March 25, 2016
THE WRONG END OF DOS A CERO
Stumbling USA loses to Guatemala for the first time WCQ, 2-0
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – The United States took a major World Cup qualifying hit Friday night, losing to Guatemala for the first time in the competition.
|Clint Dempsey and the US MNT were frustrated on Friday by Guatemala goalkeeper Paulo Motta.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Buoyed by goals in the opening 15 minutes, the Guatemalans handed the Americans a stunning 2-0 Group C defeat at Estadio Mateo Flores.
Rafael Morales and Carlos Ruiz scored for Los Chapines (2-0-1, 6 points), who moved into second place past the Americans (1-1-1, 4), who dropped to third place. The top two teams in the group will move onto the hexagonal.
The Central Americans won for the first time in 13 qualifiers (1-5-7) against the USA and snapped a 21-game winless streak vs. the Americans, dating back to 1988.
Speculation was running rampant through the U.S. soccer community whether head coach Jurgen Klinsmann could survive this result. The USA has endured a miserable time since the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Guatemala goalkeeper Paulo Motta was superb, making several outstanding saves for the clean sheet and setting up the second goal.
The Guatemalans took advantage of a pair of USA errors to enjoy a stunning two-goal advantage by the 15th minute.
Jean Marquez swung in a corner kick as Morales outmuscled his man, New York City FC midfielder Mix Diskerud, and headed it past goalkeeper Tim Howard into the lower right corner in the seventh minute.
Los Chapines were far from finished. Ruiz latched onto Motta’s goal kick, caught the USA napping, split the defense and slotted the ball past Howard from atop the box in the 15th minute. The 36-year-old Ruiz, who played eight seasons in Major League Soccer, has tallied 60 international goals.
Forced to chase the game, the USA's best opportunity in the opening half came in the 23rd minute. Alejandro Bedoya found himself rushing in alone on Motta, who saved the close-range attempt with his left knee.
Motta was at his best in the 52nd minute, denying veteran striker Clint Dempsey in the middle of the box and then Bedoya again from point-blank range only seconds later.
Five minutes later, Motta stuffed Dempsey's try from the middle of the box to keep the USA off the scoreboard. Motta then produced a kick save on second-half substitute Jozy Altidore in the 82nd minute.
The Guatemalans came within inches of making it 3-0 in the 71st minute as a Morales header off a corner kick bounced off the crossbar.
The same teams will meet again in Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday.