The Star Democrat
POINT WELL TAKEN
Weah’s goal gains U.S. bumpy 1-1 draw at Jamaica in qualifier
KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Tim Weah’s 11th-minute goal was matched by Michail Antonio’s spectacular 34-yard strike in the 22nd minute, leaving the United States with a 1-1 draw against Jamaica in a World Cup qualifier on Tuesday night.
Coming off Friday’s 2-0 home win against Mexico, the U.S. was looking to move into strong position to reach the World Cup as qualifying passed the halfway point. But a point on the road still left the Americans on track to claim one of three spots from North and Central America and the Caribbean.
The U.S., which survived a disallowed Jamaican goal in the 84th minute, has 15 points going into its final six qualifiers. Pending late games, Mexico was next with 14 followed by Canada (13), Panama (11), Jamaica (seven), Costa Rica and El Salvador (six each) and Honduras (three).
Canada played Mexico in 20-de
gree weather with snow expected in Edmonton, Alberta. Costa Rica hosted Honduras and Panama was home against El Salvador.
Loud reggae played on speakers during warmups before a crowd of 1,100 at 35,000-seat Independence Park, known as The Office, where a statue of Bob Marley sits outside. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this was Jamaica’s first home game with fans since October 2019.
The scoreboard was off, and there was no visible game clock. The temperature was a comfortable 83 degrees for the 5 p.m. start.
U.S. passing was not as crisp on the rough field as it was during last week’s game at the sparkling new stadium in Cincinnati, and the Americans had far fewer touches in the attacking third.
Weah’s cross led to Christian Pulisic’s go-ahead goal Friday. Against the Reggae Boyz, Weah exchanged passes with Ricardo Pepe, continued his run and muscled past Bobby Decordova-Reid toward goal. From an extremely tight angle on the left side, Weah slotted the ball from 6 yards past goalkeeper Andre Blake, off the far post and in for his second international goal.
Before the game, the public address announcer introduced the 21-year-old Weah as a son of former FIFA Player of the Year George Weah — the current president of Liberia — and a mother of Jamaican descent.
The goal was only the second in the first half for the U.S. in eight qualifiers.
With Jamaica playing on the 24th anniversary of clinching its only World Cup appearance, Antonio tied the game with a solo effort, the longest-distance goal in the final round of qualifying.
The Premier League player of the month for August with West Ham, he took a touch to his right to create space from Tyler Adams and sent the ball past the outstretched left arm of Zack Steffen and just under the crossbar for his second international goal. Antonio had never before scored outside the penalty area for club or country.
A cross ricocheted off Antonee Robinson’s right shoulder in 38th but the arm was tucked in and Costa Rican referee Juan Gabriel Calderón did not blow his whistle.