Must win. That’s the theme for the next few days. The U.S. Men’s National Team must win against Guatemala on Tuesday night in Columbus. The USMNT lost 2-0 Friday night in an uninspired display. Guatemala scored in the 7th minute off a header from Rafael Moralesand then Carlos Ruiz scored in the 15th minuteoff a one-on-one challenge against Tim Howard. The USMNT looked unorganized and generally not cohesive in the first loss against Guatemala since 1988.
The starting line-up seemed pieced together with injuries to Fabian Johnson, Matt Besler and John Brooks altering it. With Clint Dempsey The pace seemed to increase with the sub of Darlington Nagbe and there were a few chance in the second half that just couldn’t find the back of the net.
They also gave up this rather embarrassing goal, assisted by an opposing goalkeeper.
— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) March 26, 2016
This loss comes after what has been 18 months of disappointment after disappointment. Does Klinsmann need to go? What do the players need to do? I’m not sure but I sure hope they figure it out. Fox Soccer put together a good reflection on this, take a look.
The USMNT fell to third place in their group with this result, and anything less than three points on Tuesday could mean the 2018 FIFA World Cup is out of reach. The top two teams from the three groups go through to the “Hex”, where six teams play home-and-away round-robin matches in one single group.
Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming matches:
-Getting three more points would be ideal. And would virtually assure the USMNT a spot in The Hex. Guatemala has never qualified for a FIFA World Cup. This is also ideal timing since this June is the COPA America Centenario, and it would be nice to have a little less to worry about going into that.
-Columbus bodes well for the USMNT. If you know anything about soccer, you know the term Dos a Cero. While the upcoming match isn’t against rival Mexico, Columbus always makes a showing for USMNT games. The USMNT is 7-0-3 all-time at the now MAPFRE Stadium, outscoring opponents 15-1 in those 10 meetings. This is the first in a while that I’m guessing hasn’t sold out but it will be a fun atmosphere nonetheless. USMNT veteran and Columbus Crew brand ambassador give his perspective on the upcoming matches.
-On Tuesday, I’ll be looking for a solid performance from the veterans and another spark added by some of the newer players like Darlington Nagbe. A good, solid attacking game would be nice to see and there are several for the USMNT that have been in form lately.
-Guatemala has a few familiar names in Carlos Ruiz (played for several MLS teams, scored on Friday) and Marco Pappa who currently plays for the Colorado Rapids. They will offer a quick start to the game as was evident on Friday. The USMNT must contain them the first 15 minutes on Tuesday.
Original U.S. Roster by position: (Brooks went home on Friday due to injury)
Goalkeepers: David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton FC), William Yarbrough (Club Leon)
Defenders: Ventura Alvarado (Club America), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Monterrey), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland)
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes FC), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Ethan Finlay (Columbus Crew SC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers FC), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution)
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Union Berlin), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)
-The U-23 Men’s National Team tied 1-1 in Colombia on Friday and are now up 2-1 on away goal aggregate. They play Colombia in a home/away scenario to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio with the second match being played at 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday night on ESPN 2. The Olympics are an amateur tournament on the men’s soccer side, only allowing three players over the age of 23 to play in the actual Olympics tournament. This has caused an interesting struggle for the younger players but Klinsmann has stood that World Cup qualifying comes first. This is the U23 MNT’s last chance to qualify.