Dempsey and U.S. look to avenge Jamaica loss

Posted by Paul Carr, ESPN Stats & Information

The United States resumes World Cup qualifying Friday night in Jamaica, completing a stretch featuring three of four games on the road. Here are five notes to get you ready for tonight’s game in Kingston…

• The United States has lost once in 20 meetings with Jamaica, but that sole defeat was 2-1 last year in Kingston, even after Clint Dempsey scored 35 seconds into the match. The U.S. record in Jamaica is only 2-1-5, and the U.S. has never won a road qualifier versus Jamaica, drawing four times and losing once.

• Since Jurgen Klinsmann took over, Dempsey has been scoring at a torrid pace. He has 13 of 25 U.S. goals in games he has played under Klinsmann; no other player has more than three goals in those games.

Dempsey also has 7 of 13 U.S. goals this qualifying cycle, five more than any other player. That raises his career total to 12 World Cup qualifying goals, tied with Landon Donovan for most in United States history. After his two goals against Germany, Dempsey has 35 international goals, which moved him past Eric Wynalda for second most in U.S. history.

• The U.S. will look to continue its high passing rate from its two most recent friendlies. By completing 85.7 percent of passes against Germany and 83.6 percent against Belgium, the U.S. posted two of its three highest completion percentages in friendlies under Klinsmann.

There’s still room for improvement in the attacking third, though. The 64.9 completion percentage against Germany was fourth-best in a friendly in the Klinsmann era, and the 60.9 percent against Belgium was 11th.

• According to ESPN’s Soccer Power Index, the United States is the second-most-likely CONCACAF team to qualify for the World Cup, with an 83.8 percent chance of getting in. With tough road games at Honduras and Mexico out of the way, the Americans’ schedule is favorable. Four of their last six games are at home, where the U.S. hasn’t lost a qualifier since 2001.

• Leading the group with six points, Mexico is also the current SPI favorite to qualify, at 90.8 percent. Costa Rica sits third at 76.4 percent, followed by Honduras (55.9 percent) and Panama (53.0 percent). With two points from its first four games, Jamaica has only 6.0 percent odds. Under the current CONCACAF format, no team has qualified after taking only two points from its first four matches in the final round. The top three teams after the double round-robin qualify directly, and the fourth-place team gets the chance to earn a spot via a playoff versus New Zealand, the top Oceania team.

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