The U.S men’s national team settled for a 1-1 draw with Guatemala at the Estadio Mateo Flores on Tuesday night. Clint Dempsey scored shortly before the halftime break but the home side returned the favor at the end of the match to force the stalemate.
After a fairly even first 40 minutes with each side having some looks, the Stars and Stripes opened the scoring in the 40th minute. Fabian Johnson played provider finding Dempsey at the top of the box. The Fulham player wrong-footed and slide past the first defender and dribbled past a second before firing a shot from 17 yards out.
The U.S. looked to double their lead in the second but at the while Guatemala was getting some dangerous looks. Tim Howard was called to make a great save off a Rodriguez shot from 6 yards out and was fortunate that Carlos Ruiz skied the loose ball over the goal. The U.S. had a nervy moment after Carlos Bocanegra tracked back to cut off a Ruiz break only to for Boca’s clearance to hit off his hand. The road has never been kind to the U.S. in CONCACAF but there was no call.
Jozy Altidore was unlucky not to get his name added to the scoresheet. The forward put the ball in the back of the net only for it to be called back due to a call moments earlier at the top of the box on Dempsey. The referee, who had a good game, should have allowed the advantage the continuation goal was only seconds after the foul.
Jermaine Jones sent the ensuing free kick well over the bar and Guatemala went to the other side of the field and showed him how it is done. After a Johnson foul at the top of the box, Marco Pappa stepped up and sent his curling left footed shot off the underside of the bar for the equalizer. The well placed shot left Howard with no chance.
The best chance to regain the lead was in the U.S. sights but was not to be. Michael Bradley was played into the left side of the Guatemala box and with the option to shot at a somewhat tight angle or center the ball, Bradley choose the latter option only for Altidore to have checked his run. A few more steps and he had an easy tap in.
After the first two matches of the semifinal round of qualifying, the U.S. is on top of their group with four points. They are tied with Jamaica, who settled for a tie with Antigua and Barbuda in today’s other game, but ahead on goal differential. Jamaica hosts the U.S. on September 7.
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