Guatemala took an early lead at home against the USMNT in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying en route to a 2-0 shutout at Estadio Mateo Flores. A defensive misplay led to Rafael Morales’s opening goal in the 7th minute. Guatemala took advantage again in the 15th minute, with Carlos Ruiz linking up with a goal kick to beat USMNT goalkeeper Tim Howard. It was Ruiz’s 60th international goal.
USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann subbed out Mix Diskerud for Darlington Nagbe at halftime, with his squad pressing for goals. They came close in the 52nd minute when DeAndre Yedlin cut the ball back to Clint Dempsey in the Guatemala box. Guatemala goalkeeper Paulo Motta made the save, but gave up the rebound. Motta came up big again, saving Alejandro Bedoya’s shot. Though Guatemala seemed happy to hold onto their two-goal lead, they also had chances in the second-half. Morales hit the crossbar in the 71st minute.
Klinsmann used his subs to push the attack, bringing on forward Gyasi Zardes in the 59th minute for defender Michael Orozco. Klinsmann reshaped his defense again with his final substitution, subbing on forward Jozy Altidore for defender Omar Gonzalez in the 66th.
The Guatemala win combined with Trinidad and Tobago beating St Vincent and the Grenadines 3-2 in Kingstown resets Group C for Tuesday’s next match day. Trinidad & Tobago now tops the group with seven points. Guatemala is in 2nd-place with six points, the USMNT is 3rd with four, and St Vincent and the Grenadines is last with no points.
Also in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, El Salvador and Honduras finished 2-2 in Group A. Mexico shutout Canada 3-0 in Vancouver to stretch their lead to five points at the top of the group. Canada is in 2nd-place with a two point lead over El Salvador. Haiti and Panama finished scoreless in Group B while Jamaica and Costas Rica also split the points with a 1-1 draw. Costa Rica has a three-point lead over Panama and Jamaica at the top of the group.
The USMNT returns to action against Guatemala at Columbus’s MAPFRE Stadium on Tuesday (7:30pm ET – ESPN2). Trinidad and Tobago plays St Vincent and the Grenadines in Port of Spain (7pm ET – beIN Sport).
— GAME REPORT —
Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Guatemala
Date: March 25, 2016
Competition: 2018 World Cup Qualifying – Semifinal Round
Venue: Estadio Mateo Flores; Guatemala City, Guatemala
Kickoff: 10 p.m. ET (8 p.m. local)
Weather: 68 degrees; partly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
GUA 2 0 2
GUA – Rafael Morales (Jean Marquez) 7th minute
GUA – Carlos Ruiz (Paulo Motta) 15
USA: 12-Tim Howard; 20-Geoff Cameron, 3-Omar Gonzalez (17-Jozy Altidore, 66), 14-Michael Orozco (9-Gyasi Zardes, 59), 23-Edgar Castillo; 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 4-Michael Bradley (capt.), 10-Mix Diskerud (16-Darlington Nagbe, 46), 11-Alejandro Bedoya; 8-Clint Dempsey, 7-Bobby Wood
Subs Not Used: 1-Brad Guzan; 5-Matt Besler, 6-Lee Nguyen, 13-Ethan Finlay, 15-Kyle Beckerman, 18-Chris Wondolowski, 19-Ventura Alvarado, 21-Steve Birnbaum, 22-William Yarbrough
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
GUA: 12-Paulo Motta; 3-Cristian Jimenez, 4-Hamilton Lopez, 5-Moises Hernandez, 8-Jean Marquez, 9-Gerson Tinoco, 10-Jose Contreras (13-Carlos Castrillo, 71), 14-Rafael Morales, 18-Stefano Cincotta (16-Marco Pappa, 46), 20-Carlos Ruiz (17-Gerardo Arias, 89), 22-Rodrigo Saravia
Subs Not Used: 1-Ricardo Jerez, 2-Jonathan Winibacker Lopez, 6-Marco Rivas, 7-Luis Fernando Martinez, 11-Mafre Icute, 15-Luis Cardona 19-Kevin Arriola, 21-Jose Carlos Garcia, 23-Edi Guerra
Head coach: Walter Claveri
Stats Summary: USA / GUA
Shots: 8 / 10
Shots on Goal: 5 / 4
Saves: 2 / 5
Corner Kicks: 6 / 3
Fouls: 18 / 14
Offside: 4 / 1
GUA – Moises Hernandez (caution) 8th minute
GUA – Marco Pappa (caution) 78
USA – Michael Bradley (caution) 83
Referee: Jafeth Perea (PAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Ronal Bruña (PAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Baines (PAN)
4th Official: Ariel Sánchez (PAN)