USA 1, Jamaica 0 | International Friendly Recap
The US national team continued to acclimate to the Bruce Arena era, and a goal from Jordan Morris was the difference in a 1-0 friendly win over Jamaica at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, Tenn. on Friday.
Arena rang in the changes in the second and final game to conclude the annual January training camp, with every outfield player on the squad at this game and Sunday's 0-0 friendly against Serbia in San Diego playing in at least one of the matches.
Deploying a two-forward formation, the Americans struggled to find clear-cut chances for much of the night, but found the breakthrough in the second half to end the training camp on a good note.
Jamaica almost shocked the Americans against the run of play in the 34th minute on a counterattack, with US goalkeeper Luis Robles parrying a blocked cross off Romario Williams' leg, which ultimately bounced just wide of goal.
The US found the breakthrough in the 59th minute, as Morris and Benny Feilhaber played a nifty give-and-go from the midfield into the box, capped off with Morris scoring his second career USMNT goal with an angled shot inside the box.
Following the goal, Jamaica found more of the ball and put the US defense under considerable pressure, but the hosts held firm to take the victory.
- STRONG DEBUT FOR ZIMMERMAN: Walker Zimmerman earned his first USMNT cap against Jamaica, and the FC Dallas man earned Man of the Match honors for his performance. To be fair, Jamaica did not field a full-strength lineup and their attack was muted for most of the night, but Zimmerman's sure-footed display helped prevent several Jamaican forays from becoming dangerous chances.
- FIRST WIN FOR ARENA: Yes, it was a friendly in early February, but putting up a win on Friday, even if it wasn't necessarily a vintage performance, is a boost for the US. The win gives Arena a 1-0-1 mark to begin his second tenure with the USMNT, and while the business end of the 2017 schedule starts in a matter of weeks, with World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Panama in March, spirits should be positive and at least a few players will likely have played their way onto the qualifiers roster or this summer's Gold Cup roster.
- VERY DIFFERENT RESULT: The last time these teams met, it was just down the road in Atlanta in the 2015 Gold Cup semifinal, with Jamaica producing a shock 2-1 win to help send the US to their worst Gold Cup finish since 2000. A friendly featuring two new head coaches at the respective helms and very different rosters means the circumstances of Friday's match were far different, but from the Americans' perspective they'll be happy to know that Jamaica haven't totally mastered playing the US on American soil.
- USA: World Cup Qualifier - Friday, Mar. 24 vs. Honduras (10:30 pm ET)