|Goalkeeper Tim Howard of the U.S. blocks a goal attempt by Jamaica in a 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match in Kingston September 7, 2012. (Gilbert Bellamy/REUTERS)
KINGSTON, JAMAICA - A second-half free kick from Luton Shelton was the difference as Jamaica earned its first-ever win against the United States on Friday, topping the Americans 2-1 in a CONCACAF World Cup qualifier.
The U.S. brought an all-time record of 10-0-8 into the match, and looked set to continue its run of dominance as Clint Dempsey scored in the opening 40 seconds of the contest to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
However, Jamaica largely took control of the match after the early goal and was back on level terms in the 24th minute when a free kick from Rudolph Austin was driven into the American wall and struck the foot of Kyle Beckerman, redirecting it inside the right post.
It was a bit of a good break for Jamaica, and the hosts needed a nice save from goalkeeper Dwayne Miller to keep out a lunging effort from Dempsey just before halftime.
Miller didn't need to do a lot after the break, and Shelton struck the decisive blow in the 62nd minute with a well-struck free kick from 25 yards that sailed over the wall and dipped inside the left post.
The Americans were able to apply some pressure over the final 15 minutes, but couldn't generate a meaningful chance, dropping the U.S. team's record to 0-1-4 in World Cup qualifying matches in Jamaica.
With the win, Jamaica moves to the top of the group on seven points, while the U.S. remains on four points. However, the two sides will meet up again on American soil on Tuesday, giving Jurgen Klinsmann's team a chance to bounce back quickly.