The heavy lifting on tonight’s result in Jamaica is still to come. But first, let’s hand out our traditional post-match honor.
Positives are hard to find for the United States after their loss in Kingston, the Reggae Boyz keeping the U.S. off the scoresheet for the final 89 minutes of their 2-1, comeback victory. Look closely, though, and you see some decent individual efforts: Michael Parkhurst perform well in his surprise start; Fabian Johnson continues to make people forget left back was recent sore spot; Maurice Edu came up with some nice tackles as well as a good ball on the States’ only goal; and Clint Dempsey not only got on the scoresheet but helped raise the U.S.’s intensity as they chased an equalizer.
Nobody had a particularly great night, but among those who can take positives from Friday’s loss, Herculez Gomez gets our Man of the Match, mostly for his contribution to the opening goal.
Gomez’s first minute run wide of defender Adrian Mariappa opened up the Jamaican defense, turning the back line as the Santos attacker ran onto the long through ball from Edu. Collecting the ball, Gomez cut away from the byline, sent Mariappa to ground, but saw his shot snuffed out by an oncoming Dwayne Miller. After collecting the rebound, Gomez saw defender Nyron Noseworthy make a chest save on his second shot, but when Dempsey cleaned up from just outside the six yard box, Gomez’s work had finally paid off.
Later in the match, Gomez consistently provided good service from set pieces as well as his spot wide right, where he shifted after Jurgen Klinsmann went to a 4-3-3. Before the U.S. stated chasing the match, Gomez was almost part of a highlight moment, his cute chip creating a chance for Dempsey that was whistled dead as the Spurs man handled the ball.
But like Jozy Alitdore and (until the U.S. went down) Clint Dempsey, Gomez had to make due with the limited chances he have to make an impact. And as we saw with Altidore, it’s not easy to make your presence felt when your team can’t get you the ball.
Gomez, however, still managed to have an effect, and after serving as the most important player on the U.S.’s only goal, he wins our Man of the Match.