(Reuters) - The United States scored twice in three minutes to secure a 2-0 win over Jamaica on Friday and ensured they finished top of the CONCACAF qualifying tournament for next year’s World Cup finals in Brazil.
The Americans, who had already booked their place in Brazil, scored through substitute Graham Zusi and striker Jozy Altidore, to end Jamaica’s slim hopes of qualifying.
Although they had not won a match in the six-nation, final phase qualifying tournament, Jamaica still had a slim chance of securing a playoff spot but that evaporated with their loss to the Americans.
After a scoreless first half, U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann replaced Landon Donovan, his country’s all-time leading scorer, with Zusi and the move paid off.
The first goal came in the 77th minute when Alejandro Bedoya broke free then fired in a low cross to Zusi who angled it past the outstretched arms of Jamaica goalkeeper DuWayne Kerr before Altidore completed a simple tap-in three minutes later at Sporting Park in Kansas City.
The win maintained the U.S. team’s unbeaten record at home in the qualifiers and took the Americans to 19 points in the standings, four points clear of their nearest rivals with only one round of matches remaining on Tuesday.
Reporting by Julian Linden in New York; editing by Greg Stutchbury