U.S. approaching must-win territory 

September, 8, 2012

KINGSTON, Jamaica -- If there were any doubts about what exactly went wrong for the U.S. during Friday night's 2-1 loss to Jamaica, Tim Howard made sure to drive the point home in his postmatch interview.

"It comes back to concentration," Howard said. "Our concentration wasn't nearly good enough."

The U.S. keeper repeated the word four more times in a six-minute span, lamenting the silly fouls the Americans gave away around the 18-yard box, two of which led to Jamaica's goals.

He wasn't alone.

"We have to put a little more effort into it," said central defender Geoff Cameron. "I thought we defended pretty well. It was just a matter of giving them those opportunities that cost us."

The cost was significant. The loss, combined with Guatemala's 3-1 win over Antigua and Barbuda in Group A's other game, left the Yanks three points behind their hosts, tied for second with Guatemala on points and goal difference. They will head into Tuesday's return leg against Jamaica (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2) in Columbus, Ohio, needing a win.

Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.