What started out as a shock turned into a domination that American fans should be proud of as the United States came away from the final third round World Cup Qualifier with a 3-1 in over Guatemala at Livestrong Sporting Park.
Carlos Ruiz, who announced his retirement from international play in the media zone after the game, played the offside line perfectly as he was able to slip past the back line of the US to put the ball past Tim Howard and give the Guatemalan fan presence hope that they could get through to the hexagonal round of qualifying.
The response of the American side was excellent. They showed a spine that will be needed when the fixtures for the fourth stage, ‘The Hex’, gets underway.
The equalizer came from USMNT captain Carlos Bocanegra’s header off a corner shortly after the Ruiz goal. The zone defense by Guatemala was easy prey, but it was a lovely goal from Bocanegra with an assist from Clint Dempsey.
Dempsey proceeded to make the first half his own. He scored the go-ahead goal from short range off an Eddie Johnson cross.
Before the first half ended Michael Bradley chipped the ball over a Guatemalan defender and the goalkeeper for Dempsey to knock home to make it 3-1 and give Clint his second of the night.
Into the second half the United States was happy with the score line as it was and kept the ball to themselves. They did not allow any clear-cut chances for their opposition as they were able to coast through the second half to victory and a top spot in their group. Now they wait for CONCACAF to make the fixture decision for the fourth round matches.
While there is the question of when and where they will play all 10 remaining World Cup Qualifiers, American fans can take pride in the fact that their team dominated and that they are in an excellent position to progress even more with a friendly against Russia looming in the November FIFA date window.