When Brad Evans scored deep in stoppage time last night at the National Stadium
in Kingston Jamaica, there was a hush that would rival a mortuary, the place became so deathly silent. This was in comparison to the state of euphoria that had permeated the atmosphere just moments before when substitute Jermaine Beckford had headed the home team level from a free kick a minute before full time.
The USA had led the game from minute 30 when Jozy Altidore headed them into the lead courtesy of a Graham Susi cross. It was clear from early that the USA game plan was to stay behind the ball and try to hit Jamaica on the counter, similar to when the two teams last met at the same venue. What was also clear is that they intended to exploit the weaknesses of the inexperienced Jamaican left back Obrian Woodbine and it was from Susi getting the better of Woodbine, that the cross came which provided the opening goal.
Jamaica had a glorious opportunity to grab the equalizer great combination play between Rodolph Austin and Ryan Johnson cut the US defense open only for Austin's shot to rebound into play from the upright.
A minute later, a beautifully weighted pass from Jermaine Hue over the top of the US defense was met on the volley by Jermaine 'Teddy' Johnson whose shot went just over the bar.
The home crowd did not lose their voice then, as surely there was enough time to get back in the game. Though the score-line held until half time most Jamaican were still hopeful of at least a draw which under the circumstances would have been acceptable.
The second half was more of the same as the US team seemed ok with sitting back and defending their lead. Jermaine Johnson was a handful for the visitors defense as his deft dribbles saw him get behind them on more than one occasion but Jamaica were unable to convert any of his crosses.
Johnson was not fully fit and was replaced midway the second half by Beckford who got the leveler for the home team to send all Jamaican fans into a state of delirium as they would have seen that goal as a glimmer of hope in their fading chances of making it to Brazil in 2014.
Evans's goal would prove to be a dagger to the heart of many however, as a deathly silence fell over the national stadium and a gloom of despair descended on an entire nation. Mathematically the dream is not over, but few would continue fantasize about the chances of the Reggae Boyz actually being a part of the world's greatest football showpiece in Brazil next year.