TAMPA, FL - JUNE 08: Forward Clint Dempsey #8 of Team USA advances the ball against Team Antigua and Barbuda during the FIFA World Cup Qualifier Match at Raymond James Stadium on June 8, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

Guatemala Vs. USA: Marco Pappa's Stunner Makes USMNT Settle For Draw

Clint Dempsey put the United States up, but a sublime free kick by Marco Pappa meant the Americans only got one point.

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USA Vs. Guatemala Final Score, 2014 World Cup Qualifying: Marco Pappa Steals 1-1 Draw

The United States is in pole position to make the hexagonal from their World Cup qualifying third-round group, but they will still be disappointed to walk away from Guatemala with just a draw. The USMNT held a lead for the majority of the second half, but had to settle for a 1-1 draw thanks to a brilliant free kick equalizer from Marco Pappa.

Clint Dempsey scored the United States' goal in the 40th minute, putting the finishing touch on the team's only truly great attacking move in the first half. Fabian Johnson was the architect, providing the assist with a great run up the left flank, then a pass to the feet of Dempsey. He stepped past a defender and placed a low shot into the back of the net at the far post, giving the United States a lead at the end of a poorly played first half.

The United States didn't play much better in the second half, though they did have one good goal disallowed. In the 76th minute, Maurice Edu was hacked down on the edge of the penalty area, but the ball fell to substitute Jozy Altidore, who scored. Unfortunately for him and the USMNT, the goal was called back on a whistle. Inexplicably, the referee failed to play advantage and wiped out the goal.

That would prove to be a key decision seven minutes later, when Pappa netted the equalizer. His free kick came from 25 yards out and completely fooled Tim Howard, who was left standing still as the shot hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced into the goal.

Howard was tested much more than anyone could have expected, and even though the United States had a goal wiped out by a bad call, Guatemala should have scored two or three times before Altidore's disallowed goal. Howard made a number of excellent saves, with his biggest moment coming in the 72nd minute. He made a great save on a set piece, and Carlos Ruiz sent a rebound attempt miles over the crossbar when it would have been easier to hit the target.

Jurgen Klinsmann and the USMNT won't be very pleased with their play, and there will be plenty for the team to work on when they get back together at the end of the summer, but a draw in Guatemala isn't an awful result, and they're still heavy favorites to win the group and comfortably advance to the hexagonal round of qualifying.

Check out our Guatemala vs. USA StoryStream for all of your preview, live and post-match coverage. For more on this match and the entire world of soccer, follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter.

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USA Vs. Guatemala Halftime Score, 2014 World Cup Qualifying: Clint Dempsey Has USMNT On Top 1-0

Update: USA 1-1 Guatemala, Final Score

Not much happened in the first half of the World Cup qualifying match between the United States and Guatemala, but the USMNT heads into the locker room with a lead thanks to one individual moment of brilliance. With a goal that moved him past Joe-Max Moore on the USMNT's all-time scoring list, Clint Dempsey has the United States up 1-0 after one half in Guatemala City.

Dempsey's goal came in the 40th minute, and it was a beauty. Fabian Johnson's assist was just as impressive as the goal, as the left back made a great run down the left flank before beating a defender and playing a perfect pass to Dempsey's feet. He then side-stepped Guatemala defender Carlos Gallardo before cutting the ball back across his body and into the back of the net from 15 yards out.

The usual shenanigans that plague the United States and other big teams away in CONCACAF like poor pitch conditions, bad officiating and fans throwing things onto the field have not plagued this match thus far. That's the good news. The bad news is that, if those things aren't problems, the United States should probably be playing much better football than they are. Other than the goal, Guatemala goalkeeper Ricardo Jerez has only been seriously tested on one other occasion.

On the other end, Tim Howard has had to make a couple of saves, but the back line is doing their part. Clarence Goodson and Carlos Bocanegra look like they have a good understanding with each other in the back, though Goodson has been a bit too aggressive. He already has a yellow card, and was playing like a player asking for a sending off between the time he received it in the 23rd minute and the end of the first half.

Even though the United States struggled going forward for most of the first half, they did have the majority of the possession in a road game against respectable opposition, which is to be expected for a three-man midfield playing with Jurgen Klinsmann's possession-based tactics.

The one good attacking move from the United States resulted in a goal and was a thing of beauty, so there's nothing to be unhappy about if you're a fan of the USMNT. They could have played better in the first half, but they've done their jobs thus far.

Check out our Guatemala vs. USA StoryStream for all of your preview, live and post-match coverage. For more on this match and the entire world of soccer, follow @SBNationSocceron Twitter.

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