The United States already punched its ticket to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup. The two matches remaining in the qualifying cycle, starting with a home clash against Jamaica, will give Jurgen Klinsmann a chance to evaluate the squad.
Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley are both going to miss the final pair of qualifiers due to injury concerns. It opens the door for other players to shine as the race for a spot on the World Cup roster begins in earnest for the Americans.
On the flip side, Jamaica isn't mathematically eliminated from World Cup contention, but it's hanging on by a thread. The Reggae Boyz need everything to fall perfectly in order to reach a playoff with New Zealand. Beating the United States is the first step.
Let's check out all the important viewing information for the World Cup qualifier, followed by a breakdown of the top storyline and a match prediction.
Where: Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.
When: Friday, Oct. 11 at 6:30 p.m. ET (11:30 p.m. BST)
Live Stream: ESPN3.com
Match Odds (via Bovada)
United States: -450
Top Storyline: Which American players will strength their World Cup case?
Stalwart members of the United States squad such as Tim Howard, Landon Donovan and Jozy Altidore are heading to Brazil as long as they are healthy next summer. The same goes for the aforementioned duo of Dempsey and Bradley assuming they are at full strength.
The roster remains fluid, however. Spots are still up for grabs if players are able to impress Klinsmann and his coaching staff at both the international and club levels between now and when the announcement is made. These matches are where players can make an impact and bolster their case.
It's an effort most crucial for young players trying to prove they are ready to handle the international stage. Klinsmann needs to have confidence he can call on a player to start a must-win match and not be taking a major hit due to inexperience.
A few budding stars to watch over the next couple matches are Aron Johannsson, Terrence Boyd and Mix Diskerud, who's adapted well to the national team in previous appearances. Johannsson has also flashed a lot of upside in his few outings.
Then there's a group of veterans hoping to lock down a spot. Sacha Kljestan is perhaps the most notable. He's made 40 appearances for the United States, but hasn't been a factor since Klinsmann took over. A recent return to form with Anderlecht has him back in the picture.
All told, the Americans won't have their best lineup available for the clash with Jamaica, but it's still a strong squad. Plenty of players have something to prove, and that should help raise the team's overall level of performance.
Jamaica should be the more desperate side. It was almost able to secure a draw against the United States back in June, but Brad Evans netted a late winner for the Americans. And that was a home match for the Reggae Boyz.
This match is on the road, and their aggressiveness should play right into the United States' hands. Since Jamaica has to push forward to play for the win, the more talented American squad will have more space to operate in the final third.
Jermaine Taylor, Jermaine Johnson and Co. should put up a fight, but the U.S. should take care of business at home.
United States 2, Jamaica 1
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