Continued from page 1

Klinsmann spoke after the game of having New York City firefighters talk to the team on Monday night. He said one related calmly of what it was like that day at the World Trade Center.

“Everyone was aware,” Klinsmann said of his players. “We all knew this was a very special day. The players were outstanding in how they handled it.”

The 30-year-old Gomez, born to Mexican-American parents, grew up in Las Vegas and was a member of the U.S. team at the 2010 World Cup. It was his fifth international goal and second in qualifying this year.

It was a key moment for a U.S. team missing injured midfielders Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley. Failing to win would have put enormous pressure on the Americans to win their final two qualifiers this year.

“I feel comfortable on the ball, on a free kick, striking the ball,” Gomez said. “Thankfully coach had confidence in me. So did my teammates. I struck it and it went on. I’m fortunate and happy.”

While the U.S. dominated the first half with 79 percent possession, the Americans became disorganized in the final minutes when goalkeeper Tim Howard needed to push away Austin’s shot.

Howard knew that the game would eventually tilt in his team’s favor. The U.S. improved to 5-0-2 in World Cup qualifying and 6-0-3 overall at Crew Stadium.

“This is probably one of the best homefield advantages we have,” he said. “We should play here more often.”

Jamaica coach Theodore Whitmore wasn’t surprised that the Americans reacted to the patriotic, cheering crowd.

“It was a different U.S. team,” he said. “They came out early and they were pressing us. We didn’t get any time to play until the second half.”

Friday’s loss at “The Office” had been the first for the Americans in 19 meetings between the nations. Klinsmann responded with large-scale changes.

Captain Carlos Bocanegra returned and took over in central defense from Clarence Goodson, suspended because of yellow-card accumulation. Steve Cherundolo, recovered from a strained right calf, replaced Michael Parkhurst at right back.

Klinsmann changed most of his midfield, keeping only Jermaine Jones and starting Danny Williams, Graham Zusi and Jose Torres in place of Kyle Beckerman and Maurice Edu. Dempsey moved from midfield to forward and started alongside Gomez, with Jozy Altidore going to the bench.

Zusi, playing his first competitive match for the national team, was the lone U.S. starter from Major League Soccer. He glanced a shot off the top of the crossbar from 18 yards in the sixth minute. Then in the 19th, Cherundolo’s shot bounced off the near post after Miller got a hand on the ball.

Williams, playing his best half for the national team, curled a 25-yard shot off a post in the 26th minute — resulting in loud, prolonged groans from fans who stood and cheered for most of the game.

Story Continues →