

    The three previous World Cup qualifiers the U.S. played in Jamaica ended in 0-0 draws. Tonight's game was fundamentally different from the others when Jamaica seemed content to play for the draw, trying hard not to lose rather than attempting to win. Tonight, under a new coach, Brazilian Sebastiao Lazaroni, the Reggae Boyz came out on attack, carried on a tide of emotion from a supportive nation.

    Jamaica came close, but the U.S. was well served by manager Bruce Arena's substitutions. Ching, despite his initial miss, was a handful for the Jamaican defense to handle after taking off Brian McBride in the 61st minute. Cobi Jones replaced Earnie Stewart in the midfield in the 68th minute and his fresh legs infused life into the U.S. attack. When the Americans seemed resigned to an unsatisfactory fate, Jones continued to work hard on the right flank and he started the sequence that led to Ching's equalizer.

    "I'm very pleased with the result," Arena said. "We deserved that point (in the standings). Sure I would have liked to come away with three. But I very satisfied."

    The U.S. created more quality chances than Jamaica, but when McBride lost towering defender Ian Goodison who then headed home a corner kick for a 1-0 lead, the one mistake looked like it was going to "make history" as the Jamaican players had promised their fans.

    McBride was upset about his mistake, putting his face in his hands after Goodison's header settled in the U.S. net. "I had him, but I turned my head to look at the corner and when I looked up he was by me," McBride explained. "It's the kind of mistake I don't usually make and it cost us."

    The tall, fast, physical Jamaicans had the U.S. back on its heels and out of sync for about the first 25 minutes, but the American backline hung tough and neutralized the Jamaican onslaught without conceding any quality chances.

    When midfielder Claudio Reyna launched a hard shot in the 26th minute, the tide began to turn for the U.S. to climb back into the match. Then came Jamaica's goal four minutes after the break and the momentum once again turned in favor of the host.

    "I thought we played very well," Arena said. Jamica "really only had two or three real chances all night. We made a mistake and they scored on a very nice set play. If we had ended up losing 1-0, I would still say I thought we played a very strong match."

    Jamaica was more organized than might be expected given this was its first match under Lazaroni . It is normally a fast and physical team, and Costa Rican referee William Mattus let the two teams play.

    Some of the U.S. players had problems with Jamaica's physicality. Donovan took a pounding and was marked out of much of the match before gaining redemption with his beautiful touch to Ching on the tying tally. Midfielder DaMarcus Beasley, who was treated roughly by the Reggae Boyz, dealt some punishment in return.

    The U.S. defense was terrific. The Jamaicans speculated in the local media that U.S. central defender Carlos Bocanegra was too slow to contain their Nottingham Forest striker Marlon King, their key offensive player over their past half dozen matches. The Boyz were possibly guilty of wishful thinking. Bocanegra and Eddie Pope, his partner in the middle, shut King down.

    "I think we just got tired at the end," Jamaica midfielder Andy Williams said. "I knew we started giving them to much room. We gave Cobi too much and he got off the cross, and Landon and Brian combined very well and that was it. I think we can and will play even better. I'm very optimistic for the rest of qualifying."

    The U.S. was obviously thin on the front line. McBride was not expected to go more than an hour and Donovan is probably better in the midfield.

    Arena recognizes the problem. "Conor Casey is getting fit, (Clint) Mathis is coming back, now we have Brian (Ching) in the mix," he said. "We'll get there."

    For Jamaica, theoretically the toughest opponent in semifinal Group 1 which also includes El Salvador and Panama, Arena went with his more experienced players. "Frankie Hejduk, Earnie Stewart and Cobi Jones all contributed tonight and showed how useful they are in pressure situations like this," Arena said.


    U.S. player ratings

    Starters

    Goalkeeper Kasey Keller - 6.5: Cannot be faulted on the goal he allowed and otherwise did everything he was asked to do. A ry steady performance.

    Defender Frankie Hejduk - 7: Strong game. Made defensive stop after defensive stop, and pushed the ball down the side constantly in his best national-team effort in quite awhile.

    Defender Eddie Pope - 7: Shut down Marlon King which is quite an accomplishment. Showed both range and pace on a really good night.

    Defender Carlos Bocanegra - 6.5: Was solid and up to the pace of the game. Did especially well in closing down players in open space.

    Defender Greg Vanney - 6: Gave the ball away several times, one which ended up in setting up the corner kick that resulted in the Jamaican goal. In a game with few scoring chances, made perfect cross to Brian Ching which should have been put away for a goal. Despite being under pressure for long periods, was never rounded and responded well.

    Midfielder Chris Armas - 6: Was one of the main reasons why Jamaica were held to so few quality chances. Was able to disrupt many of the offensive thrusts and played his role well.

    Midfielder Earnie Stewart - 5.5: Brought both experience and pace to the match. He often dropped deep into the defensive end to lend a hand and also pushed forward when he could. A role player who did well.

    Midfielder Claudio Reyna - 5.5: The physical play and the pace of the Jamaicans made it difficult for him to orchestrate the game plan as he usually does. Made some saving plays and certainly gave a good accounting of himself.

    Midfielder DaMarcus Beasley - 6: Took a beating, but kept coming back. His one-on-one thrusts provided much of the U.S. offense.

    Forward Landon Donovan - 5.5: Was just pounded down by Ian Goodison every time he saw the ball, but made the beautiful touch that set up Brian Ching for the tying goal.. At times, was simply marked out of the game.

    Forward Brian McBride - 5.5: His offensive ability depends on getting good service which was missing tonight. Made a rare defensive miscue that allowed Jamaica to score. Did not appear at full fitness with season in England just beginning.

    Reserves

    Forward Brian Ching (61st minute for McBride) - 6.5: Scored the tying goal in a highly pressured situation, but Donovan made it hard for him to miss. Shot wide on what should have been an easy tying goal two minutes after entering.

    Midfielder Cobi Jones (68th minute for Stewart) - 6: After long absence, showed he has something to contribute. Gave the U.S. a lift it badly needed and his cross led to the equalizer.

    Midfielder Eddie Lewis (77th minute for Chris Armas) - 5.5: Couldn't establish himself in his short stint. Helped relieve some of the pressure the U.S. was facing, but was not a factor.

    Robert Wagman is a SoccerTimes senior correspondent. E-mail Robert Wagman.

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