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June 8, 2013
U.S. goes from happiness to sadness to exhilaration

Jozy Altidore gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead in the 30th minute of Friday's 2-1 win over Jamaica.
Jozy Altidore gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead in the 30th minute of Friday's 2-1 win over Jamaica.
Linda Cuttone/Spots Vue Images
KINGSTON, Jamaica -- In a matter of minutes late in their World Cup qualifier with Jamaica on Friday night, the United States experienced a gamut of emotions -- from being content to stunned sadness to exhilaration.

Only minutes from their first qualifying win in Jamaica, their happiness turned to sadness by a late equalizing goal by the Reggae Boyz.

But only minutes later in stoppage time, they went from sadness to exhuberance and celebration on Brad Evans' goal at The Office.

“You feel as low as dirt and then all of a sudden you feel like world-beaters," goalkeeper Tim Howard told reporters. "A point on the road is not the worst thing. We could have been content with that but we hunted for a second goal.”

The win boosted the U.S. into second place in the CONCACAF hexagonal with a 2-1-1 record and seven points, second to Costa Rica (2-1-1, seven) by goal differential.

The loss left winless Jamaica (0-3-2, two) in the cellar, five points behind the top three teams -- Mexico (1-0-4) also has seven points -- which would get automatic berths into the World Cup. The Reggae Boyz also trail fourth-place Panama (1-0-3, six). The fourth-place finisher will play the Oceania champion for a spot at Brazil 2014.

"For every team, when you concede in the last minute and add another one, it helps them realize that if you get a knock you can correct it right away," coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "At least give it a shot. That energy they showed, that reaction, that is what you want to see. Every experience like that helps the players.

"It is a culture that you have to develop to have that belief. Nights like tonight show them they can do that."

Former Red Bulls striker Jozy Altidore had given the U.S. a 1-0 lead in the 30th minute, heading home a Graham Zusi cross from the right wing past goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.

The U.S. appeared to be on the way to three points when Jermaine Beckford darted free behind the USA’s restraining line to head in an 89th-minute free kick from six yards.

With four minutes of stoppage time added, the visitors went for the win. Ricketts had just made a sprawling save, but could not keep a headed back pass from rolling over the end line. On the ensuing corner kick on the left side, Michael Bradley played a short ball to Zusi before getting the ball back. Bradley beat Alvas Powell with a quick move, sending the ball toward the end line just outside the penalty area before rolling a short cross to the unmarked Evans. With his back to the goal, Evans turned and ran toward the net. While falling backwards, he hit a right-footed shot from a few yards outside the left corner of the six-yard box into the far post side-netting for a 2-1 lead and eventually the win.

While the U.S. celebrated the goal and win, the Americans realized they could have made it much easier for themselves.

"In an ideal world and as we move along we would like to have it where we learn how to win these games 1-0 and at a certain point to kill the game off by scoring another goal," Bradley told reporters. "But we understand that you have to deal with the twists that come along the way. We still have a lot of guys that are young and are going through the process for the first time.

"On a night like this, it is important that we learn our lesson and learn our lesson while getting three points. That winning mentality is something that has to continue getting worked out."
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