Los Angeles (AFP) – Jordan Morris struck in the 59th minute to lift the United States to a 1-0 friendly victory over Jamaica, the first victory of Bruce Arena’s second spell as coach of the US men’s football team.
Arena returned to the job after Jurgen Klinsmann was sacked in November in the wake of two World Cup qualifying defeats.
Arena’s first match in charge was a scoreless draw against Serbia last week.
But with World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Panama coming up in March, the United States got a morale-boosting win in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Friday.
A clever combination between Benny Feilhaber and Seattle Sounders striker Morris ended with the latter beating substitute goalkeeper Ryan Thompson for a second international goal.
Sebastian Lletget almost doubled the lead 10 minutes later, but his header went straight to Thompson.
Arena made nine changes to the team that drew against Serbia, with Graham Zusi and Steve Birnbaum the only players retaining their places.
Luis Robles, Jorge Villafana, Walker Zimmerman, Feilhaber, Dax McCarty, Chris Pontius, Lletget, Juan Agudelo and Morris came in for Nick Rimando, Chad Marshall, Gregory Garza, Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley, Sacha Kljestan, Alejandro Bedoya, Darlington Nagbe and Jozy Altidore.
Jamaica fielded an inexperienced side with coach Theodore Whitmore without such mainstays as Jermaine Taylor, Demar Phillips, Adrian Mariappa and Leicester City captain Wes Morgan.
The Americans had their first chance in the seventh minute when Feilhaber’s crisp corner found McCarty, who nodded a shot over the crossbar.
Morris had a chance when he broke free in the box in the 38th, but Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake turned his effort aside.
Arena, who guided the US team to the 2002 World Cup quarter-finals and oversaw a first-round exit in 2006, is tasked with turning around the Americans’ qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup.
The US are off to their worst-ever start in the six-nation final round of qualifying in North and Central America (CONCACAF).
Three of six teams in the hexagonal, which now finds the US at the bottom of the table, will qualify, while a fourth will meet an Asian side in a playoff for a berth.
They will resume the qualifying campaign on March 24, hosting Honduras in San Jose, California, then play Panama in Panama City four days later.
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