The United States will enter the Gold Cup with a ton of confidence following their 6-0 mauling of Guatemala on Friday night. Landon Donovan made his return to the USMNT in style, netting two goals to bring his tally to 51 for his country in his career.
Guatemala was actually very good in the opening half-hour of the game. Unfortunately for them, their performance was not sustainable. They were pressuring very high up the pitch and playing at a very high tempo, and unsurprisingly, they burned out quickly. Even though they forced United States giveaways and made it hard on them in the final third, they never turned that into scoring chances. Once the U.S. scored the opener, they fell apart.
Herculez Gomez netted the first U.S. goal in the 42nd minute, finishing off an easy chance at the back post, aided by some poor defending. Jose Torres set the ball up with a great ball over the top of the defense, and the USMNT headed into halftime with a 1-0 lead.
Mikkel Diskerud and Stuart Holden entered as substitutes in to start the half and were excellent in their 45 minutes on the pitch. Both were heavily involved from the beginning of the half to the end and helped to turn the match into a beatdown.
In the 55th minute, Donovan became the first American man to score 50 international goals, converting a penalty after he was pushed down in the box. From there, the rout was on. After Alejandro Bedoya, Brek Shea and Chris Wondolowski came into the game, the latter scored his first international goal, with Diskerud providing the setup. Just one minute later, Donovan turned in a cross from Holden to make it 4-0.
Clarence Goodson hit a pretty finish into the roof of the net on a corner in the 84th minute, then Bedoya capped off the scoring in the 88th with a late run into the box, getting on the end of a cross by Shea that evaded its targets.
- Donovan's return was great. He looked a bit rusty in the opening minutes, but his final 60 were fantastic.
- Jose Torres and Kyle Beckerman weren't great, but really were not bad. While Holden and Diskerud were great, they also didn't face any kind of pressure and had plenty of space to pass and run into. Guatemala went totally nuts in the first 30 minutes and then absolutely burned out. The two sets of midfielders played under completely different conditions.
- Having said that, yeah, Diskerud and Holden were awesome. Couldn't have possibly expected more from either.
- I was pretty disappointed by Joe Corona. I expected more. Based on the performances of other players in this game, he might need to have an exceptional Gold Cup to keep his place in the main squad.
- Edgar Castillo started at left wing and was really, really bad. I'm no Castillo hater -- he had a great season at Tijuana -- but he looked out of place and out of his depth. It was rough.
- While Herc had a goal and a good game, he did nothing to challenge anyone's starting place.
- Oguchi Onyewu didn't look terrific during the time that Guatemala was actually involved in the game.
- Brek Shea looked a lot like a guy who hasn't played any competitive soccer since October. Very rusty.
- Will Bruin is a goddang wolverine. He might sneak into real squads just due to his power and work rate. He played his cameo like it was the World Cup final and his team was down a goal. I thought he was going to kill someone.
- Is our central midfield depth great or what? All four guys that played today could play in real games and not embarrass themselves. Related: Maurice Edu is having a bad day.