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Global Jun 13, 2012

U.S. Men give up lead, then hang on for 1-1 draw in Guatemala

Guatemala City – The U.S. Men’s National Team kept their Group A lead in the Semifinal Round of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying on Tuesday night with a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Guatemala at Estadio Mateo Flores.

U.S. forward Clint Dempsey tallied his 27th career international goal in the 40th minute, but second-half substitute Marco Pappa finished a free kick late in the match to give each team a share of the points.

With the draw, the U.S. extended its unbeaten streak against Guatemala to 18 games (12-0-6) and maintains its lead in Group A with four points. Earlier in the evening, Jamaica drew with Antigua & Barbuda in the other group match to keep pace with the U.S. at four points. The U.S. holds the top spot with a better goal differential.

The U.S. resumes World Cup qualifying with back-to-back matches against Jamaica on Sept. 7 and 11. Jamaica hosts the Sept. 7 match in Kingston, and then four days later the U.S. will welcome the Caribbean nation to Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. That match will be broadcast live at 8 p.m. on ESPN2, ESPN3 and the Univision family.

“I think we saw quite an exciting game,” said U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “I think the game was open for most of the stretch of it. Obviously, with the lead one-nil, you want to win it, you want to bring the three points home. We came for three points but I think at the end of the day, the tie, based on all the chances on both sides, is OK.” [More Quotes]

Dempsey opened the game’s scoring with five minutes left in the first half after U.S. left back Fabian Johnson attacked up the left flank and slipped the ball to his right for the open forward. Dempsey did the rest of the work, calmly eluding two defenders while moving to his right, and then placing a low drive past Guatemala goalkeeper Ricardo Jerez, Jr. for the 1-0 lead.

Dempsey’s third goal of the year upped his career points total to 64 (27 goals, 10 assists) and moved him ahead of Joe-Max Moore (62 career points) for fourth all-time in U.S. history.

Guatemala nearly found an equalizer just before halftime as their captain Carlos Ruiz avoided U.S. midfielders Maurice Edu and Michael Bradley at the top of the box and shot just wide right of the frame past goalkeeper Tim Howard.

Before those two chances, the U.S. and Guatemala combined for only three shots on goal during the opening half. Bradley delivered the USA’s first attempt in the 28th minute with a volley from a little more than 25 yards out, forcing Jerez to make the save to his right. Ruiz had Guatemala’s first shot on goal in the 31st minute, blasting a free kick over the USA’s five-man wall and directing it straight to Howard for the save. Carlos Figueroa had the other after getting free down the right and forcing Howard to save from a tight angle and give up a rebound which narrowly eluded an oncoming Ruiz.

For a second straight World Cup qualifying match, Guatemala head coach Ever Hugo Almeida made all three of his substitutions to start the second half. Manuel Leon, Pappa and Dwight Pezzarossi replaced Jose Contreras, Figueroa and Mario Rodriguez, respectively.

In the 69th minute, the U.S. managed to come away unscathed from a Guatemala flurry in front of Howard that started with a corner kick from the left side. Pezzarossi had the initial header off the corner and the ball reached teammate Luis Rodriguez, who fired a shot that Howard did well to make the close-range save. The rebound made its way to Ruiz, but his high-percentage, point-blank opportunity sailed well over the crossbar and the U.S. continued to maintain its one-goal lead.

The U.S. had its opportunities in the final 10 minutes of regulation to add to its lead. Second-half sub Jozy Altidore nearly found the scoring column in the 79th minute, but the USA’s sequence quickly was ruled dead too quickly by referee Joel Aguilar when Dempsey was fouled two yards above the box while he was sending the ball through to Altidore. Jones took the following free kick but missed high and wide.

Guatemala found its game-tying goal a few minutes later when Ruiz was fouled by Johnson in the 82nd minute and the U.S. back was issued a yellow card. Pappa, who plays for Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire, took the subsequent free kick over the USA’s eight-man wall and just under the crossbar, giving Howard little time to react to make the save.

The U.S. had one final burst with Bradley leading the charge down the left side and providing a lead pass toward the top of the box, but Altidore was unable to get into the space for what could have been a clear chance on goal.

— U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report —

Match: USA vs. Guatemala
Date: June 12, 2012
Competition: 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifier
Venue: Estadio Mateo Flores; Guatemala City, Guatemala
Kickoff: 9 p.m. CT
Attendance: 18,000
Weather: 68 degrees, partly cloudy

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                        1 0 1
GUA                        0 1 1

USA – Clint Dempsey (Fabian Johnson)   40th minute
GUA – Marco Pappa (free kick)               83

USA: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 21-Clarence Goodson (20-Geoff Cameron, 46), 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 23-Fabian Johnson; 7-Maurice Edu, 4-Michael Bradley, 13-Jermaine Jones; 10-Landon Donovan (14-Kyle Beckerman, 90+3), 8-Clint Dempsey, 9-Herculez Gomez (17-Jozy Altidore, 64)
Subs not used: 2-Michael Parkhurst, 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 11-Joe Corona, 12-Brad Guzan, 16-Jose Torres, 19-Chris Wondolowski
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

GUA: 1-Ricardo Jerez Jr.; 4-Erwin Morales, 5-Carlos Gallardo, 14-Luis Rodriguez, 3-Elias Vasquez; 6-Wilfred Velasquez, 11-Jose Manuel Contreras (15-Manuel Leon, 46), 18-Carlos Figueroa (16-Marco Pappa, 46); 10-Mario Rodriguez (17-Dwight Pezzarossi, 46), 20-Carlos Ruiz, 19-Marvin Avila
Subs not used: 2-Rafael Morales, 7-Jose del Aguila, 8-Gonzalo Romero, 9-Jairo Arreola, 12-Paulo Cesar Motta, 13-Alejandro Galindo, 21-Juan Paredes, 22-Minor Lopez, 23-Jonathan Lopez
Head coach: Ever Hugo Almeida

Stats Summary: USA / GUA
Shots: 11 / 13
Shots on Goal: 3 / 4
Saves: 3 / 2
Corner Kicks: 2 / 4
Fouls: 14 / 22
Offside: 2 / 5

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Clarence Goodson (caution)     23rd minute
GUA – Luis Rodriguez (caution)          51
USA – Michael Bradley (caution)         60
GUA – Marco Pappa (caution)             61
USA – Maurice Edu (caution)              66
USA – Fabian Johnson (caution)          82

Referee: Joel Aguilar (SLV)
Assistant Referee 1: William Torres (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Zumba (CRC)
Fourth Official: Marlon Mejia (CRC)

Budweiser Man of the Match:
Clint Dempsey

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