The U.S. men's national team won its final winter tune-up prior to next month's huge World Cup qualifiers, beating Jamaica 1-0 Friday night on the artificial turf at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Jordan Morris scored the lone goal, working a tidy combination with Benny Feilhaber in the 59th minute for the breakthrough. The two were part of nine changes Bruce Arena made to his lineup after a 0-0 draw against Serbia, with the manager getting a good last look at his player pool before the qualifiers against Honduras and Panama at the end of March.
Another one of those new starters, Dax McCarty, nearly opened the scoring early on. The diminutive central midfielder got up to meet Feilhaber's corner kick, but his eight-yard header went just high of the bar in the seventh minute.
Feilhaber and Sebastian Lletget had active starts in the reworked U.S. midfield, trying to create for the Morris-Juan Agudelo forward tandem, though no chances tested Philadelphia Union and Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake.
U.S. goalkeeper Luis Robles was called into action in the 33rd minute after Jamaica nearly broke through against the run of play. Forward Cory Burke beat Graham Zusi down the flank and delivered a dangerous cross, which Robles instinctively reached out to deflect. It hit off the knee of trailing forward Romario Williams but out for a goal kick to end the threat.
The U.S. nearly answered a few minutes later. Off a direct ball forward, Agudelo headed it forward for a streaking a Morris, but his shot on the breakaway and from a right-sided angle was denied by Blake.
On the ensuing corner, the U.S. tried a designed play, which resulted in Lletget curling a shot just wide of the far post.
Morris delivered the long-awaited breakthrough in the 59th minute after a wonderful combination with Feilhaber. It started with an entry ball up the middle from McCarty to Feilhaber. He back-heel flicked to Morris, who then worked a one-touch combination with the Sporting KC star before receiving it back in position to score on the right side. It was Morris's second goal with the U.S., his first coming in a friendly against Mexico in April 2015, when he was still at Stanford.
The U.S. finished off the match from there, with a series of substitutions on both sides marking the final half hour. Michael Bradley, Darlington Nagbe, DaMarcus Beasley, Alejandro Bedoya and Brad Evans entered for the U.S., with goalkeeper David Bingham taking over at halftime for Robles.
Here was the USA's lineup for the match:
Here are the full rosters for both teams:
GOALKEEPERS: David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls)
DEFENDERS: DaMarcus Beasley (Unattached), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Greg Garza (Atlanta United FC), Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna) Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS: Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Chris Pontius (Philadelphia Union)
FORWARDS: Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC)
GOALKEEPERS: Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union), Ryan Thompson (unattached)
DEFENDERS: Dwayne Ambusley (Montego Bay United), Sergio Campbell (unattached), Oniel Fisher (Seattle Sounders FC), Rosario Harriott (Harbour View), Kevon Lambert (Montego Bay United), Kemar Lawrence (New York Red Bulls), Damion Lowe (Tampa Bay Rowdies), Ladale Ritchie (Montego Bay United)
MIDFIELDERS: Michael Binns (Portmore United), Omar Gordon (Montego Bay United), Ewan Grandison (Portmore United), Omar Holness (Real Salt Lake), Andrew Vanzie (Portmore United), JeVaughn Watson (New England Revolution)
FORWARDS: Cory Burke (Bethlehem Steel), Jourdaine Fletcher (Montego Bay United), Shamar Nicolson (Boys' Town FC), Allan Ottey (Montego Bay United), Romario Williams (Atlanta United FC)