Guatemala Vs USA
Guatemala Vs USA, Preamble: So having defeated the might of Antigua and Barbuda 3-1 in Florida on Friday night, the USMNT travel to Guatemala for the second game of their World Cup Qualifying campaign. Upon arrival they will be greeted with garlands of flowers likely find themselves on the receiving end of a pretty hostile welcome on and off the pitch. This one might be lively…
The hosts are coming into the game on the back of a defeat to Jamaica in their opening game, but with two games against Antigua up next, that may not necessarily translate into urgency to go for the win tonight – though if history is any guide they will definitely try to create a hostile environment for the US. Los Chapines are expected to play a 4-4-2 that resets to a defensive 4-5-1 off the ball, and force the US to try to break them down – prompting a suggestion that Klinsmann may drop Maurice Edu in midfield, ask Michael Bradley to stay deep and bring in another striker alongside Herculez Gomez. The problem with this approach (and why we won’t see it from the start tonight) is not so much the additional vulnerability on the counter, as the evidence during the recent run of US games that 4-4-2 just isn’t working for them. The most notable example of its failure came just last weekend, in a rather flat-footed tie against Canada (cue outraged e-mails on the nuances of 4-4-1-1 and Dempsey in the withdrawn role – and rather fewer e-mails on how brilliantly that worked out…).
One definite bright spot has been the emergence of Herculez Gomez as a credible starting striker, while there is optimism for the future with the fact that Terrence Boyd, who just signed for Rapid Vienna, is also now cap-tied to the US through his cameo sub appearance vs Antigua (though he’s not expected to suit up tonight). The problems remain in finding the most fluid formation to balance the midfield personnel in, while the left back crisis has been deepened by problem injuries during the run of 5 games that have made up Klinsmann’s “mini-tournament” for this national team camp. Fabian Johnson faces a struggle to be fit in time for tonight, and if he can’t last the evening Bocanegra may have to move left and set up a mini-shiffle of center backs that Klinsmann could do without. (The Guardian)