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U.S. beats Jamaica in World Cup qualifier

United States players celebrate a goal by Herculez

United States players celebrate a goal by Herculez Gomez during the second half of a World Cup qualifying soccer match against Jamaica. (Sept. 11, 2012) Credit: AP

The United States rebounded from a loss at Jamaica and moved back into a tie for its group lead in qualifying in World Cup qualifying, beating the Reggae Boyz, 1-0, Tuesday night in Columbus, Ohio, as Herculez Gomez curled in a free kick in the 55th minute.

After hitting the frame three times in a dominant first half as Jamaican goalkeeper Dwayne Miller made several sparkling saves, the U.S. went ahead after Clint Dempsey was fouled by Rodolph Austin.

Gomez's drive from 28 yards went over the defensive wall and to the left of a diving Miller, who only could lightly brush the ball with his fingertips.

"It was important for us to regroup after what happened in Jamaica," Gomez said. "With the help of the crowd, we pushed deep and persevered."

A rowdy, partisan crowd of 23,881 erupted into chants of "U.S.A! U-S-A!" on a night American players said they were thinking of the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. Players circled the field after the game, waving to fans and raising their arms to celebrate.

The U.S., which made five changes to its starting lineup from Friday's 2-1 loss in Kingston, is tied with Guatemala (2-1-1) at seven points in Group A of the North and Central American and Caribbean semifinals. Jamaica (2-1-1) also has seven points but trails on goal difference.

23 in a row for Spain. Spain opened defense of its World Cup title with a 1-0 win at Georgia on Roberto Soldado's 86th-minute goal. Spain has won 23 straight qualifiers since 2007.

Italy, Germany and Portugal failed to impress despite wins on the second day of European qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Host England stumbled to a 1-1 tie against Ukraine, and France won, 3-1, at home against Belarus. Germany won, 2-1, at Austria, and host Italy limped to a 2-0 win over Malta. -- AP

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