Most people I know were following the game on Twitter or looking for illegal feeds that might give them viruses on their computers. Others were at bars that were willing to pay $30 for a non-HD feed that was popping in and out due to technical difficulties. 1 Regardless of all the broadcast troubles, the game did in fact occur. The United States outplayed Guatemala for almost the entirety of the game, but still only came out with one point in the standings as they tied 1-1.
The U.S. started the game in very impressive fashion. They were passing the ball beautifully including a lot of one-touch series that kept Guatemala’s midfield and defenders running. It didn’t last however. As the U.S. does too often, they started to play down to their opponent. They started to play longer balls and seemed to be chasing a little bit too often.
The field was really fast and seemed to play almost like one of those original astro-turf types of surfaces. The U.S. midfield was putting the ball through to the forwards on the ground only to watch the ball outpace its targets and roll harmlessly over the end line. The reaction to that appeared to be more long balls and ping ponging switches across the field more than the superior possession-style passing game that they opened with.
The U.S. finally scored a goal in the 40th minute when Clint Dempsey made a couple Guatemala defenders miss at the top of their own 18. He used a couple of small ball moves to make sliding Guatemalans fly by as he headed to the right side of the goal. The goalkeeper came out and tried to cut off Dempsey’s angle, but it was too late. Dempsey blasted a low roller across the goalkeeper’s body for the score.
The U.S. had one golden opportunity stolen from them by a horrible referee decision. In the second half with a 1-0 lead still, Clint Dempsey was again working just outside of the Guatemala 18 yard box. He was fouled pretty hard, and the ball leaked through to Jozy Altidore, who had a one-on-one with the goalkeeper. The whistle blew and a half-second later, Altidore put the ball past the keeper and into the back of the net. The play never should have been whistled on the continuation. There’s no telling for sure if Altidore would have scored. The keeper might have given up on the play with the whistle, so the fact that the ball ended up in the back of the net is probably not good enough evidence. It would have been nice to have a legit chance. It wasn’t meant to be and on the free kick, Jermaine Jones blasted the ball at least twenty feet over.
It would prove costly when the U.S. finally broke down and gave up a free kick deep in their own area. Marco Pappa put a beautiful touch on his shot over the U.S. wall and Tim Howard never really had a chance. Guatemala tied it up in the 83rd minute of the game on what felt like only their second or third legit attempt at scoring in the game.
Such a shame too. The U.S. could have vaulted into the lead in their group with a victory. They would have had six points, but now they are even with Jamaica who also have four. The U.S. does have the advantage in goal differential 2-1 over Jamaica. Guatemala currently holds third and Antigua and Barbuda is bringing up the rear.
Next up for the U.S. is a non World Cup match against Mexico on August 15th before playing a home and away with Jamaica in September. The U.S. plays in Jamaica on September 7th before playing at home against Jamaica on September 11th. The September home game will be played in Columbus at the Crew stadium.
- $30 for a crappy feed that looked to be about webcam quality with a halftime show that didn’t last as long as the intermission so they played an un-commented montage of plays from the first half! What a value! [back]