USA aim to get World Cup campaign back on track


Jurgen Klinsmann’s United States will try to get their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign back on track when they host Jamaica on Tuesday, days after falling to the Reggae Boyz in Kingston.
Regional powerhouse Mexico, unbeaten in the semi-final round of qualifying in North and Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF) go into Tuesday’s matches needing only a victory at home to Costa Rica to advance to the six-nation final round of qualifying.
But the United States, expected to cruise through in similar style, instead find themselves in an awkward spot after their 2-1 defeat to Jamaica on Friday. Jamaica’s victory moved them to the top of Group A on seven points. The United States and Guatemala both have four, followed by Antigua and Barbuda on one. Antigua and Barbuda host Guatemala on Tuesday.
Only the top two teams from each group advance to the final phase of qualifying next year, and US goalkeeper Tim Howard welcomed the quick chance to right the ship with Tuesday’s match at Columbus, Ohio.
“It’s not a lot of time to dwell on a loss,” Howard said. “The game on Tuesday has more significance than ever because we need to get back into rhythm and a positive mind frame.
“We have to come away with three points, that’s a necessity now.”
Tuesday’s match is the first of three remaining fixtures in the penultimate round.
Klinsmann left open the possibility that changes would be made to the side for Tuesday, but said the defeat wasn’t really down to personnel but to poor decision making on the pitch. “Obviously, we’re going to analyze things and see on the tape how things went,” he said. “The key to that game was really that we made things far too complicated in the first half.
“We allowed them to come back into the game. Instead of keeping the ball and moving it around simply, we gave them opportunities and opportunities to get free kicks and they scored off of a free kick in the first half and the second half. I think the team has the opportunity on Tuesday to fix it.”
While the USA have left themselves no margin for error, Mexico, unbeaten in the round, top Group B on nine points after beating Costa Rica in San Jose on Friday and will advance with a victory in Mexico City on Tuesday.
Costa Rica are second in the group on four points, ahead of El Salvador (2) and Guyana (1). El Salvador and Guyana played to a 2-2 draw on Friday, and Guyana host the Salvadorans on Tuesday at Georgetown.
Canada moved top of Group C on seven points with a 1-0 victory over Panama in Toronto on Friday. Now Panama, second on six points, will try to turn the tables when they host the Canadians at Panama City.