US Player Ratings: Marked improvement in Jamaica win

Steve Cherundolo and Je-Vaughn Watson

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The US national team patiently passed a big World Cup qualifying test in Columbus on Tuesday night by topping Jamaica 1-0 with a strong squad-wide effort.

Jurgen Klinsmann's boys started knocking on the door early and just kept coming until Herculez Gomez scored the necessary goal from a free kick near the hour.

Tim Howard (7) - The netminder had his feet up until the icebreaker, but then carefully guarded against a long snake-in-the-grass shot and a few tricky corner serves.

Steve Cherundolo (7.5) - While his crossing coordinates were off, the rest of the night was vintage Cherundolo. The right back was very influential in the US build and his early shot found the post.

Geoff Cameron (6) - The Stoke City man had hardly anything to do in the first half, which showed when Luton Shelton raced by him for a shot from a decent position. However, Cameron clocked in after the US took the lead.

Carlos Bocanegra (7) - Back on the bridge, the captain spent much of his night aggressively supporting possession.

OPTA Chalkboard: US dominates run of play vs. Reggae Boyz

Fabian Johnson (7) - The left back repeatedly knifed his way toward the Jamaica area, usually toward the middle of the park. There were also a couple of potentially troublesome turnovers on his forays forward, but teammates quickly covered well.

Daniel Williams (8) - Played in his natural position, the Hoffenheim midfielder had his battle gear on this time. A bit more surprisingly, Williams freely ate up open space on the dribble, passed impeccably and rang the woodwork.

Graham Zusi (7) - Like Williams, the Sporting KC midfielder had his best night in a US shirt thus far. Zusi aided possession expertly, threatened occasionally and was one slightly lower shot from competing for Man of the Match honors.

Jermaine Jones (8) - The Schalke ace rallied from a poor showing in Jamaica to dance around the Reggae Boyz in Ohio. Jones' German rep as a big game player may have just crossed the pond.

Jose Torres (7) - Not to sound like a broken record, but this was arguably the coolest competitive USMNT match we've seen from Torres. It's proposed here that his faking step momentarily froze Jamaica's goalkeeper on the winning free kick.

Clint Dempsey (6) - While his legs and receiving touch are still in preseason form, Deuce never backs down from a good scrap.

Herculez Gomez (8) - The match-winner worked the defense with jabs until he had the chance to tee one up. Just as the nerves were beginning to rise in our soccer bubble, Gomez provided the sigh of relief with that free kick.

Coach Jurgen Klinsmann (9) - The boss more appropriately manned his 4-1-3-2 and was rewarded with the performance he originally wanted on Friday.

Subs:

Brek Shea (5.5) - The sub was a bit invisible (not entirely his fault), but also somewhat indecisive when the ball finally found him.

Maurice Edu (5) - Were it not for a couple of hair-raising passes in the US half, one could have said he was fairly solid off the bench.

Jozy Altidore (5) - The striker took several minutes to warm up to the game, with a string of failed hold-up duties. Altidore was more helpful in the waning moments.