The United States men's national soccer team enters Friday night's World Qualifying match with Jamaica in need of all three points that the outcome has to offer.
After dropping a qualifying match to Honduras before beating Costa Rica and forcing an important draw with Mexico, the United States is in a good position to capitalize on its most-recent success (a 4-3 win over Germany in an international friendly) and turn that success into 2014 World Cup qualifying points.
A win over Jamaica in Kingston National Stadium on Friday night would push the U.S. ahead of Mexico in the hexagonal standings and serve to all but eliminate Jamaica from the picture with just one more match to play.
The stop in Jamaica is part of a three-match qualifying stint over the next couple of weeks that could very well decide America's place in Brazil next summer for the World Cup, which include matches against Panama and Honduras in the coming days.
With the focus of the Americans firmly on finding consistent play in the midfield and avoiding a letdown against a lesser opponent, Friday night will be a good test for Jurgen Klinsmann's team moving forward.
We've got you covered with the match information, live stream link, World Cup qualifying standings and a match preview below.
When: Friday, June 7 at 9:20 p.m. ET
Where: Kingston National Stadium, Kingston, Jamaica
Watch: beIN Sport
Streaming: beIN Sport Play
CONCACAF World Cup Standings (as of 6/7/13)
*Standings via Fox Sports.
The United States got back on track after a rough loss to Belgium in a friendly with a 4-3 win over Germany, a match that gives this group some momentum heading into a must-win game against Jamaica.
If you'll remember, the United States suffered a letdown against the Jamaicans last September, when they lost a 2-1 match that marked the first time the side had ever beaten their American counterparts in an international match, as chronicled here by Graham Parker of The Guardian.
The U.S. avenged that loss a few days later, but the stakes are high yet again as another loss or draw against Jamaica would put a severe damper on this squad's ability to lay claim to continued success in the 2014 World Cup.
The USMNT website put out this helpful guide prior to Friday night's showdown, and in it, the stats note that the U.S. has never beaten the Reggae Boyz (0-4-1) on Jamaican soil in a World Cup qualifying match.
One saving grace for the Americans heading into the match is the inclusion of star midfielder Michael Bradley in the lineup alongside American captain Clint Dempsey. As noted by Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated in this preview for the match, Bradley has been the glue to hold the Americans together so far in this current cycle.
Bradley didn't play in the 4-2 loss to Belgium, but was back on the pitch against the Germans, and his presence seemed to give the U.S. a spark and a discipline in the passing and possession department that will be important to keep Jamaica from pushing the ball on the counter attack.
Fox Sports' Leander Schaerlaekens spoke with Dempsey prior to the match, and the captain feels that a win over the Reggae Boyz would give the Americans some momentum to really crash the World Cup party:
Winless so far in the current hexagonal standings, Jamaica desperately needs a win to keep pace with the rest of the table in the qualifying standings. Jamaica's Football Federation website also put together a preview for the match, hoping that forward Theo Robinson and midfielder Garath McCleary can provide enough spark up front for Jamaica to pull off the upset and keep hope of Brazil alive.
History doesn't favor the Americans in this match, but desperation and recent success, as well as talent on the roster, do. It should be an exciting match in Jamaica on Friday, as qualifying matches are never taken lightly with the World Cup just over the proverbial horizon.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan, Tim Howard, Tally Hall
DEFENDERS (8): DaMarcus Beasley, Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron, Edgar Castillo, Omar Gonzalez, Clarence Goodson, Fabian Johnson, Michael Parkhurst
MIDFIELDERS (9): Michael Bradley, Joe Corona, Brad Davis, Brad Evans, Stuart Holden, Jermaine Jones (Schalke), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur), Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Donovan Ricketts, Dwyane Miller, Duwayne Kerr
DEFENDERS (5): Nyron Nosworthy, Adrian Mariappa, Jermaine Taylor, Lloyd Doyley, Alvas Powell
MIDFIELDERS (12): Jobi McAnuff, Garath McCleary, Dane Richards, Jermaine Johnson, Demar Phillips, Jevaughn Watson, Tremaine Stewart, Jermaine Hue, Rodolph Austin, Marvin Elliot, Omar Daley, Andre Lewis
FORWARDS (4): Jermaine Beckford, Luton Shelton, Ryan Johnson, Theo Robinson
*Information from USSoccer.com and JamaicaFootballFederation.com was used to compile this report.
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