Brad Evans scored in the second minute of second-half stoppage time, giving the U.S. a thrilling 2-1 win over Jamaica at Kingston on Friday night that solidified the Americans' chances of qualifying for next year's World Cup.
Jozy Altidore put the Americans ahead in the 30th minute, but Jermaine Beckford tied the score off a free kick in the 89th as the U.S. again failed to hold a lead on the road.
Just over a minute into four minutes of stoppage time, Michael Bradley quickly played a corner kick to Graham Zusi, who gave the ball right back. Bradley faked around Alvas Powell and slid a pass to Evans.
With three Jamaicans about 5 yards from him, Evans spun and beat goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts from about 10 yards. It was the first international goal for Evans, starting at right back because Steve Cherundolo and Timmy Chandler weren't available.
"They're dire moments." Evans said. "There's still work to be done. I think we can do better at certain moments and I think everybody will tell you that from the top down. So there's still work to be done. But three points, on the road, in a place we haven't won, is pretty special."
Starting a stretch of three qualifiers in 12 days, the U.S. (2-1-1) improved to seven points in the 10-game final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region, trailing Costa Rica (2-1-1) on goal difference and ahead of Mexico (1-0-4) on goals scored. Costa Rica won 1-0 at home against Honduras and Mexico tied 0-0 at Panama (1-0-3), which has six points. Honduras (1-2-1) has four points and the Reggae Boyz (0-3-2) have two, with little chance of reaching next year's tournament in Brazil.
The Americans host Panama on Tuesday in Seattle on Evans' home field with the Major League Soccer's Sounders and Honduras on June 18 at Sandy, Utah. The top three nations qualify for next year's 32-nation tournament in Brazil, and the No. 4 team meets New Zealand in a playoff for another berth.
The U.S. had been 0-4-1 in qualifiers at The Office, as Kingston's stadium is known, and the Americans had wasted leads in four of its previous five road qualifiers under U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann along with a 0-0 tie at Mexico, going 1-2-2 in those matches.
"It's a very, very difficult place to come in," Klinsmann said. "The game was a real fight. We at the end are the ones that have the three points. It makes traveling a little easier."
Coaching his 28th game since taking over from Bob Bradley in July 2011, Klinsmann started the same lineup in consecutive games for the first time with the U.S. But three in a row won't happen.
Jermaine Jones, the tough American midfielder, sustained a concussion during a corner-kick scramble early in the second half, and Altidore walked off gingerly in the 83rd minute and pointed to his left hamstring.
Zusi will be suspended for one game for yellow-card accumulation after his foul led to a free kick and Jamaica's goal.
United States 2, Jamaica 1
United States 1 1 2
Jamaica 0 1 1
First half • 1, United States, Altidore (Zusi), 30th minute.
Second half • 2, Jamaica, Beckford (Austin), 89th minute. 3, = States, Evans (Bradley), 90th+2 minute.
Yellow Card • Zusi, US, 88th. Red CardsNone.
RefereeRoberto Moreno, Panama. LinesmenKeytzel Corrales, Nicaragua; Daniel Williamson, Panama.
United States • Tim Howard; Brad Evans, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, DaMarcus Beasley; Jermaine Jones (Geoff Cameron, 59th), Michael Bradley, Graham Zusi, Fabian Johnson (Edgar Castillo, 76th); Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore (Eddie Johnson, 83rd).
Jamaica • Donovan Ricketts; Alvan Powell, Adrian Mariappa, Daniel Gordon, O'Brian Woodbine; Marvin Elliott, Jermaine Hue (Jermaine Beckford, 70th), Rodolph Austin, Garath McCleary (Omar Daley, 75th), Jermaine Johnson (Theo Robinson, 68th); Ryan Johnson
Note • Top three qualify for World Cup and fourth-place team advances to playoff against Oceania winner
G W D L GF GA Pt
Costa Rica 4 2 1 1 5 3 7
U.S. 4 2 1 1 4 3 7
Mexico 5 1 4 0 3 2 7
Panama 4 1 3 0 5 3 6
Honduras 4 1 1 2 4 6 4
Jamaica 5 0 2 3 2 6 2
At Kingston, Jamaica
Mexico 1, Jamaica 0
At Kingston, Jamaica
• United States 2, Jamaica 1
At San Jose, Costa Rica
• Costa Rica 1, Honduras 0
At Panama City
• Panama 0, Mexico 0
Tuesday, June 11
At Tegucigalpa, Honduras
• Honduras vs. Jamaica, 7 p.m.
At Mexico City
• Mexico vs. Costa Rica, 7 p.m.
United States vs. Panama, 7:41 p.m.