Clint Dempsey scored early and Geoff Cameron put the game out of reach before Graham Zusi and Jozy Altidore made it four as the U.S. Men's National Team defeated Guatemala, 4-0, in Columbus Tuesday night in a CONCACAF World Cup qualifier.
In a game heaped with pressure following the Americans' defeat to the same Guatemala side last Friday, the U.S. came out and was able to get into a rhythm early at the American fortress that is Mapfre Stadium. And after 12 minutes, they got a deserved lead. A long ball found the head/back of Gyasi Zardes whose flick to the top of the 18 found a wide open Dempsey, who finished nicely with a low-slicing shot.
And the Yanks doubled their lead after 35 minutes. A free kick from captain Michael Bradley found Cameron around the 6-yard box, and the defender rose up and placed his header in the upper left corner.
Up two, the U.S. could very well have switched off in the second half, but after Friday's letdown the team looked as if it had something to prove. Within the first minute after the restart, the man who wasn't even on the roster Friday night had goal number three. Graham Zusi ran on to a loose ball in the box and fired into the lower left corner to all but guarantee the U.S. would take home the three points.
Before the final whistle, a poor turnover by Guatemala found Dempsey in a one-on-one with the Guatemalan keeper, but instead of going for the brace the former captain laid the ball off for the second-half sub Altidore who smashed home goal number four on 89 minutes.
The win puts the U.S. back to second in group C with seven points, three behind Trinidad and Tobago who defeated St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Tuesday.
In a big moment for the U.S. looking to the future, 17-year-old Christian Pulisic became cap-tied to the U.S. after entering the game in the 80th minute. The Borussia Dortmund teen is the youngest player to make an appearance for the USMNT in a qualifier ever and showed glimpses of the talent that U.S. fans are set to enjoy watching for years to come.
Once again, Jurgen Klinsmann opted to switch things around on his back line. The manager selected Steve Birnbaum to play alongside Cameron at center back instead of Omar Gonzalez who started Friday's match. What will be very interesting to see is which four will line up in defense this Summer at the Copa América when John Brooks and Matt Besler both should be back to full strength.
The U.S. will be back in qualifying action in September when it travels to St. Vincent and the Grenadines before rounding out group C against Trinidad and Tobago.