With Jamaica’s loss to Mexico a few days ago, the Reggae Boyz are in dire straights. Bottom of the World Cup qualifying table on just 2 points despite having played a game more than the rest, it’s trying times for the wounded warriors.
Opposite them tonight will be the United Stated, who with a win could put themselves top of the group as they near the halfway mark in the race for a berth at Brazil 2014.
But you’d be wrong to suggest this match has more riding on it for Jamaica than the U.S.
Such is the nature of the Hex. It takes no prisoners, and has no mercy.
There are many things on the minds of the U.S. fans. There is the recent duo of friendlies against top European teams which resulted in a surprising yet confidence-boosting victory against Germany.
That match saw Jozy Altidore reinvigorated and revived with his USMNT career about teetering at the edge of the bluff. And yet numerous defensive weaknesses were vastly exposed by both the Germans and Belgians.
Neither of those matches counted, the good or the bad. Matt Besler: “This by no means is good enough, but it’s a good foundation that we’ve started to build.” Good to see they can put things in perspective.
Also on the minds of many is the match against Jamaica eight months ago, where the States lost 2-1 when it actually counted, left to pick up the pieces in the Jamaican heat. Will they disappoint again?
Many will note that Jamaica are playing with their backs against the wall, an intangible that often wreaks havoc on opponents with the unfortunate position of playing against such a mindset. However, not to be underestimated is the U.S.’s situation as well.
Mired in the middle of the group with 4 points, the United States has the chance to either grab the group by the horns with a victory, or fall back into Hexagonal obscurity with a draw or loss.
With so many ups and downs in the past year, Jurgen Klinsmann and the U.S. Men’s National Team are in an intriguing position. It’s one that can swing their World Cup hopes, one that can define the rest of their group play.
Was the Germany win a fluke? Will the swiss-cheese defense hurt them? Will they build on the promising win?
In the Hex, no one match is more important than another, but with such a range of possibilities that follow each different result, this match in Jamaica could set the tone for a defining three qualifying matches over the course of the next two weeks for the U.S.