Match Recap: USMNT 0 – 2 Guatemala

Taking early advantage of a makeshift, disorganized American backline, Guatemala raced out to a two goal lead and never looked back, earning a deserved home victory and leapfrogging the United States in the CONCACAF Group C standings.

The hosts hit the front inside of 7 minutes when Rafael Morales easily out-muscled Mix Diskerud to nod home, direct from a corner. Playing with energy and aggression their guests could not match, Guatemala was value for their lead, and a stunned US side was unable to keep the contest from further unraveling when a comedy of defensive errors led to a Carlos Ruiz breakaway minutes later. With the US defense shockingly unaware of the location of the 36-year-old poacher, Ruiz had the easiest of times sending Tim Howard the wrong way before doubling Guatemala’s lead.

In dire need of an offensive threat, Klinsmann turned to Darlington Nagbe, who replaced the ineffective Diskerud in the center of the park. The spark and drive that was lacking in the first half suddenly arrived with his introduction, but as he drove the US forward, lackluster finishing, and the heroics of Paulo Motta, kept the US at bay. In the second half, Alejandro Bedoya, Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore had clean looks on the Guatemalan goal and all will wish they had done more with their chances, as each made relatively simple work for Motta, who denied the US on all 5 shots on target.

Where is the leadership?

Given the difficulty of traveling to Guatemala City, Klinsmann selected a veteran squad, one that has experienced the challenges of qualifying for a World Cup in CONCACAF before. Theoretically, it is hard to argue the logic in those selections. Yet, when the going got tough, the veterans, neither with their words, nor their actions, got going.

When Bobby Wood was getting bullied in the attacking third, clearly frustrated and unfocused by the physicality of Guatemalans, where was a teammate to calm him down? Bedoya too looked to lose the plot at moments, snapping into tackles and snatching at his shots and touches. Yet, there seemed to be no one prepared to raise his voice and try to settle down his side in the face of a surprising two goal deficit.

Confirmation (aka Klinsmann bottles it)

Is DeAndre Yedlin a right midfielder? Absolutely not. To all, save the US head coach, this much has been clear for quite some time. Yet, there he was again, running aimlessly up and down the right flank despite the fact that over the past 6 weeks, Yedlin has actually proven vastly improved in his natural position, earning the past 5 league starts at right back for Sunderland. And given injuries to Matt Besler and John Brooks, it seemed only natural to include Geoff Cameron, who himself has looked quite comfortable in the Premier League this season in the center of defense.

Yet, as he is wont to do, Klinsmann tinkered. And while the confusing decisions along the backline left many scratching their heads, his decision to start Diskerud in the center of the park in Guatemala City had those same people tearing at their hair. The knock on Diskerud remains his lack of physicality and command in the center of the park. Sure, when the US is mopping up CONCACAF minnows on home soil, Diskerud can knock the ball around an empty midfield with the best of them, yet his recent robust performance in a friendly against Canada should not have been enough to convince Klinsmann of his preparedness to start in such a meaningful, and physical, match. In fact, with both Nagbe and Lee Nguyen on the bench, it could easily be argued that Diskerud should be number three on that creative midfielder depth chart. Nagbe and Nguyen offer a level of skill, grit and power that Diskerud has yet to show against combative opponents, and when Klinsmann hauled him off at the halftime interval, it was almost as if the US boss had suddenly realized that the other two were available for selection.

US outlook

There is no perspective from which this is not an embarrassing loss. Both of Guatemala’s goals came from American defensive breakdowns, and coming away without a goal to their name after the opportunities the US fashioned in front of goal, team film sessions over the weekend will make for some grim viewing. Fortunately though, there is little time to dwell on this capitulation. With Guatemala flying north to face the US for a showdown in Columbus on Tuesday, this match must be pushed to the back of players’ minds, because at the end of the day, the US should be, and will need to be, much, much better than this.

On the night though, Guatemala were deserving victors, playing with unmatched passion, as the US grew more frustrated and intimidated by their opponents and the Guatemala City crowd. Road losses are a fact of life in CONCACAF, and as the saying with qualification goes, “win your home matches and try to steal points on the road.”

Three points on Tuesday puts the US back in great shape to move on to the hexagonal. Failure to do so would make the situation much more dire.

12-Tim Howard; 20-Geoff Cameron, 3-Omar Gonzalez (17-Jozy Altidore, 66), 14-Michael Orozco (9-Gyasi Zardes, 59), 23-Edgar Castillo; 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 4-Michael Bradley (capt.), 10-Mix Diskerud (16-Darlington Nagbe, 46), 11-Alejandro Bedoya; 8-Clint Dempsey, 7-Bobby Wood
Subs Not Used: 1-Brad Guzan; 5-Matt Besler, 6-Lee Nguyen, 13-Ethan Finlay, 15-Kyle Beckerman, 18-Chris Wondolowski, 19-Ventura Alvarado, 21-Steve Birnbaum, 22-William Yarbrough
Head coach:
Jurgen Klinsmann

12-Paulo Motta; 3-Cristian Jimenez, 4-Hamilton Lopez, 5-Moises Hernandez, 8-Jean Marquez, 9-Gerson Tinoco, 10-Jose Contreras (13-Carlos Castrillo, 71), 14-Rafael Morales, 18-Stefano Cincotta (16-Marco Pappa, 46), 20-Carlos Ruiz (17-Gerardo Arias, 89), 22-Rodrigo Saravia
Subs Not Used: 1-Ricardo Jerez, 2-Jonathan Winibacker Lopez, 6-Marco Rivas, 7-Luis Fernando Martinez, 11-Mafre Icute, 15-Luis Cardona 19-Kevin Arriola, 21-Jose Carlos Garcia, 23-Edi Guerra
Head coach: Walter Claveri

Scoring Summary
GUA – Rafael Morales (Jean Marquez) – 7th minute
GUA – Carlos Ruiz (Paulo Motta) – 15

Misconduct Summary
GUA – Moises Hernandez (caution) – 8th minute
GUA – Marco Pappa (caution) – 78
USA – Michael Bradley (caution) – 83

Stats Summary (USA / GUA)
Shots: 8 / 10
Shots on Goal: 5 / 4
Saves: 2 / 5
Corner Kicks: 6 / 3
Fouls: 18 / 14
Offside: 4 / 1

Referee: Jafeth Perea (PAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Ronal Bruña (PAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Baines (PAN)
4th Official: Ariel Sánchez (PAN)


  1. el Pachyderm says:

    Please… let’s have Colombia beat us on Tuesday then Guatemala beat us on Tuesday… seal US Soccer’s fate… then play in the Copa with your Mix Diskeruds and Geoff Cameron at RB and get throttled meekly wimpering on the world stage… then let’s fire every single coach… let’s have the media actually organize and call for the president to resign with calculated clinical pressure a vice grip acrosss the board… it is only the media that can affect the necessary change.
    This is our only chance.
    Y.OU. A.L.L. SUC.K
    More irony…Mexico totally dismantles Canada… you know the Canada we can never score against or beat because they play the “USA Tough” … which is you know just one more excuse.
    I am not a Fanboy. You do not represent me. .
    Point of parliamentary proceedure.

  2. A leaky defense. An offense that cannot finish.
    Incontinent. Impotent.
    This is your team.
    And two guys in the booth who don’t know the laws of the game.
    Not a very good way to spend a Friday night.

    • pragmatist says:

      Thank God for the NCAA’s. I had a solid option to save me from that dreck. I was flipping back and forth after a while, and saw no reason to keep it on.
      And I only had it in Spanish, so at least I was spared the booth guys.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Leaky at the back, soft at the front…well played, sir.

      Hard not to put this at the manager’s feet. You can’t keep playing players out of position and ruining the team’s chemistry by constantly changing lineups/tactics without generating this type of unexpected result, especially at the international level where you get such a short time to work with the players. Watching his subs made me think of an 9 year old playing video game…naive.

      I’ve been writing this for far too long, but Klinsmann needs to go. If Sunil needs to save face, keep him on as technical director and hire a new senior team manager. Use the Copa to let a new manager handle the squad, I really don’t care who at this point just as long as it’s not Klinsmann.

  3. Fire klinsmann (into the sun)

    • el Pachyderm says:

      It’s deeper than just Klinsman firing him won’t solve the problem…
      This is a total system failure starting at the very top.
      Klinsman is at fault but the underlying problems are too big for him….
      Telling you in think he’s doing it on purpose. How can he explain Orozco at CB and Cameron at OB and Yedkin in the midfield when Yedlin is seeing quality minutes in BPL at OB.
      Andy Herzog sucks too. They all suck and it’s all Sunil Gulati’s fault.

      • Agreed, but i think he deserves the lion’s share of the blame as he is also the technical director of the whole program

      • A USMNT flameout in CONCACAF, the Olympics, or (gasp) World Cup qualifying – which seems increasingly possible – is more than just a national embarrassment. A la Drumpf (ranked #5 on a list of dangers to the global economy), there are much greater stakes in play. E.g., big dollars in marketing, sales & other revenues: the USMNT took in $8 million from Brazil. The directors of the USSF have a fiduciary duty to stakeholders to see that management move the organization – especially the seniors, its most visible parts, in the right direction. We need the casual American fan to promote the beautiful game we love. I fear the kind of implosion you describe will drive them away at this critical moment in national soccer’s journey.

      • noted sir but I’m feeling….crumple…. at 10,000 ft below sea level – is the only means to correction and a new president…otherwise its more of the same rhetoric we get when our team cannot even score against Canada let alone in Guatemala.
        …my rebut — the CORE american soccer fan needs to stop being marginalized by concerns for the casual american soccer fan … in order to have reason to believe our organization is moving in the right direction: culturally and nationally and internationally.

      • The board need not wait until calamity strikes. It may act now – for the future of USSF and its nascent popularity rise. We cannot afford to lose ground to another professional sport vying for their loyalty – say, the National Lacrosse League (which I hear has one helluva new commissioner). Relieve Gulati. Let his successor decide JK’s fate. Eat whatever it costs now.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Well, the sun rocket is available…hmmm.

  4. pragmatist says:

    It’s such an odd situation to me that we can be so dominant in so many other sports, but we are completely inept at this one. From our ability to scout and develop talent, down to the organization and deployment of the selected talent.
    No reason for us to look this bad at the game.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      There were players that Klinsmann continues to call in that shouldn’t be there (I’m looking at you, Orozco Fiscal), but I really feel like there was enough talent in that US side to win. They just need to spend less time on fitness training and more on the tactical side with players in the right positions, but that’s not what Klinsmann does. He likes to focus on fitness and then having speakers come in to motivate the squad by tearing phone books rather than get the squad organized to play. There’s a reason why set pieces are so important in international play as teams typically don’t have enough attacking cohesion to break defenses down unless a defensive mistake happens. Success at the international level is achieved by being pragmatic (which you already know) and organized, none of which are JK’s strong suits.

  5. Fire Klinsmann. It is his fault you would never see a Bob Bradley team do that. You can ask my lady. I have been chanting the fire Klinsmann dirge for years. We haven’t made any progress and losing from playing guys put of position is idiotic. I am so done. How stupid is Gulati. If he ever comes to PPL (Talen) again the boos will ring down from 139.

  6. At least the Steel won!

  7. Actually, the under 23s played extremely well, wonderful spirit and guts, never loosing their shape or poise for 90 min. Would that the score in Guatemala have been 1-1 also but alas, the senior team is in total disarray right now.

    • Phil in Wilmington says:

      Agreed. For the U-23’s to secure a draw in a match EVERYONE was predicting as a 1-0 2-0 loss even while losing your starting keeper is a good result.

      The seniors however… I get that CONCACAF road results are always much harder than any one gives it credit for, I understand that having two late scratches at center back is a disruption, but that makes starting Gonzalez and Cameron centrally a no brainer. That and putting either Bradley or Beckerman right in front of the backline breaking up and quickly transitioning. But keeping those three central in front of goal seemed like the safest bet while leaving plenty of room to have newer faces on the field. Klinsmanns lineup left huge holes all over the field, which led to all sorts of missed assignments and poor chemistry. If I can see that as an obvious adjustment not sure why the manager decided to overthink it.

  8. The Little Fish says:

    I find it ironic that Carlos Ruiz kicked our ass. But, oh yeah, he’s not good enough to play for the Union. Sure. That makes sense!

    • He had many detractors on this site during his time here, and, to be fair, he did flop a lot. All the same, it’s difficult to argue against his ability to finish his chances.

    • I never did understand the vitriol Union fans had for Carlos Ruiz. “He flops”, “His work rate isn’t good enough”. I didn’t care, he was guy a who can score goals at the international level

  9. What started out as a great day of soccer was spoiled by that shite performance by our Senior National team who all played like rank amateurs! What an embarrassment! I’m also getting sick of the continuous Altidore saga. Will he or won’t he play. Can he or can’t he play. What has he done accept take up a roster spot! World class is a world class mess. What happened this time a chipped nail? It’s always something. In my opinion Michael Bradly is totally overrated. He is put in a leadership role that does not suit him. He wilts under pressure. Clint Dempsey has become a professional flopper and it’s getting old. Klinsmann is a great pretender. That back line…

    • Bradley -played much better when he was, crazy I know, played in his real position in the second half. That is where he thrives and can control more of the game.

  10. Seriously, I watched the BSFC game… They might have beaten the USMNT the way they played. That’s a bit of a hyperbole of course, but the huge difference is the teamwork, understanding, and playing in a consistent system. Teamwork can beat talent. We were doing it here for years that way under every coach before Klinsmann. Now? I have no clue what our identity is. We need to find one.

  11. That was a complete and utter embarrassment. I don’t don’t expect the beat the Germany’s, the Spain’s, the Netherlands of the world. You know who I expect us to beat? All CONCACAF opponents aside from perhaps Mexico. There is simply no excuse. I keep hearing people going on about the talent pool blah blah blah…shut it. There is absolute no excuse that we cannot field a team that can beat Guatemala. Yes we will never field a team that can consistently go toe-to-toe with European teams until our talent pool is much better. But that’s not going to happen until there’s is a huge culture shift. Until we have kids growing up living, breathing soccer…every day. And that’s not happening in our lifetime. So in the meantime, I expect a team that plays and looks like a TEAM. Not that pathetic waste I saw last night. You don’t have to have talent to know that having five(!) players pressed against an opposing backline and no midfield is the…dumbest…thing…ever. You don’t have to have talent to understand shape and organization. You don’t have to have talent to know to pass out of pressure. You don’t have to have talent to make intelligent movements to get defenders out of position. These are all things that come from coaching. Stop believing the lie the Klinsmann is feeding us. He has NO idea what he is doing. He couldn’t win with the BEST PLAYERS IN THE WORLD, why do we think he would do better with lesser players?

    • I agree with everything you said here Joel P, except for one thing. Movement, shape, tactical approach can all be worked out on the training pitch……but passing out of pressure, to have the confidence and composure to play the right pass while being pressured… the essence of talent. Thinking steps ahead to complete that pass, while someone is breathing down your neck… the essence of skill. To quote Cruyff….” The guy that can juggle 1000 times belongs in the circus….to play a pass with the right foot, at the right pace, to your teammates proper foot, at the right time….is skill”. Butchered the quote a bit……

  12. Matt Doyle points out the number of post-WC matches the USMNT have fallen behind in first 20 minutes. Those are teams that were not prepared tactically or as a unit. Gulati needs to give JK technical help or else. Because he’s running out of time, too.

  13. Klinsmann has lost this team. He has to go. Everyone in Germany rolled their eyes when we hired him, and they were dead on right. Prior to the US, Klinsmann spent two years as head coach of the German national team, two years off, and 10 months as the head coach of Bayern Munich. He claimed to have voluntarily left the national team, but many have said he was pushed out. Bayern Munich was less gray. He was fired uncerimoniously mid season and was blasted afterwards by players for having no game strategy other than fitness. His final matches with Bayern Munich, to quote the German press,”had been accompanied by shouts of “Klinsmann raus” (“Klinsmann out”) from the stands”. The German national team surged after he left, as did Bayern Munich. Obviously those players thrived with him gone. Ours will too. RAUS.

  14. Klinsman experiment is done/over. Pull the plug, he has lost control of every level of players, and to be honest with you I never saw ANY effect on the younger squads at all. Did anyone ever wonder why he couldn’t continue to find work in germany… move on ASAP, but the people above him continue to show they need their asses handed to them too… what a world class embarressment. We just lost to Guatemala for God sake… 2-0 WTF!!! It pains me to witness our National Team go backwards ‘AGAIN’. Time for all new etc,etc,etc,etc… blah blah blah, what a frickin’ joke… what a revolving door… DISGRACEFUL!!

  15. el Pachyderm says:

    “There are a lot of reasons why we continue to fall short. There is no one answer to the problem. Culture is part of the problem. MLS is part of the problem. Coaching is part of the problem. Pay to play is part of the problem. Miss-aligned incentives are part of the problem. A “Win Now” mentality is part of the problem. Player selection at the “elite” level is part of the problem. Coaching development is part of the problem. Fans are part of the problem. Parents are part of the problem. You and I are part of the problem…” — Gary Kleiben. 3four3 6/22/2012

  16. el Pachyderm says:

    The Global Art of Soccer

    “Technique —– Physique
    Stylistic Play —– Hack Play
    Possession —- Lock Down the opponent
    Diagonal ball —- Square ball
    Daring —- Safe
    Creative —- Destructive
    Imaginative —- Violent
    Clean play —- Dirty play
    Play the ball —- Play the man
    Sportsmanship —- Cheating”
    The game we play is an albatross. ut it doesn’t have to be. We see the brand of game on the right in our domestic league and most certainly from our National teams…

  17. el Pachyderm says:

    LARRY says:::: regarding an open market on quality player development. A solid argument since well almost every american player I see is average at best… you know… in the middle.
    “The US/Canada is already home to two of the largest youth player pools in the world. What we need now is to inject quality into the game. The best way for that to be done is to create an open market through promotion and relegation at the professional level. Open markets create innovation, and change. By not having a huge franchise fee for entry or even worse no entry “cause we’re full”. Capital spending and innovation is squashed as an indirect effect.
    The larger effect from a Pay to Play (P-T-PL) system in the context of no promo/relegation is that the lack of market acceleration which would occur if the market was open. This causes the P-T-PL market to become middle focused. The focus falls on the middle of the pack (normal distribution curve) or the 66%, which causes people to focus on managing to the middle. Some people call this focusing on the team, others want to increase club membership. What ever it is called the effect is that the focus goes towards making the majority happy (the 66%) and not towards the top (i.e. the players with the most potential). In every other country that has an open market focus on those top players brings the most value. Just one top youth player sold for big $$ can change the entire course for a youth club including subsidizing all other player’s P-T-PL costs.
    The effect of this is that the top players will be dummied down, the middle players will be happy, and the bottom will see their potential to get into the middle as reachable. But the outcome in general is mediocrity from a quality perspective. Players don’t reach, they don’t push, they don’t fight for perfection.
    The more expensive the P-T-PL costs get the more the unintended consequences effect the quality at the highest level. Parents feel that if they spent thousands $$, then they/their kids need to get something out of it. Win a Cup, get a scholarship, etc. ECNL parents spending $10K a season with club fees, tournaments, travel is a classic example of this. The more the pressure amps up on the youth clubs to serve their clientele, and just like a business, increases in numbers increase revenue and expenditure. It becomes a catch 22, clubs focus on their winning records, as do coaches. That in turn drives customer satisfaction and interest in the club.
    Openess at the pro level means anyone can step up with money. A Pro team can move from 4th to 3rd to 2nd and then challenge for the 1st division. If you finish last you’re out, you drop. Club A will take a chance on player A, Club B thinks they can up one on A by buying player B for money, i.e. market acceleration.
    If youth clubs became top focused instead of middle focused the player pool, at the elite level P-T-PL will probably get smaller. Why, the middle would become more challenged, many will just drop due to the challenge vs cost, the bottom would not even bother. BUT, the very top players would thrive and be worth a lot of money when sold. Would it become more dog eat dog for the players, absolutely. In fact, I would say that most of our so called elite youth players are soft and could not handle how tough it would be in a top European or South American environment.
    This why the link between P-T-PL and Promo-Relegation is so critical to the country’s ability to be competitive at the world level.”

    • el Pachyderm says:

      then Tom F says::: regarding an open pyramid system…
      “Stellar Larry. What Larry wrote above is a must read to understand this whole debate.”

  18. The player choices are just ridiculous frankly. It would be one thing if we didn’t play the guys who care so that we were working towards a more beautiful and creative game, but weare not. Instead we play guys with no heart who also can’t play a lick, and out them out of position. Obviously much of this starts at the grass roots level, but in the here and now I want to field the best team possible. Stop trotting out Bradley up top, stop flipping the damn back line and throwing guys out anywhere. Stop with Yedlin on the wing. Give Nguyen a shot to start.

  19. I try to be positive as much as possible with both the Union and the US. I try to focus on the promise and how to fix the problems I see.
    That was the worst performance I have ever seen by the USMNT and I am refusing to think any more about it so I do not implode.

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