The U.S. Men’s National Team failed to show up against Guatemala on Friday night, and Jurgen Klinsmann’s side now finds itself in a precarious position in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying.
Rafael Morales and Carlos Ruiz netted first half goals for the hosts, leading Guatemala to a dominant 2-0 victory over the USMNT on Friday night at the Estadio Mateo Flores. With the loss, the U.S. currently sits third in Group C, with the Americans left to face each of the three other sides in the group once more.
Guatemala netted the opening goal just seven minutes into the match after Morales headed home a corner kick. Mix Diskerud was the closest player to the ball for the Americans, however, he wasn’t able to clear for the away side.
Guatemala stunned the U.S. again in the 14th minute, doubling their lead at 2-0 as Ruiz beat goalkeeper Tim Howard on a breakaway following a Guatemala goal kick. For the second time in the opening quarter hour, the U.S. backline looked quite vulnerable, as the 36-year old Ruiz darted past the defense with ease.
The U.S. struggled severely in the attacking third over the opening 45 minutes, mustering up just one shot on goal. Bobby Wood, stationed up front as the lone U.S. forward, failed to see much of the ball and that led to the team’s offensive inefficiencies.
Darlington Nagbe’s introduction for Mix Diskerud at the half changed the complexion of the U.S. attack. The Portland Timbers midfielder was one of the few bright spots for Klinsmann’s side, looking very comfortable taking players on.
In the 52nd minute, Guatemala goalkeeper Paulo Motta made a crucial double-save on Clint Dempsey and Alejandro Bedoya to preserve the shutout. The forward move for the U.S. was the first positive pressure for the traveling side after halftime.
Ruiz nearly found his second goal of the night in the 71st minute following another Guatemala corner kick. The forward’s attempt smacked off the crossbar, keeping the deficit at two for the Americans.
Jozy Altidore, who found his way into the match in the 66th minute for Omar Gonzalez, had an opportunity to close the gap with about 10 minutes remaining, but Motta made a big kick save for the Guatemalans.
The two teams will meet again on Tuesday at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Despite the struggles for the U.S. in the attacking third, Paulo Motta came up huge on several occasions for the Guatemalans. Saves on Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore in the second half preserved the lead for the home side, although Guatemala was the deserving winner.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
After having already conceded a goal in the opening 10 minutes, the U.S. backline fell victim to another lapse just minutes later when Carlos Ruiz doubled Guatemala’s lead. A routine goal kick for the home side caught the U.S. defense napping, and Ruiz was able to dash through beat Howard.
MATCH TO FORGET
Simply put, the U.S. played poorly from start to finish. While the team didn’t perform well on the field, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann will certainly have to answer several questions regarding his tactics heading into the match.