Coming off a rather unconvincing win against Antigua & Barbuda, the US will take on Guatemala in the final round of group stage in world cup qualifying. Lot’s of uncertainty surrounds the US side that waited till the last minute to score the winning goal. The US will expect a tough match from Guatemala who are currently tied with the US for top of Group A. In order for the US to advance they will need to win or tie, they can even advance with a loss as long as Jamaica losses to Antigua.
Jurgen Klinsmann has to make changes tactically and with the roster. Tactically the US were weak, they played a very negative possession style, and they rarely pushed the tempo. It was puzzling to see Eddie Johnson who scored both goals drop into the midfield for long periods of time, virtually taking himself out of the game. Using two holding midfielders and hardly ever using the width. The US did not use crosses effectively either. Dempsey and Zusi didn’t have the best of games. Zusi was invisible for majority of the game and provided poor service (the exception of his assist).
The US need to play more dynamic and attack minded. They must really go for it, buy stringing together short passes working the ball inside and out. Clint Dempsey was a major let down, he needs to have the ball at his feet and take defenders on. Dempsey is the star of this team and needs to make up for Landon Donovan’s absence. If the US want to win against Guatemala Dempsey needs to elevate his play and create for the team like we know he can do.
A player that can help make the US more dynamic is bringing in Joe Corona. The youngster is smooth on the ball, a great distributor and can create. Zusi did not bring anything to the table last game, give Joe a shot. At least sub him in to cap tie him to the US. He still is not cap tied and if he wanted to could switch to Mexico or stop playing for the US.
The US will continue to be short handed in the back with absence of Fabian Johnson and Edgar Castillo. Fabian Johnson who is the starting left back is suffering from the flu and Edgar Castillo is suffering from a leg injury. With two LBs out, it forces Carlos Bocanegra outside and Clarence Goodson from the bench into the starting rotation. Goodson is sketchy in the back; he commits fouls and is slow on his feet. He brings height to the backline but is overall a downgrade.
The game will be played at the brand new Livestrong Park in Kansans City on Tuesday night at 7PM on ESPN2. USMNT are currently on a 21 home undefeated streak in world cup qualifiers. But this has been a year of first for the US. The first time the US has beaten Italy in Italy, the first time winning in Mexico, the first time losing in Jamaica.
This is will be a nerve racking affair for the US fans. It will test us and keep us on edge. At times you will want to look away but you can’t keep your eyes off of it. Expect Guatemala to dive and flop, it is after all how they tied the game in Guatemala. At times this game is going to be ugly. Way too much at stake for both teams for this game not to turn ugly. Also at times this game will be beautiful. This is CONCACAF at its best.
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