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Soccer: U.S. men draw with Jamaica, drop to second in World Cup qualifying

Soccer: U.S. men draw with Jamaica, drop to second in World Cup qualifying
United States Men's National Team coach Gregg Berhalter (L) led his team into second place through eight matches in the final stage of CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers. Photo by Bienvenido Velasco/EPA-EFE

Nov. 17 (UPI) -- The United States Men's National Team followed its win over Mexico with a 1-1 draw with Jamaica, dropping to second place in its CONCACAF World Cup qualifying group.

U.S. forward Timothy Weah scored in the 11th minute of the draw Tuesday at Independence Park in Kingston, Jamaica. Jamaica striker Michail Antonio scored the equalizer in the 22nd minute.

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The Americans controlled 62% of the possession and outshot Mexico 9-6. They now sit one point behind Canada in the CONCACAF qualifiers standings. Canada jumped to the top of the group with a 2-1 win over third-place Mexico on Tuesday in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

"In the locker room you could tell that this group wasn't happy with the point," U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter told reporters. "That's a good thing. It shows that this group is highly motivated to win games and has high expectations for its performance."

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Weah did a give-and-go pass sequence with fellow forward Ricardo Pepi to setup the lone U.S. score. He dribbled around two defenders, played a ball off to Pepi and ran into the box. Pepi then jumped in front of a defender and sent a pass back to his teammate with his first touch.

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Weah brought the ball in, tapped his dribble between two defenders and finished the play with a left-footed shot, which flew right in front of Jamaica keeper Andre Blake. The shot then hit the far post and went into the net.

Jamaica answered with a screamer of an equalizer about 11 minutes later. Center midfielder Devon Williams headed a pass to Antonio just past midfield to spark that goal. Antonio dribbled up the field and put a move on a defender while about 30 yards from the goal. He then rifled a right-footed shot toward the near post.

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The shot went through a crowd of defenders and found the upper right corner of the net.

The Americans and Jamaicans continued to trade attempts down the stretch, but could not finish for a go-ahead score. Jamaica's best chance came in the 53rd minute when forward Bobby Reid sent a shot from point-blank range over the net.

U.S. forward Christian Pulisic entered in the 66th minute, but did not register a shot attempt.

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The U.S. men totaled four wins, three draws and a loss through eight games in the final round of World Cup qualifiers. They battle El Salvador in another qualifier Jan. 27. Canada faces Honduras in another qualifier on the same date.

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The top three teams through 14 matches in the CONCACAF group qualify for the 2022 World Cup. The fourth team will go to an intercontinental playoff in June.

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