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Pregame Notes: #USMNT vs Guatemala #WCQ2018

imageIt’s beautiful here — yeah maybe a bit on the cooler side – but a very bright and sunny late afternoon in Columbus.
They’ve got us in the West End of the stadium behind goal.  Now I get to watch a game like the Steel Army for once.
We are expecting the starting lineups sometime after 6 p.m.
The U.S. will have to pull out all the stops and come out attacking from the get-go or this could be a disastrous night.    The good news for the U.S. and bad for Guatemala, is that the ageless Carlos Ruiz didn’t make the trip and won’t be in the line up.
Here are some pre-game notes from U.S. Soccer to get you ready for the match:

  • The MNT holds a 15-5-6 all-time record against Guatemala, with a 7-1-5 edge in World Cup Qualifying and 6-0-0 record in home qualifying matches.
  • The U.S. is 7-0-3 all-time and 6-0-2 in World Cup Qualifying matches played at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
  • The U.S. has earned nine clean sheets in 10 matches at MAPFRE Stadium, conceding only a penalty kick in the MNT’s 1-1 World Cup Qualifying draw with Jamaica on November 17, 2004.
  • Clint Dempsey made his international debut in the same match, coming on as a substitute for Ramiro Corrales in the 1-1 draw with Jamaica.
  • Michael Bradley is the only player on the current roster to have scored at MAPFRE Stadium, tallying both goals in the MNT’s 2-0 victory against Mexico to begin final round qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup on February 11, 2009
  • After earning his MNT debut in January’s 3-2 win against Iceland and first assist in the 1-0 win against Canada on Feb. 5, Columbus Crew SC midfielder Ethan Finlay has the chance to play for the USA on his home field.
  • 12 players from the USA’s 2014 FIFA World Cup roster are part of this group: Jozy Altidore, Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley, Geoff Cameron, Clint Dempsey, Mix Diskerud, Brad Guzan, Tim Howard, Chris Wondolowski, DeAndre Yedlin and Graham Zusi
  • 18 players have previous World Cup Qualifying experience.
  • Four players on the roster have played in 25+ World Cup Qualifying games: Dempsey (35), Howard (31), Altidore (29), Bradley (27)
  • Seven players have the chance to appear in their first qualifier: David Bingham, Steve Birnbaum, Ethan Finlay, Lee Nguyen, Christian Pulisic, Chris Wondolowski, William Yarbrough
  • Eight players have registered goals in a World Cup qualifier: Altidore, Bradley, Cameron, Dempsey, Johnson, Orozco, Wood, Zardes
  • Having scored in his World Cup Qualifying debut in last November’s 6-1 win vs. St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Union Berlin striker Bobby Wood comes into camp sitting third on the Second Bundesliga scoring chart with 14 goals this season.
  • French-based midfielder Alejandro Bedoya has also seen an inspired start to 2016, racking up four goals and two assists in 14 competitive appearances, while helping Nantes to sixth place in the tight Ligue 1 table.
  • DeAndre Yedlin has hit his stride for Sunderland of late, starting in each of the Black Cats’ last six league matches while helping the club to a six-game unbeaten streak including wins against Manchester United and West Ham United.


  • With 13 total, Clint Dempsey is tied with Landon Donovan for most World Cup Qualifying goals by a U.S. player. Jozy Altidore is right behind them with 12.
  • With an appearance Tuesday against Guatemala, Jozy Altidore would earn his 30th World Cup Qualifying cap, making him the youngest U.S. player to reach the milestone at 26 years and 144 days. At 26 years, 277 days Landon Donovan was the fastest player to reach the mark, which came in the MNT’s 2-1 victory against Honduras on June 6, 2009.


  • With five goals, Dempsey is the USA’s all-time leading scorer against Guatemala. He has tallied four of those in his last four appearances vs. los Chapines.
  • New roster addition Graham Zusi assisted twice against Guatemala in the MNT’s pivotal 3-1 World Cup Qualifying win on October 16, 2012, clinching the team’s berth in final round of 2014 World Cup Qualifying.
  • Both Wondolowski and Bedoya scored their first career international goals against Guatemala in a 6-0 win on July 5, 2013 in San Diego, Calif. Wondolowski has scored in both of his appearances against the Central American nation, with the other coming in a 4-0 win on July 3, 2015 in Nashville, Tenn.
  • Goalkeeper Brad Guzan made his MNT debut in a 4-0 friendly win against Guatemala on February 19, 2006. The Aston Villa net minder holds a perfect 3-0-0 record and has never conceded a goal to Guatemala.

TEAMMATES AND OPPONENTS: While a few of Guatemala’s players having graced Major League Soccer, there are some club connections between the two teams.

  • The only current connection comes through Columbus Crew SC where both U.S. midfielder Ethan Finlay and Guatemala’s Rodrigo Saravia are teammates.
  • Having moved to the Colorado Rapids over the offseason, Marco Pappa spent two years at Seattle Sounders FC. Playing alongside Clint Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin, with the trio won the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup together.
  • Pappa will soon be teammates with U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard, who will join the Colorado Rapids from English club Everton FC in July.
  • Though he’s never been teammates with anyone on the current U.S. roster, Guatemala captain Carlos Ruiz is well-known in American soccer circles after playing eight seasons in MLS with the LA Galaxy, FC Dallas, Toronto FC, Philadelphia Union and D.C. United. A two-time MLS Golden Boot winner, Ruiz was the league’s MVP in 2002 and went on to score the game-winner in that year’s MLS Cup Final, helping the Galaxy to its first league title.


John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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