US Men’s National Team Leave Guatemala With A 1-1 Draw
The US Men’s National Team had to settle for leaving Guatemala with just a single point after Chicago Fire midfielder Marco Pappa brought the score line to 1-1 by freezing Tim Howard with a free kick in the 82nd minute. The tie keeps the US on top of Group A with four points in two games. It also gave Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad a 2-1-2 record for his “five-game tournament.”
The opening minutes set a tone that would persist for the rest of the game as Guatemala came at the US attackers with hard tackles and tight marking in their own half. For most of the first half the Guatemalans kept 6-8 players behind the ball when defending and then looked to utilize long and diagonal balls toward former MLS forward Carlos Ruiz to test a US back line that had forced a number of questions the past few games.
One question was answered when the starting line-up was announced and Fabian Johnson made his return at left back. This allowed for Bocanegra to stay in his preferred spot at the center of the defense next to Clarence Goodson while also keeping Oguchi Onyewu on the bench after his poor performance against Antigua & Barbuda.
Going the other way, the Americans dominated the possession, but struggled to link together enough passes to create dangerous chances during the run of play with the limited amount of space that Guatemala gave them when the ball came into their half. The tight marks and hard challenges gave the US a few set pieces in dangerous areas, but the US failed to test the keeper despite trying a number of different types of services.
Although Guatemala finished with a sizable lead in fouls committed by the end of the game, it was the US who first ended up in the referee’s book when Clarence Goodson was cautioned for a hard tackle in the 23rd minute.
Fouls in dangerous areas plagued the US defense throughout the game, beginning in the 31st minute when Tim Howard faced his first shot on goal from Ruiz who sent a free kick straight at the Everton keeper. Seven minutes later Ruiz tested Howard again after he caught Johnson ball-watching and ran onto a through ball in the box. Ruiz slammed a shot from the corner of the six yard box, but Howard stood firm, keeping the ball out.
Two minutes later Johnson made up for his defensive gaff on the other side of the field when he found Clint Dempsey at the top of the box. Dempsey calmly collected the ball and pushed it past a sliding Guatemalan defender then slipped a low shot under the hand of a diving Ricardo Jerez for his 27th career goal for the US.
Just before the halftime whistle, Ruiz had a golden chance to pull his team level after getting past Maurice Edu and Michael Bradley, but Ruiz pulled his shot from the top of the box wide of the goal.
During halftime, head coach Ever Hugo Almeida used all three of his team’s substitutions to take off Jose Contreras, Carlos Figueroa and Mario Rodriguez in favor of Manuel Leon, Marco Pappa, and Dwight Pezzarossi. Alemdia used the same tactic in Guatemala’s loss to Jamaica. The US settled for a single substitution bringing on Geoff Cameron for Goodson.
The second half began much like the first half did, but in the 51st minute Guatemala were finally punished for their persistent fouls when Luis Rodriguez earned the team’s first of two cautions.
The insertion of Marco Pappa into Guatemala’s attack also started to cause the US defense more problems than they had faced during the first half, but the Americans held strong, frustrating Pappa enough that he earned a yellow card in the 61st minute.
Michael Bradley was also cautioned at the hour mark for time-wasting when Bradley, who was waiting for Dempsey to fully recover from a foul he suffered, didn’t take the resulting free kick quick enough for the referee.
In the 64th minute Jozy Altidore came on for Hercules Gomez, who did well to keep the Guatemalan defense on their toes, but failed to get a shot on goal. Minutes later Altidore flubbed a chance with Maurice Edu after the pair failed to get on the same page when the US had the ball at the top of the Guatemalan penalty box.
Guatemala responded with two near chances starting with a shot from distance in the 68th minute by Pappa that deflected off Bradley and ended up just outside of the near post. The resulting corner nearly provided Guatemala with a much needed goal, but Ruiz skied his shot on goal after Howard made the initial save on Luis Rodriguez.
In the 78th minute it looked as though the US doubled their lead when Altidore found himself 1v1 with the keeper after Dempsey was taken down at the top of the box. Altidore buried his shot, but the Americans were not given advantage and the play was whistled dead. Things were made worse when Jermaine Jones sent the resulting free kick up over the goal.
Then in the 82nd minute Johnson turned villain again when he was whistled for a foul on Ruiz outside of the box, earning a caution (the team’s fourth). With most of the field players in the wall in front of Howard’s goal, Pappa sent the ball over the wall and underneath the crossbar to tie the game. All Howard could do was take a step to his left before the ball was in the back of the net.
The US tried to answer, but by the end of the game it appeared that Klinsmann was satisfied with a draw on the road, using his final substitution in the 3rd minute of stoppage time to bring Kyle Beckerman on in place of Landon Donovan.
USA – Clint Dempsey (Fabian Johnson) 40th minute
GUA – Marco Pappa (free kick) 83
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 21-Clarence Goodson (20-Geoff Cameron, 46), 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 23-Fabian Johnson; 7-Maurice Edu, 4-Michael Bradley, 13-Jermaine Jones; 10-Landon Donovan (14-Kyle Beckerman, 90+3), 8-Clint Dempsey, 9-Herculez Gomez (17-Jozy Altidore, 64)
Subs not used: 2-Michael Parkhurst, 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 11-Joe Corona, 12-Brad Guzan, 16-Jose Torres, 19-Chris Wondolowski
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
GUA: 1-Ricardo Jerez Jr.; 4-Erwin Morales, 5-Carlos Gallardo, 14-Luis Rodriguez, 3-Elias Vasquez; 6-Wilfred Velasquez, 11-Jose Manuel Contreras (15-Manuel Leon, 46), 18-Carlos Figueroa (16-Marco Pappa, 46); 10-Mario Rodriguez (17-Dwight Pezzarossi, 46), 20-Carlos Ruiz, 19-Marvin Avila
Subs not used: 2-Rafael Morales, 7-Jose del Aguila, 8-Gonzalo Romero, 9-Jairo Arreola, 12-Paulo Cesar Motta, 13-Alejandro Galindo, 21-Juan Paredes, 22-Minor Lopez, 23-Jonathan Lopez
Head coach: Ever Hugo Almeida
Stats Summary: USA / GUA
Shots: 11 / 13
Shots on Goal: 3 / 4
Saves: 3 / 2
Corner Kicks: 2 / 4
Fouls: 14 / 22
Offside: 2 / 5