WASHINGTON -- Three thoughts after the U.S.'s 2-0 win against Jamaica sent the U.S. to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup:
• This was Jermaine Jones' best game since joining the U.S. team. It wasn't just that the German-American midfielder scored his first goal since switching to the U.S. cause in 2009, although his deflected second-half blast was exactly what the U.S. needed to start breaking open a tight game. Jones also covered a tremendous amount of ground from his defensive midfield position, especially on the left side when fullback Eric Lichaj moved forward in the attack. Jones is an emotional player, which is something the U.S. needs right now, but he has to keep an eye on it, too: an unnecessary retaliation yellow card in the first half meant that Jones could (and maybe should) have been sent off for a second yellow upon taking a dive in the second half. Instead the call went the U.S.'s way, and Jamaica's Jermaine Taylor was given a red card on the play, even though there was no contact.
• Juan Agudelo is going to have to play beyond his years. The 18-year-old forward had to come on in the 12th minute for Jozy Altidore, who suffered a left hamstring strain and came off the field with his face in his hands. Agudelo didn't have a huge impact on the game, but he did fire a nice pass to Clint Dempsey for the U.S.'s second goal, which iced the game. If Altidore isn't able to go in the semifinals on Wednesday, it seems likely that Agudelo will once again get the call. Will he be up to the task? Agudelo got off to a hot start in a U.S. uniform, scoring in two of his first three games, all as a substitute, but he has found the going a bit rougher as a starter, failing to score yet when he has been in the lineup.
• Landon Donovan isn't used to being on the bench. The most decorated U.S. player started on the bench for the U.S. for the first time since June 9, 2007, after arriving at 7 a.m. Sunday on a flight back from his sister's wedding in California. Donovan came on in the 66th minute for Alejandro Bedoya, who had a solid game in his place, and Donovan will no doubt be happy that his wedding sojourn (and that of Dempsey, who arrived at 2 a.m. from his sister's wedding in Texas) won't be the main talking point after this game.
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