(Columbus, OH) – The U.S. Men’s National Soccer team got their house in order on Tuesday — and came to friendly confines in Columbus, Ohio to do so.
First half goals by veterans Clint Dempsey and Geoff Cameron along with a Graham Zusi goal seconds into the 2nd half and a Jozy Altidore strike late sparked a commanding 4-0 win that catapulted the USMNT back into the drivers seat in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying.
With the win, the U.S. ran its streak of World Cup Qualifying in MAPFRE Stadium without a defeat to 11 games. After losing to Guatemala on Friday, the U.S. were determined to make a statement early on Tuesday.
“It was all about responding tonight. We needed a big reaction,” said Kyle Beckerman, U.S. Midfielder.
“Everyone was of the same mindset. Be aggressive. Get the ball moving fast. That aggression led to everything good that happened to us tonight.”
In the 12th minute, Cameron sent a ball just inside the top of the box for Gyasi Zardes.
Zardes and two Guatemalan defenders went up for the ball, and all three collided and fell to the ground.
U.S. team captain Dempsey was right there to get the deflection — delivering a one-time finish to the right of goalkeeper Paulo Matta to give the U.S. the early lead.
For Dempsey, it was his 14th goal in World Cup qualifying games, breaking Landon Donovan‘s previous mark of 13 goals.
The U.S. never let the foot off the gas in a match that was filled with a lot of fouls and physical play.
“Our veterans gave us leadership we needed tonight. Michael (Bradley) and Kyle Beckerman were instrumental,” said Klinsmann.
“The young guys count on them. They need their help. Their guidance. Calmed them down a bit. We got what we needed from our leaders.”
It was the play of three veterans in the middle, Cameron, who plays for Stoke City in Barclays Premier League, along with Michael Bradley and Beckerman who kept the U.S. in control of possession and orchestrated numerous attacking opportunities.
Cameron then added the game’s second goal in the 32nd minute.
After Bobby Wood was fouled to the left of the penalty box area, Bradley bent a free kick toward the center of the box, and Cameron drilled his header past Matta for the 2-0 lead, as the fans here in Columbus chanted “Dos a Cero”.
Guatemala only had a few advances toward Brad Guzan‘s goal, including a 28th minute cross and a Rafael Morales shot on Guzan in the 34th minute.
In the opening seconds of the second half, Zusi got behind the Guatemala defense on the right side to beat Matta.
In a second half filled with whistles, and hard fouls, Guatemala’s Carlos Castrillo and Bradley were both issue yellow cards.
The U.S. won’t return to World Cup Qualifying play until September, and now they can get focused on preparing for Copa America tournament that will be held in the United States this summer against some of the best teams in the Americas.
“There’s a lot of good things that we could build on from today.” said Beckerman. “We can really take our performance to another level — and we will have to with the competition we’ll be facing this summer.”
MAPFRE Stadium as the players and coaches raved about the fan support.
“We really fed off the energy here tonight,” said Beckerman.
“The fans were great — and gave us a big lift.”
For Klinsmann, it’s a bit of a monkey off his back after coming off the loss to Guatemala on Friday.
“You are going to have moments in qualifying when there’s pressure. We came through in a big way,” said Klinsmann.
“We can move on now — and focus on the Copa America and then clinch our spot in the next round of World Cup qualifying in September.”
(G) Guzan; (D) Yedlin, Cameron, Birnbaum, Castillo; (M) Beckerman, Bradley, Zusi (Christian Pulisic 80′) (F) Zardes (Finley 72′), Dempsey, Wood (Altidore 67′)
(G) Motta; (D) Jimenez, Hernandez, Marquez, Tinoco, (MF) Icute, Castrillo, Morales, Contreras, (F) Cincotta, Saravia.
Next on the Schedule:
The U.S. MNT begins its final preparations for this summer’s historic Copa America Centenario when it hosts Ecuador at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas on Wednesday, May 25, at 7 p.m. CT.
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- With his 12th minute goal, Dempsey became the MNT’s all-time leader in World Cup Qualifying goals with 14.
- Michael Bradley’s assist on Geoff Cameron’s 35th minute goal was his 21st with the U.S and leaves him just one behind Cobi Jones for second all-time for the MNT.
- At 26 years, 144 days, Jozy Altidore became the youngest player in MNT history to reach 30 World Cup Qualifying appearances, beating previous record-holder Landon Donovan (26 years, 277 days).
- Altidore followed up his appearance milestone by tying Landon Donovan for second on the MNT’s all-time World Cup Qualifying goals list with 13.
- With his 34th international goal, Jozy Altidore tied Eric Wynalda for third place on the USA’s all-time scoring list.
- At 17 years, 193 days, Christian Pulisic became the youngest MNT player to appear in a World Cup Qualifying match.
- With the defeat, the MNT moves to 15-5-6 all-time vs. Guatemala and 14-0-1 in home matches.
- The USA is now 8-1-5 overall in World Cup Qualifying matches vs. los Chapines and 8-0-0 in matches on U.S. soil.
- Clint Dempsey’s 12th minute goal was his sixth all-time against Guatemala.
- Geoff Cameron’s 35th minute goal was his third in his last five appearances for the MNT.
- Defender Steve Birnbaum made his MNT World Cup Qualifying debut.
- With the win, Brad Guzan moved to 7-1-2 all-time in World Cup Qualifying and moves to 4-0-0 all-time against Guatemala.
- Ethan Finlay made his World Cup Qualifying debut in his home stadium where he plays his club soccer with Columbus Crew SC.
- MNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann fielded a starting back line of DeAndre Yedlin on the right, Steve Birnbaum and Geoff Cameron in the middle and Edgar Castillo on the left.
- The three-man midfield consisted of Kyle Beckerman playing in the central holding role, with Graham Zusi on the right and captain Michael Bradley on the left.
- The three-man forward line saw Clint Dempsey as the central striker, with Gyasi Zardes and Bobby Wood supporting on the right and left, respectively.