US SOCCER NEWS — October 17, 2012 at 7:22 am



KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Oct. 16, 2012) – The U.S. Men’s National Team, backed by a sold-out crowd of 16,947 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, defeated Guatemala 3-1 on Tuesday to capture the top spot in Group A of the Semifinal Round of FIFA World Cup Qualifying.

Clint Dempsey scored his 29th and 30th career goals and assisted on Carlos Bocanegra’s 14th career tally as the veteran duo gave the United States momentum heading into the Final Round of qualifying in CONCACAF as the team looks to book its ticket to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil for its seventh straight appearance at the world stage. The Final Round hexagonal qualifying stage will be played from Feb. 6 through Oct. 15, 2013.

The USA finished at the head of the group with a 4-1-1 record and 13 points and improved its 2012 record to 9-2-2, earning its best winning percentage (0.769) in the modern era. Jamaica (3-2-1, 10 points) took second place in Group A and moved ahead of Guatemala on goal differential following its 4-1 victory against Antigua & Barbuda on Tuesday.

Among the other CONCACAF teams, the second qualifying team in Group B will be determined later Tuesday night. Mexico has already won Group B heading into its final Semifinal Round match against El Salvador. Costa Rica, who takes on Guyana, began the night two points ahead of El Salvador for the final spot from Group B.

In Group C, Honduras trounced Canada 8-1 on Tuesday to move to the top of the group at 3-1-2 (11 points), winning the group based on goal differential. Panama also advances from the group with a 3-1-2 record (11 points) thanks to a 1-1 draw against Cuba.

The U.S. fell behind early when Guatemala’s leading scorer and captain Carlos Ruiz got behind the USA defense on a counterattack pass through the defense from Jose Manuel Contreras. Ruiz dribbled away from U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard to his left and poked the ball into the net with the outside of his right foot for a 1-0 Guatemala lead in the fifth minute.

Bocanegra and the USA were quick to respond as the U.S. captain and center back nabbed the equalizer in the 10th minute. Graham Zusi, playing on the field he calls home with Sporting Kansas City in Major League Soccer, took a corner kick from the right side and found Dempsey making a strong run into the box. Dempsey snapped his header to the left for Bocanegra, who volleyed it into the net to tie the score at 1-1.

Bocanegra became the all-time leading scorer among U.S. MNT defenders with that goal, passing Marcelo Balboa (13 career goals). It also was Bocanegra’s fourth career goal in World Cup qualifying.

The USA took a 2-1 lead in the 18th minute on Dempsey’s first goal of the night, capitalizing on Eddie Johnson’s rolling cross from the right and beating Guatemala’s Jonathan Lopez to the ball. U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo orchestrated the attack with a crisp left-footed ball from the right flank to Johnson.

Dempsey pushed the USA lead to 3-1 in the 36th minute with a tap-in to an open net. Michael Bradley combined with Herculez Gomez and Bradley then provided a deft touch to lift the ball over sprawled-out Guatemala goalkeeper Ricardo Jerez Jr. Uncertain if the ball was goal bound, Dempsey erased any doubt and guided the ball in for his 30th career goal and 10th total in World Cup Qualifying.

With that score, Dempsey tied for third place all-time on the U.S. MNT career list with Brian McBride. Dempsey also tied Johnson and McBride for second all-time in qualifying goals, trailing only Landon Donovan (12 goals).

Dempsey led the U.S. with five goals in the Semifinal Round, scoring in four of the USA’s six games.

The U.S. defense managed the remainder of the match, while there were some potential moments to increase the lead, particularly Johnson’s scoring chance in the 56th minute that was saved by Jerez and Dempsey nearly heading in a Gomez cross less than a minute later.

Howard made three saves for the United States. The closest scoring chance Guatemala had in the second half came in the 66th minute when a Contreras shot from the left side was driven toward Howard. Howard did not corral the shot cleanly, but he was quick to react to kick the ball away when it looked like Guatemala could cut the USA lead in half.

Additional Notes:

  • Finishing on 13 points, the U.S. equaled its second-highest total in the Semifinal Round in the last five World Cup qualifying cycles.
  • Captain Carlos Bocanegra played in his 109th career game on Tuesday, moving to within one of sixth-place Paul Caligiuri (110 caps from 1984-98).
  • Bocanegra moved to center back against Guatemala and Michael Parkhurst started at left back.
  • Clint Dempsey became the fifth U.S. player to post two multi-goal games in World Cup Qualifying history. The other players who have accomplished this feat: DaMarcus Beasley, Landon Donovan, Eddie Johnson and Joe-Max Moore.
  • Goalkeeper Tim Howard made his 83rd career international appearance, moving into sole possession of third place all-time in U.S. MNT goalkeeper caps ahead of Brad Friedel (82). Howard leads the team this year with 11 starts.
  • Joe Corona earned his third career international cap as a second-half sub for Johnson in the 89th minute.
  • Yellow cards carry over into the Final Round of qualifying. U.S. MNT players who are currently sitting on yellow cards include Michael Bradley, Dempsey, Maurice Edu, Fabian Johnson and Graham Zusi.
  • Midfielder Jermaine Jones was not available on Tuesday against Guatemala because of yellow card accumulation. Jones traveled back to Germany on Sunday.
  • The U.S. improved to 13-4-6 all-time against Guatemala and extended its unbeaten streak to 18 games (13-0-6).
  • The USA moved to 7-0-5 against Guatemala in World Cup qualifying matches.

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

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Guatemala
Date: Oct. 16, 2012
Competition: 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifier; Semifinal Round
Venue: LIVESTRONG Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.
Kickoff: 6 p.m. CT
Attendance: 16,947
Weather: 79 degrees, clear

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                        3 0 3
GUA                       1 0 1

GUA – Carlos Ruiz (Jose Manuel Contreras) 5th minute
USA – Carlos Bocanegra (Clint Dempsey) 10
USA – Clint Dempsey (Eddie Johnson) 18
USA – Clint Dempsey (Michael Bradley) 36

USA : 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 20-Geoff Cameron, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 2-Michael Parkhurst; 19-Graham Zusi (7-Maurice Edu, 78), 14-Danny Williams, 4-Michael Bradley, 18-Eddie Johnson (11-Joe Corona, 90); 8-Clint Dempsey, 9-Herculez Gomez (16-Sacha Kljestan, 66)
Subs not used: 5-Kyle Beckerman,12-Brad Guzan, 17-Alan Gordon, 21-Clarence Goodson, 22-Nick Rimando
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

: 1-Ricardo Jerez Jr.; 2-Ruben Morales, 3-Elias Vasquez, 4-Erwin Morales, 23-Jonathan Lopez; 6-Wilfred Velasquez, 10-Mario Rodriguez (22-Minor Lopez, 46), 11-Jose Manuel Contreras, 15-Manuel Leon, 18-Carlos Figueroa (16-Marco Pappa, 46); 20-Carlos Ruiz (capt.) (17-Dwight Pezzarossi, 88)
Subs not used: 12-Cristian Alvarez, 21-Jaime Carbajal; 5-Wilson Lalin, 13-Claudio Albizuris, 7-Marco Tulio Ciani, 8-Gonzalo Romero, 14-Sergio Trujillo, 9-Henry Lopez, 19-Lester Ruiz
Head coach: Ever Hugo Almeida


Stats Summary: USA / GUA
Shots: 12 / 9
Shots on Goal: 8 / 4
Saves: 3 / 5
Corner Kicks: 8 / 5
Fouls: 11 / 12
Offside: 0 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
GUA – Elias Vasquez (caution) 76th minute
USA – Clint Dempsey (caution) 90+2

Referee: Roberto Moreno (PAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Daniel Williamson (PAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Keytzel Corrales (NCA)
Fourth Official: Luis Rodriguez (PAN)

Budweiser Man of the Match:
Clint Dempsey

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