Jamaica 1, United States 1, Tie
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Riding an unprecedented wave of soccer fervor back home, Jamaica stunned the United States with a 1-1 tie in a World Cup qualifier Friday night.
Eric Wynalda put the United States (2-1-4) ahead with a penalty kick in the three minutes into the second half. But Deon Burton tied the score two minutes later after a defensive misplay by Jeff Agoos.
The Americans are third with 10 points in the six-team final round of qualifying from soccer’s North and Central American region, which will send three teams to next summer’s 32-nation tournament in France.
Jamaica (3-2-3) leads with 12 points, followed by Mexico (3-0-2), which plays El Salvador on Sunday. El Salvador (2-2-3) is fourth with nine points, followed by Costa Rica (2-4-2) and Canada (1-4-2).
The U.S. team most likely will need four more points to qualify. The Americans play at Mexico on Nov. 2, at Canada on Nov. 9 and close against El Salvador at Foxboro, Mass., on Nov. 16.
U.S. midfielder Claudio Reyna will miss the Mexico game after getting his second yellow card of the competition on Friday night.
Jamaica, seeking its first World Cup berth, drew about half the crowd of 51,528 at RFK Stadium, and the fans from each nation spent the entire game tying to out-cheer each other.
Although out-played in the second half, Jamaica tied the score when Agoos jogged after a ball deep in U.S. territory, unaware that forward Paul Hall was hustling behind him.
Hall stuck his shin in front of Agoos’ pass, deflecting it in front of the U.S. goal. Burton, one of four British-born players recruited by the Jamaican team in the past year, chased it down and easily beat goalkeeper Kasey Keller from eight yards out.
It was Jamaica’s first goal in six games against the United States, and the tens of thousands of yellow-and-green-clad fans roared their approval for the ``Reggae Boyz.″
Wynalda’s goal was his 31st in international play, by far the most ever by any U.S. player. It came after defender Ian Goodison used his left hand to block Wynalda’s cross at the right edge of the box. Wynalda drilled the penalty kick into the right side of the net.
The Americans, playing before their third straight home sellout crowd, tried to applied the pressure in the final minutes, but the closest thing to a go-ahead goal came when Wynalda’s close range shot was knocked down by Goodison in injury time.
Jamaica coach Rene Simoes started five defenders, a sign the Jamaicans would be content to play for the tie and perhaps steal a goal on a counterattack.
The visitors, seeking to become the first Caribbean nation in the World Cup since Haiti in 1974, did create a couple of chances in the first half, with Burton, who plays for Derby County in England’s Premier League, leading the charge.
The Americans, repeatedly thwarted by the five defenders, had only two decent scoring chances in the first half. Ernie Stewart fanned on a clear shot from 15 yards in the 23rd minute, and Reyna was wide left with an 18-footer on a feed from Tab Ramos in the 33rd.
Reyna drew his yellow card in the 36th minute for spiking the ball in frustration after he disagreed with a linesman’s call.