The Washington Post

U.S. national team news and notes

*The U.S. national team will arrive in Jamaica on Tuesday, three days ahead of the World Cup qualifier against the Reggae Boyz. The squad is planning to hold an afternoon workout and, because of the Jamaica vs. Mexico match at National Stadium in the evening, the Americans have had to find an alternative location.

*As planned well in advance, Houston’s Tally Hall has replaced D.C. United’s Bill Hamid as the third-choice goalkeeper behind Tim Howard and Brad Guzan. In the rotation, Chicago’s Sean Johnson filled the No. 3 role for the Belgium game last week. Real Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando will supplant Hall before the home qualifiers against Panama and Honduras.

*Midfielder Brek Shea, who missed the two friendlies with a calf ailment, will not accompany the delegation to Jamaica and seem unlikely to report for the other two qualifiers.

*Left back Fabian Johnson, who started in the midfield against Germany, left the game at halftime as a precaution, Juergen Klinsmann said. Johnson had a minor muscle concern and should be available Friday.

*With the Americans on site in Kingston, Klinsmann and his staff plan to attend the Jamaica-Mexico match, which will kick off at 9:30 p.m. ET (Telemundo).

*Why is this the only CONCACAF qualifier Tuesday? Every team was scheduled to play June 7, 11 and 18. But because Mexico qualified for the Confederations Cup, which begins on the 15th, El Tri’s schedule was moved up. After today, the Mexicans will visit Panama on Friday and host Costa Rica on the 11th before traveling to Brazil for the FIFA tournament. Jamaica’s remaining games against the United States on Friday and at Honduras on the 11th. [The complete CONCACAF schedule is available here.]

*The U.S. game Friday can be seen on beIN Sport’s English channel, starting at 9:30 ET. (BeIN Sport last year purchased the rights to most CONCACAF qualifiers, including all U.S. away match, except the Mexico City visit in March.) The outlet’s Spanish channel will show Costa Rica vs. Honduras, which begins at 10 p.m. ET.

*There are three ways for American supporters to look at the Jamaica-Mexico game:

1. Root for Jamaica, because every U.S. fan’s second-favorite team is the one playing El Tri. And a Mexico loss would drop the group favorites (three draws so far) into last place after four games. Plus, the Reggae Boyz are a likable team. (This is the easy choice.)

2. Pull for a draw, because only two points would be awarded instead of three to rival group members. (This is the logical choice.)

3. Secretly support Mexico. Here’s why: Jamaica (0-1-2) must earn three to six points this week in order to maintain realistic hope of finishing in the top three. With two losses, the Reggae Boyz are yesterday’s newz, leaving five serious group competitors for three automatic berths. A defeat to Mexico — three days before facing a well-rested U.S. squad — would inflict a severe emotional setback and cool the public’s fervor for Friday. The Boyz run on quick feet — but also on the boisterous backing at The Office. A Jamaica loss Tuesday would help level the playing field for the Americans, who lost in Kingston last fall. (This is the counterintuitive, don’t-tell-my-friends, hold-my-nose choice.)

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.
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