Timothy Weah tiptoed through the Jamaican defense to open the scoring for the U.S., finishing from a tight angle after an impressive, unassisted run into the hosts' penalty area.
Jamaica struck back to level the score 1-1 before the 25-minute mark with a superb individual effort from West Ham United striker Michail Antonio, who smashed a shot from well outside the box that left U.S. keeper Zack Steffen no chance.
Coach Gregg Berhalter made the minimum number of changes for the match with Chris Richards and Gianluca Busio replacing defender Miles Robinson, suspended for a red card, and midfielder Weston McKennie, suspended for yellow card accumulation.
"Any time you can get a point away from home is a good thing in CONCACAF qualifying,'' Berhalter said. "For the guys to have their heads down because we wanted more is completely natural.''
Christian Pulisic was dressed to enter as a sub, as he did Friday against Mexico when his go-ahead goal in the 74th minute propelled the U.S. to a 2-0 win and into first place for the CONCACAF region at the halfway point. McKennie scored the second goal against El Tri.
The crowd at Independence Park -- Jamaica's national stadium with a capacity of 35,000 -- was limited because of COVID-19 mandates to 5,000 and the usual raucous atmosphere was lacking until the equalizer.
"We're still in a good position,'' U.S. captain Tyler Adams said. "It's going to be super-important we continue to win our home games, get points on the road when we can.''
Jamaica had been no threat until Antonio cut to the inside and ripped a rising shot from 30 yards to the upper right corner over an outstretched Steffen.
Pulisic came on in the 66th minute as the U.S. chased a winner, but neither team could find the back of the net, and Berhalter and company were forced to settle for a point that dropped them to second place in the qualifying table after Canada beat Mexico on Tuesday.
The U.S. somehow escaped giving up a second goal in the 53rd minute when Bobby Reid was alone four yards in front of the goal but sailed his attempt out of play.
On the disallowed goal, Jamaica coach Theodore Whitmore didn't have a good view from the sideline. "I wouldn't complain about the officiating,'' he said. CONCACAF does not use video review in World Cup qualifiers.
"Sometimes you don't get that call,'' Zimmerman said. "But I do think it was a foul. I think he hit me before hitting the ball.''
"He blew the whistle early, and that was a relief,'' Berhalter said.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.