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June 19, 2011
U.S. advances with 2-0 win over Jamaica

By Michael Lewis
Big Apple Soccer Editor

Clint Dempsey goes around Jamaica goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts to give the United States a 2-0 lead.
Clint Dempsey goes around Jamaica goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts to give the United States a 2-0 lead.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Midfielder Jermaine Jones scored his first international goal and Clint Dempsey added an insurance goal to boost the United States to a 2-0 victory over Jamaica in the Gold Cup quarterfinals before a sellout crowd at RFK Stadium on Sunday.

The Americans will play the winner of the second game of the doubleheader – either Panama or El Salvador – semifinals in Houston on Wednesday.

The U.S. played most of the game without star midfielder Landon Donovan, who started on the bench.

Donovan and Dempsey were given permission by coach Bob Bradley to miss three days of training prior to the match to attend their sisters' weddings in California and Texas, respectively. Both players returned via charter flights financed by U.S. Soccer. Dempsey flew into the U.S. capital at 2 a.m. Sunday, while Donovan landed at 7 a.m.

Jones, who made his fifth appearance for the U.S., scored in the 49th minute. Jamaica defender Jermaine Taylor headed out a corner kick that went toward Jones hit straight on a volley from 22 yards. The shot deflected off Taylor and past goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts into the net.

Dempsey, who missed several chances in the 1-0 win over Guadeloupe on Tuesday and a few more Sunday, finally found the back of the net. Juan Agudelo sent a feed from the right flank. With Ricketts on the ground, Dempsey had an easy three-yard tap-in for a two-goal advantage in the 80th minute.

The Jamaicans had the first chance in the fourth minute as midfielder Michael Bradley lost the ball and Dane Richards worked his way in to send a right-cross to Ryan Johnson, who fired from point-blank range. Goalkeeper Tim Howard managed to kick the ball away to Luton Shelton, who fired his attempt over the crossbar.

With one substitution presumably saved to bring Donovan into the match later on, Bradley was forced to make a change in the 12th minute when striker Jozy Altidore strained his left hamstring at midfield. Agudelo replaced him.

A minute later Dempsey tested Ricketts with a 15-yard volley that the veteran keeper needed two hands to knock out of bounds for the first of his five first-half saves.

The U.S. dominated the rest of the half as the Jamaicans made sure they had 11 players behind the ball at all times.

After he was fouled by Rodolph Austin about 35 yards out, Dempsey forced Ricketts to parry a free kick over the crossbar in the 36th minute.

After Howard denied Richards on a counter two minutes later, Dempsey tried again in the 40th minute. A Sasha Kljestan corner kick found the head of defender Carlos Bocanegra, who headed the ball to Dempsey. Dempsey’s bicycle kick, wound up over the bar.

A minute later, a Kljestan cross found Alejandro Bedoya, whose 12-yard header sailed wide left.

In the 44th minute, left fullback Eric Lichaj, off a Bradley feed, found his way into the penalty area only to be denied by a diving save from Ricketts.

Donovan finally made his way into the match in the 66th minute, replacing Bedoya.

A minute later, Taylor found himself out of the game with a red card after he took down an onrushing Jones from behind. The Jamaicans were forced to play the rest of the match a man down.

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