Wednesday, 30 March 2016
USA vs. Guatemala, World Cup 2018 qualifying: Final score 4-0, The U.S. rebound with a convincing win
The United States Men's National Team entered the night in a must-win situation against Guatemala and did just that. They took care of business against very poor opposition and restored everyone's hopes of World Cup qualification with a 4-0 win.
Both teams came out tentative in the opening 10 minutes until the USA took the game by the horns in the form of a Clint Dempsey goal. A long ball up to Gyasi Zardes in the box got nodded down into empty space and the USMNT's second all-time leading scorer latched onto it and lashed it past Paulo Motta for the opening goal of the match. One that the Americans desperately needed to get the pressure of needing to win off their shoulders.
The U.S. continued to pile on the pressure after the goal, dominating possession in the Guatemala end of the field. The visitors never looked comfortable to begin the match and they were forced to bunker behind the ball. The pressure finally paid off in the 35th minute when Geoff Cameron got on end of a Michael Bradley free kick and nodded it past Motta to give the USA a 2-0 lead. Bradley whipped in a great ball and the unmarked Cameron made no mistake and depositing it into the goal.
One more golden chance would fall the American's way as Bobby Wood found himself in acres of space in front of goal, but his effort on goal was weak and wide of goal. The teams would head into the locker room with the score 2-0 and the U.S. firmly in control.
Within 30 seconds of the second half beginning, the U.S. found themselves with a three-goal cushion. An attack down the right side from DeAndre Yedlin resulted in Gyasi Zardes fumbling a pass to Graham Zusi who struck a low shot into the net for the American's third goal of the night and to put the result out of question.
As the match wound down all that was left was to see out the rest of minutes without incident. Unfortunately that wouldn't be the case as Michael Bradley picked up a yellow card which will suspend him for the U.S.' next World Cup qualifier in September.
With ten minutes remaining, Jurgen Klinsmann subbed on 17-year-old Christian Pulisic for his USMNT debut. Appearing in World Cup qualifier officially cap-ties Pulisic to the USA.
In the final minutes of the match Jozy Altidore cleaned up a loose ball in front of goal to make it 4-0 for cosmetics. It was a much-needed convincing performance and one that will have many breathing a sigh of relief.