Jamie Squire

USA vs. Guatemala, 2014 CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying: USA advances with a 3-1 victory

After a rough start, a goal from Carlos Bocanegra and a brace by Clint Dempsey led the US to a 3-1 victory and a place in the CONCACAF hexagonal.

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USA and Deuceface defeat Guatemala 3-1

After falling behind early, the USA responded with three goals to secure their place in to the CONCACF hexagonal, the final round of World Cup qualifying.


US overcome a poor start to lead 3-1 at halftime

The United States had a nightmare start, conceding an early goal to Guatemala, but recovered well with a goal from Carlos Bocanegra and a brace by Clint Dempsey to take a 3-1 lead in to the locker room.

The US opened the match with a massive communication breakdown that allowed Guatemala to take an early lead. Geoff Cameron pushed up high along with Carlos Bocanegra, creating space behind between themselves and Tim Howard. Expecting Howard to come out to play the long ball, Bocanegra didn't break back quickly and Carlos Ruiz ran right in to the space, tapped the ball around Howard and finished from a bit of a tough angle to make it 1-0 in the 5th minute.

Four nervous minutes later, Bocanegra made up for the mistake, putting home a ball cleverly headed on by Clint Dempsey from a Graham Zusi corner kick.

Dempsey was involved again in the 18th minute, putting home a great pass from Eddie Johnson who had switched over to the right side off a defensive restart. Johnson's pass got through the Honduras defense to a charging Dempsey who went to ground and pushed his shot past Ricardo Jerez. Dempsey decided to go ahead and get another goal, tapping in a fantastic pass in the box from Michael Bradley to extend the US lead to 3-1.


USMNT up 2-1 on Clint Dempsey goal

Well, this has been wild. With Guatemala's defensive injuries and the United States' constant defensive changes, a high-scoring game shouldn't shock too many people, but this is still incredibly wild for a game between two teams who would both benefit from a draw. The U.S. have done very well to fight back from an early deficit, and lead 2-1 after 18 minutes of play.

Whether spontaneously or because of a move by Jürgen Klinsmann, Graham Zusi and Eddie Johnson swapped places. As the right-sided midfielder, Johnson drifted out to the right on a move forward and laid a low ball across the face of goal, something the right-footed speedster couldn't do on the left flank. Clint Dempsey made the perfect run and got a touch on the ball, poking it into the back of the net.

The United States appear to be sticking with their wingers opposite where they started, which makes sense. If Johnson is wide because of his pace, why not put him on the side where he can hit crosses from the byline?


Captain America brings U.S. level

And now United States fans can breathe. Captain America has lived up to his nickname and the honor of wearing the armband by firing his team back into the match against Guatemala. Carlos Ruiz's opener has been erased, and the teams are level at 1-1 after 10 minutes of play.

The goal came on a corner kick, whipped in by Kansas City's own Graham Zusi. Clint Dempsey made an excellent run from the center of the box to the near post to get onto the ball, and that run pulled the defenders away from the middle. Dempsey headed back across the face of goal, to the spot that the defense vacated, and Carlos Bocanegra was in the right spot to poke in the goal.

As bad as the U.S. start was, they'll be happy to erase the deficit and start from scratch. It's like a new game, and hopefully, for the health of supporters of both teams, this gets a little less dramatic.


Carlos Ruiz puts Guatemala up on U.S.

The United States are already trailing Guatemala in a match that they absolutely cannot afford to lose, thanks to a terrible miscommunication at the back between the two U.S. central defenders. There's really no excuse for that kind of start by the United States, and they're now seriously up against a tough task.

Carlos Ruiz was the man who put Guatemala up 1-0, scoring on a long ball over the top of the defense. Carlos Bocanegra and Geoff Cameron were not on the same page regarding where they were setting the defensive line, nor did either of them pick up Ruiz. He was let clear through on goal and rounded Tim Howard, then finished calmly from a narrow angle on an empty net.

There are 85 minutes left for the United States to get back into this match, but there's no way they could have anticipated this kind of start. That was some unfathomably poor defending.


USA vs. Guatemala: Game underway

We're underway from Kansas City, and your handsome and talented blogger is struggling to breathe. Let's be real, I'm an American and I'm not going to pretend I don't have a stake in this.

The United States have made just one change to their team, bringing Michael Parkhurst in for Clarence Goodson and moving Carlos Bocanegra back to central defense. That is truly the only change of any kind, meaning Eddie Johnson is playing left midfield again. He scored two goals against Antigua and Barbuda and deserves to be in the team, but he didn't look too comfortable in his time on the wing. However, comfortable or not, he provides athleticism and finishing skills.

Jürgen Klinsmann's team was a bit slow against A&B, but they're looking a bit quicker in the opening minutes of this match against Guatemala. Hopefully for U.S. fans, they're able to keep that up throughout the match.

Oh, and the referee has missed a handball by Guatemala 19 yards out in the 4th minute. CONCACAF refs!


United States vs. Guatemala: Lineups

The United States host Guatemala coming off the back of a close shave against Antigua and Barbados last week, but Jurgen Klinnsman has refused to drastically shake up his lineup. FC Norsdjaelland's Michael Parkhurst comes in for Clarence Goodson, with Carlos Bocanegra moving from left back to centre back to accomodate him. Other than that, it's much of a muchness, with Eddie Johnson and Graham Zusi flanking a midfield core of Michael Bradley and Danny Williams.

This team and lineup should almost certainly be good enough to get three points, so it's not as though Klinnsman's decisions will actually hurt anything, but with that said it's still pretty weird to see Eddie Johnson listed as a left winger.

United States starting lineup (4-4-2): Tim Howard; Michael Parkhurst, Chris Bocanegra, Geoff Cameron, Steve Cherundolo; Eddie Johnson, Michael Bradley, Danny Williams, Graham Zusi; Clint Dempsey, Herculez Gomez

Guatemala starting lineup: Ricardo Jerez; Ruben Morales, Elias Vasquez, Erwin Morales, Jonathan Lopes, Wilfred Velasquez, Mario Rodriguez, Jose Contreras, Manuel Leon, Carlos Figueroa, Carlos Ruiz


USA vs. Guatemala: TV schedule

The United States needs only to draw Guatemala on Tuesday to guarantee advancement into the final round of World Cup qualification.

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