Nov 15 (Infoday) – The United States are flying high after an emotional win over Mexico put them top of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying table and they have promised to bring the same level of competitiveness into their next match against Jamaica.
The U.S. forward line received a timely boost with the return of attacking midfielder Christian Pulisic for last week’s 2-0 victory over Mexico but the Americans do not want that result to affect their mindset for Tuesday’s match in Kingston.
“For us it’s about not letting the last game affect what we are doing this game,” U.S. defender Walker Zimmerman said on a video call on Monday.
“It’s another chance for three points, a big opportunity for us to continue to climb up in the standings and put ourselves closer to the ultimate goal which is qualification.”
The U.S. have 14 points from seven games at the midway stage of the qualifying campaign, level on points with Mexico but ahead on goal difference.
Canada and Panama, with 13 and 11 points respectively, are also still in the mix for a top-three spot and an automatic spot at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Jamaica are sixth on six points.
Despite concerns about too much youth and inexperience in the U.S. squad, head coach Gregg Berhalter said his squad have proved to be quick learners and he has noticed a change in their attitude as they work through qualification.
“What I’ve seen is just the understanding increasing of what this is all about, what these games entail and the level of competition,” said Berhalter. “And I think we’ve dealt with it in a decent way.”
The U.S. are looking to get back to the World Cup finals after failing to qualify for the 2018 tournament in Russia.
Berhalter added that while there is a positive feeling within his team, he needed to remind his players that they must bring the same level of intensity to the Jamaica match as they did against rivals Mexico.
“Our big picture is qualifying for this World Cup and all Mexico does is put us closer, but the Jamaica game can put us even closer to qualifying so for us it’s a massive game,” he said.
“You know, when I had the team meeting yesterday I said, ‘As soon as we walk out of this meeting Mexico is done. It’s in the rear view mirror.’ Now the focus in on Jamaica.”
Jamaica will be the first opponents the U.S. have played twice in this qualifying campaign, having beaten the Reggae Boyz 2-0 in Austin last month.
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