For the third straight qualifying cycle, the U.S. National Team qualified as the top team in the CONCACAF region, posting a 2-0 win over Jamaica at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas, to improve to 6-2-1 in the Hexagonal Round.
Playing on his home field, Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi scored the first goal of the match and Jozy Altidore added the second as Tim Howard earned the shutout to seal the top spot in the qualifying round.
Sounders FC’s Brad Evans made his 14th appearance for the U.S. National Team and eighth in 2013, starting at right back in the final home match of the qualifying campaign.
Early in the match, Jamaica had a scoring chance on a free kick into the box from the right side. It got just beyond the fingertips of goalkeeper Tim Howard and fell to Evans at the far post and he was able to clear it from behind the rest of the defense.
Zusi subbed on at halftime for LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan and was a second-half spark for the offense. Making his 17th appearance for America, Zusi got on the end of a loose ball at the top of the box and put it past Jamaican goalkeeper Duwayne Kerr in the 77th minute for a 1-0 lead.
In the 81st minute, Edgar Castillo charged up the left side to take away an errant ball and run into the box, crossing to Altidore for the tap-in and his 21st career international goal.
The win puts the U.S. out of reach from second-place Costa Rica, who fell 1-0 to Honduras on Friday.
Evans made his first start at right back for the U.S. against Germany in a friendly just before a qualifying match against Jamaica in June. He then started three straight World Cup qualifiers and even netted the match-winner against Jamaica in the latest winning goal in U.S. Soccer history with his goal two minutes into stoppage time. A calf strain kept him out of international play in the previous round of qualifiers last month, but now he is healthy and back in uniform, making his fourth start in the Hexagonal Round. In those four matches, the U.S. has three shutouts.
The United States will play its last match in the Hexagonal Round on Tuesday against Panama in Panama City.