Jamaica Just Got Concacaf’d By One Of The Worst Calls Of The Qualifying Campaign

The USMNT lucked into a 1-1 draw with Jamaica in World Cup qualifying.

The U.S. has had its share of misfortune in Concacaf World Cup qualifying matches. For once, the nonsense that goes on during Concacaf games went the USMNT’s way.

Jamaica’s Damion Lowe had a goal called back for what I’m guessing was a foul but to be honest I’m not really sure what the ref saw, and the U.S. escaped Kingston with a 1-1 draw on Tuesday. While the result was a bit disappointing coming off a Dos a Cero win over Mexico on Friday (and taking an early lead on Tuesday), the U.S. was able to hang on for a point on the road, which keeps the Americans on track to qualify for the World Cup. 

The second half of World Cup qualifying began with the USMNT visiting hot and humid Jamaica (which felt about 100 degrees warmer than Mexico’s trip to Canada later Tuesday). Without Weston McKennie and Miles Robinson (both suspended) and with Christian Pulisic left on the bench for the opening 66 minutes (recovering from injury), the U.S. wasn’t good enough, despite Tim Weah putting his team in front in the 11th minute. Michail Antonio equalized in the 22nd minute with one of the greatest goals ever scored against the USMNT, then the U.S. got lucky.

In the 84th minute, with the score still 1-1, Damion Lowe rose above everyone to head in what appeared to be the match winner. As the entire The18 office shook our heads in disappointment, we collectively looked up to see the ball put back in play as though the goal never happened. 

Apparently, the referee disallowed the goal, though we’re still not quite sure why.

Jamaica Disallowed Goal vs USMNT

Apparently the ref thought Lowe fouled Walker Zimmerman and blew the whistle on the Jamaican. If this happened on an American goal, USMNT fans would be irate. When you consider how much physical play the referee let go, calling off the goal made little sense. 

It’s worth mentioning once again that Concacaf decided against using VAR in these qualifiers, which makes about as much sense as Jake not returning that damn scarf. 

The disallowed goal baffled all watching, including the English-language broadcast on Paramount+ and the Universo broadcast, both of which had put 2-1 on the scoreboard. 

Jamaica got Concacaf’d, plain and simple. 

And it gets worse. Earlier in the match, U.S. defender Chris Richards had a ball hit his arm in the box. While it would have been a harsh call (there was a deflection in front of him and his arm was close to his chest), it only added to Jamaica’s misfortune on Tuesday. 

Even when gifted a golden opportunity to take the lead, the Reggae Boyz couldn’t capitalize, with Bobby De Cordova-Reid skying a chance from inside the 6-yard box.

Alas, the match finished 1-1 and the teams shared the spoils.

Jamaica will undoubtedly rue the missed opportunity. The Reggae Boyz’s slow start to World Cup qualifying made this match especially important. Antonio has now scored in back-to-back qualifiers, but both ended in 1-1 draws. Before the later matches kick off Tuesday, Jamaica is four points behind Panama for fourth, the half-berth to the World Cup. 

For the U.S., this draw isn’t too terrible, especially given how close it was to defeat. If the Americans win out at home, they’ll probably be playing in Qatar, and considering they have two home games against the current bottom two (plus a rematch with Panama), it’s still looking good for Gregg Berhalter’s team.

That said, this wasn’t a great performance.

Gianluca Busio replaced Weston McKennie in the lineup and while the 19-year-old was solid, he didn’t provide the same sort of box-to-box verve for which the Juventus player is known. Chris Richards was decent replacing Miles Robinson, but the back line was unnerved often against Jamaica’s front three of Leon Bailey, Antonio and Cordova-Reid. 

It would be hard to say any U.S. player had a great game, with the lone exception being Weah. His goal was well taken, and he brought energy on the wings, though his opportunities were limited as the U.S. midfield couldn’t control the match in the same way it did against Mexico. Even the ever-steady Tyler Adams was a bit off the pace. 

The next World Cup qualifiers are not until Jan. 27, which will feel like an eternity. Pulisic will probably suffer three more injuries before then, and Gio Reyna may be able to make his return by next year. 

The Americans still control their own destiny, aided by the mysterious magic that is Concacaf.

Jamaica vs. USMNT Highlights