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Guatemala vs. USA, World Cup qualifying: Final score 2-0, Poor showing sees USA fall out of group lead

A poor showing for the Americans puts Group C up for grabs

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Guatemala 2 - Morales 7' Ruiz 15' 

The United States Men's National Team are in a huge battle for World Cup qualification after an embarrassing 2-0 loss on Friday night in Guatemala, City. In their third World Cup qualifying match of this cycle, the U.S. played its toughest of their remaining four fixtures of this stage of qualifying and came out with a lethargic performance and it cost them big time.

The match got off to the worst possible start for the USA when the home side took the lead in the 7th minute thanks to Rafael Morales, who climbed over a slipping Mix Diskerud on a corner and headed a deflected ball past Tim Howard. A scrappy goal for Guatemala that gave them the early lead, one that will bring up questions about the U.S.' set piece marking.

Things only got worse from there for the Americans as they found themselves 2-0 down at the 15-minute mark when the pesky Carlos Ruiz beat the U.S.' offside trap and beat Howard in a 1-v-1 situation with ease through the 36-year-old's legs. Replays showed that a goal kick went straight through to Ruiz who began in an offside position, but since it was a goal kick it didn't matter.

Play finally settled down after the goal and the U.S. started to find their barrings. Alejandro Bedoya had the best chance to pull a goal back for the U.S., his 1-v-1 chance was struck straight at the Guatemala keeper and the chance went begging. The score remained 2-0 heading into the half.

The U.S. began the second half on the front foot and were denied a goal in a frantic sequence seven minutes in. Clint Dempsey and Bedoya were both robbed of goals within seconds by the Guatemala goalkeeper. Dempsey would have another golden chance minutes later but would again be denied.

Jurgen Klinsmann shifted into desperation mode with 25 minutes remaining, using all three subs and going to a three-at-the-back formation.

The change didn't pay immediate dividends as the U.S. resorted to long balls and aimless attacks. Finally with 10 minutes remaining a chance fell to second half substitute Jozy Altidore, but again Paulo Motta came to the rescue with a kick save.

Guatemala made the two early goals stand up and take home a huge 2-0 win over the USA. Trinidad and Tobago won, so that means the USA fall to third in Group C with three matches remaining.

3 Quick Thoughts

  1. The opening 15 minutes couldn't have gone any worse. (Well, it probably could have, but just go with it.) Everything that could go wrong did from Diskerud's slip to the blown offside trap. Just poor all the way around.
  2. Starting Diskerud and Bradley with no true defensive midfielder was questionable to say the least.
  3. The U.S. had plenty of chances to pull two goals back but couldn't finish when it counted, while Guatemala did.
These two teams will play again in Columbus on Tuesday. That match will kick off at 7 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN 2.