BRIAN SCIARETTA - Tuesday, June 12, 2012
The United States national team will face an important game on Tuesday night when they travel to Central America to take on Guatemala in an important 2014 World Cup qualifier.
The US opened its qualifying on Friday night with an unconvincing 3-1 win over Antigua and Barbuda. During the game, the US was unable to finish and was lacking creativity in the final third. Also in central defense, long time veteran Oguchi Onyewu was shaky.
Heading into tonight's match, the US team will be playing in an extremely hostile environment where it has historically struggled to come away with victories.
In addition the United States team is dealing with several injuries. Left backs Edgar Castillo and Fabian Johnson are both questionable for the game as well as midfielder Jose Torres who left the Antigua game early because of an injury.
The US team will therefore likely go with Michael Parkhurst at left back and Steve Cherundolo on the right. In the middle, Clarence Goodson and Carlos Bocanegra are the logical bets given the struggles of Onyewu.
In the midfield, likely starters Jermaine Jones, Maurice Edu, and Michael Bradley have all seen significant minutes recently for the team and they will try to dictate pace of the game in Guatemala.
The US offense is lead by Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan who are the US team's most established players. At central forward, Jozy Altidore should return to his starting position ahead of Terrence Boyd and Herculez Gomez.
Guatemala is facing a must win game after dropping their first game to Jamaica on Friday. A loss to the Americans along with Jamaica's likely win over Antigua would put Guatemala six points behind second place.