RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 26: Jozy Altidore of the United States looks dejected during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen match between USA and Ghana at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on June 26, 2010 in Rustenburg, South Africa. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

USA Vs. Guadeloupe, Gold Cup 2011: USMNT Sneaks Into Quarterfinals After Poor Performance

It wasn't pretty for the United States, but they did just enough to sneak into the quarterfinals, where they will face Jamaica this weekend.

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USA Vs. Guadeloupe Final Score, Gold Cup 2011: USMNT Wins 1-0 In Ugly Match

Rarely is any win widely labeled as a failure, but the United States have captured that rare distinction tonight with their embarrassing 1-0 win over Guadeloupe. Though Jozy Altidore hit a fantastic strike in the 9th minute to put the United States up 1-0, they missed an absolutely unbelievable volume of chances and played completely lackadaisical throughout the second half. Guadeloupe hardly showed up to the game, and the fact that they were only able to win 1-0 in a must win game at home against such a poor side is extremely disappointing.

The general consensus is that the performance they put in tonight would get the USMNT embarrassed by Mexico and beaten quite easily by Jamaica and Costa Rica, so they will have to bring a much higher level of focus and energy against the Reggae Boyz 

Clint Dempsey, in particular, had what can only be described as one of the worst games of his professional career. The attacking midfield player has been great for Fulham and the United States over the years, which is exactly what made his performance so shocking. He could have very easily had a hat trick, and his 75th minute miss was worthy of an all-time great misses lowlight reel.

Even more puzzling than the United States' atrocious finishing and their seemingly limited effort in the second half were the substitutions that Bob Bradley made. Despite the fact that his team had all of the possession and Guadeloupe appeared to have no chance to make anything happen, he brought in midfielders for strikers with his first two substitutions, then made a like for like change with the third. The decision to sit back and try to kill off a game in which his team held a 1-0 lead against an inferior opponent was baffling.

This was about the least impressive win that the United States could have possibly posted, and they look like a team that will be defeated by Jamaica without much of a problem. They have the rest of the week to sort themselves out, and despite the bad performances so far in Gold Cup, that quarterfinal matchup should be a close one.


USA Vs. Guadeloupe Score, Gold Cup 2011: Jozy Altidore Goal Has USMNT Up At Halftime

The United States only has one goal to show for their performance so far against Guadeloupe, but they've been absolutely dominant in the first half and they'll be happy to lead at halftime. Jozy Altidore has the only goal, an absolute stunner from 25 yards out to give the USMNT a 1-0 lead, but it could have been so much more.

Compared to the first two games, the United States looks like a team with quite a few ideas, and they could have very easily scored four or five goals in the first half. Guadeloupe have been very poor, allowing the United States to keep the ball easily as well as getting caught by the offside trap over and over. Clint Dempsey has had a couple of shots saved, and he also has a couple of very bad misses. Chris Wondolowski is far and away the unluckiest man on the field, and he could have a hat trick on a different day. He's been fantastic, both off the ball and creating shooting opportunities.

Still, the United States can't let their guard down. Their high line has caught Guadeloupe offsides on numerous occasions, but pushing Eric Lichaj and Steve Cherundolo so high up the pitch leaves open space down the flanks for Guadeloupe to exploit. Cherundolo has been arguably the man of the match so far, but Guadelupe's complete lack of attack down the right wing has allowed him to operate as something closer to a winger than a fullback. 

If the current run of play continues, the United States will find another goal, but some of Guadelupe's counters indicate that they're just one right step away from making the USMNT pay for not converting their earlier opportunities.


USA Vs. Guadeloupe, Gold Cup 2011: USMNT Up On Jozy Altidore Goal

Nine minutes into their Gold Cup game against Guadeloupe, the United States have a massive 1-0 lead. It's exactly the start that they needed after their poor performance against Panama, and they can thank Jozy Altidore for the current score. Guadeloupe have pushed forward and actually put the USMNT under some pressure, but Altidore's goal should settle them down considerably.

Franck Grandel probably should have done a lot better than he did with Altidore's shot, but that's not to take anything away from Altidore. Though Grandel's positioning on the goal was poor, the goal came on an absolute bullet of a shot, ripped into the back of the net from 25 yards out, beating Grandel at his near post. It's never good for a goalkeeper to be beaten at his near post from distance, but there are a lot of very good keepers who would have failed to stop Altidore's shot, due to the incredible power he was able to put behind it.


USA Vs. Guadeloupe, Gold Cup 2011: Both Teams Creating Chances Early

Both the United States and Guadeloupe have had fantastic opportunities early on in their Gold Cup contest, and it seems doubtful that this is going to be a game where the viewers wait an extended period of time for the goals to come. After just six minutes of play, both teams have narrowly missed opportunities to score, and with both teams desperately needing a positive result, that's likely to continue.

Guadeloupe had the first big chance, coming close to scoring twice on a corner kick in the third minute. The first attempt was deflected off Landon Donovan, who attempted to clear, but the ball fell to Stephane Zubar. He ripped a shot, but it hit the crossbar and deflected out. Just three minutes later, Clint Dempsey was hauled down by Stephane Auvray 25 yards outside the box. He took the ensuing direct free kick and he hit it well, forcing Franck Grandel into a very impressive save,


Canada Vs. Panama Score, Gold Cup 2011: 1-1 Full Time

Canada appeared to have a trip to the quarterfinals sealed in their Gold Cup match against Panama, while United States fans were celebrating as well. With Canada leading 1-0, the United States would have a chance to win Group C and avoid a tough opponent. Panama scored an equalizer in stoppage time, and now it is impossible for the United States to win the group, as Panama has clinched. Canada will now require a Guadeloupe win to advance.

Dwayne De Rosario both created and scored the opener for Canada in the second half, drawing a penalty after he was shoved down attempting to get to a Will Johnson header into the box. He blasted the ball into the back of the net, and Canada held the lead well into the second half. However, Panama scored on a scramble in stoppage time, as substitute Luis Tejada finished after a bobble by Canada goalkeeper Milan Borjan. The game ended with a 1-1 final score, and Panama will face either El Salvador or Guatemala in the quarterfinals.


USA Vs. Guadeloupe, Gold Cup 2011: Lineups

Bob Bradley, unhappy with his team's performance against Panama over the weekend, has opted to make some changes to his United States team. Fans might not be happy about a few things, namely the lack of a significant tactical change and the lack of Alejandro Bedoya or Sacha Kljestan - the last game's two effective substitutes - in the team, but change is change. After the last game, changes needed to be made, and we'll have to wait and see whether or not Bradley's changes were drastic enough for tonight's Gold Cup match against Guadeloupe. Here are the lineups.

USA lineup: Howard; Lichaj, Bocanegra, Goodson, Cherundolo; Donovan, Bradley, Jones, Dempsey; Altidore, Wondolowski

Guadeloupe lineup: Grandel; Zubar, Tacalfred, Viator, Ictoi, Loval-Landre, Gamiette, Auvray, Racon, Socrier, Nabab

The United States should stay in a 4-4-2 formation, their preferred formation from the previous two games. Eric Lichaj will play left back, Carlos Bocanegra will move back inside, and new face Chris Wondolowski will play up top. Wondolowski had a bad miss against Panama, but he looked good otherwise and perhaps more importantly, his finishing has been lethal over the last 18 months for the San Jose Earthquakes.


Canada Vs. Panama, Gold Cup 2011: Lineups

The United States and Guadeloupe play a huge game later tonight, but Canada and Panama kick things off with an equally important match. Panama are simply playing for quarterfinal seeding, while Canada's backs are against the wall. Here are the lineups.

Panama lineup: Mejia; Baloy, Henriquez, Dasent, Machado, Davis, Gomez, Quintero, Bonaga, Perez, Renteria    

Canada lineup: Borjan; McKenna, Hainault, Klukowski, Johnson, de Guzman, De Rosario, Ledgerwood, Simpson, Dunfield, Jackson  

Expect a 4-4-1-1 lineup for Canada, with Dwyane De Rosario behind Simeon Jackson up top. Panama's lineup features a very notable change, with striker Luis Renteria coming in for Luis Tejada, who has been very good in the first two games of this tournament. Panama's lineup is likely to be a 4-4-2. Panama will go through to the quarterfinals of the competition no matter what, while Canada needs a win to advance. A draw would keep the Canucks behind both Guatemala and El Salvador on goal differential and put them out in 9th place.


USA Vs. Guadeloupe, Canada Vs. Panama, Gold Cup 2011: TV Schedule

The two final matches of the 2011 Gold Cup will be played at Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan with spots in the quarterfinals still very much up for grabs. The first of those will be Canada vs. Panama and will be followed by United States vs. Guadeloupe. Both matches will be on TV in English and in Spanish.

Canada vs. Panama TV Schedule, 7 p.m.: Sportsnet One, Setanta Sports Canada (Canada, English), Galavision (U.S., Spanish)

United States vs. Guadeloupe TV Schedule, 9 p.m.: Fox Soccer Channel (U.S., English), Sportsnet One, Setanta Sports Canada (Canada, English), Telefutura (U.S., Spanish)

Panama currently leads the group and can clinch the top spot with a tie. Canada can win the group by beating Panama and having the U.S. do no better than a tie with Guadeloupe. The U.S. would need to beat Guadeloupe and for Panama to lose to Canada in order to clinch the top spot.


USA Vs. Guadeloupe, Gold Cup 2011, Group C: Preview, Plus Canada Vs. Panama

If the United States loses against Guadeloupe tonight, they will miss the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup. If they draw, it's quite possible that they could end up in a quarterfinal match against Mexico in New Jersey, where they would likely face a crowd that was around one-quarter to one-third USA fans. For the USMNT and fans of the team, the only option tonight should be a win.

A win would set up a quarterfinal match against either Jamaica or El Salvador, depending on the result of the match between Canada and Panama. A quarterfinal against 3-0-0 Jamaica is probably a tougher test than United States fans anticipated before the tournament started, but the team lost control of their own destiny when they lost against Panama this weekend.

Of course, a win shouldn't be too difficult of a task. Guadeloupe have proven in the first two games of this tournament that they're probably not going to embarrass themselves, but the United States are clear favorites after Guadeloupe's one goal losses to both Canada and Panama.

Guadeloupe are a team whose potential can reasonably be spun any way that someone wants to spin it. On one hand, a very large portion of their team has experience playing high level professional soccer in France. On the other hand, their captain is out of favor and on the bench for Sporting Kansas City, arguably the worst team in Major League Soccer. No disrespect to Stephane Auvray, but Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley should be able to out-play him.

That is, provided that Jones and Bradley start. After the debacle against Panama, only four or five players can be considered locks for the starting lineup. Tim Howard, Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and Carlos Bocanegra are almost certainly not coming out, with a couple of other players being probable starts, but it would be surprising to see Bradley make absolutely no changes. Both Sacha Kljestan and Alejandro Bedoya made positive impacts off the bench, while the central defense partnership of Tim Ream and Clarence Goodson looked shaky. It seems reasonable to expect that changes will be made.

Tonight, the United States should defeat Guadeloupe and seal a quarterfinal date with a tough, but beatable opponent in Jamaica or a very beatable opponent in El Salvador.  For their sake, the USMNT should probably try to convince themselves that they're underdogs.

Canada vs. Panama

Despite Panama's win over the United States, this game is probably a bit of a push when it comes to predicting an outcome. Both teams have some fantastic veteran players, while both teams also have some obvious flaws. Josh Simpson is going to have to perform better for Canada than he did in their first two games, while Simeon Jackson will have his hands full with central defender Felipe Baloy, who managed to erase Jozy Altidore from large sections of the last game.

Panama's strikers Luis Tejada and Blas Perez have looked like a great combination in this tournament, and they, along with Baloy's play at the back, will probably be the deciding factor. The defense of Canada is shaky at times, and it wouldn't be surprising to see Tejada and Perez catch them out on the counter.

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