US rebounds, edges Jamaica
This story is from BostonGlobe.com, the only place for complete digital access to the Globe.
The fans carried Herculez Gomez, and he helped carry the United States to a significant World Cup qualifying victory.
The US rebounded from a loss at Jamaica last week and moved back into a tie for its group lead by beating the Reggae Boyz, 1-0, Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio.
Gomez curled in a free kick in the 55th minute for all the offense the Americans needed on a night of high emotion and red, white and blue support.
‘‘That was an awesome homecoming,’’ Gomez said. ‘‘You couldn’t ask for more. The crowd was great, and the guys fed off of it.’’
After hitting the frame three times in a dominant first half as goalkeeper Dwayne Miller made several sparkling saves, the US went ahead after Clint Dempsey was fouled by Rodolph Austin. Gomez’s drive from 28 yards went over the defensive wall and to the left of a diving Miller.
‘‘It was important for us to regroup after what happened in Jamaica,’’ Gomez said of the 2-1 loss in Kingston on Friday night. ‘‘We knew it wasn’t our best performance and we had to step forward and apply today. With the help of the crowd, we pushed deep and persevered. It wasn’t always pretty, but I think we did it very well.’’
The US, which made five changes to its starting lineup, is tied with Guatemala (2-1-1) at seven points in Group A of the North and Central American and Caribbean semifinals. Jamaica (2-1-1) also has seven points but trails on goal differential. In Tuesday’s other Group A game, Guatemala won, 1-0, at Antigua on a 26th-minute goal by Carlos Ruiz.
The top two nations advance to next year’s six-team regional finals, which will produce three qualifiers for the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
Seeking its seventh straight World Cup appearance, the US plays at Antigua and Barbuda (0-3-1) on Oct. 12, then completes the semis four days later against Guatemala at Kansas City, Kan.
. . .
Elsewhere, Spain opened the defense of its World Cup title with a 1-0 win at Georgia on Roberto Soldado’s 86th-minute goal while England stumbled to a 1-1 tie at home against Ukraine.
Italy and Germany failed to impress despite victories on the second day of European qualifying.
Italy got past Malta, 2-0, on goals from Mattia Destro in the fifth minute and Federico Peluso in second-half injury time. Germany (2-0), which leads Group C, won, 2-1, at Austria on Marco Reus’s goal in the 44th minute and Mesut Oezil’s penalty kick in the 52d.