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Klinsmann eyes full points against Guatemala

24 March 2016, 15:07

Los Angeles - Clint Dempsey, back in US coach Jurgen Klinsmann's squad for Friday's 2018 World Cup qualifier in Guatemala City, is eager for the challenge.

The 33-year-old former Tottenham and Fulham striker missed the United States' first two matches in the fourth round of qualifying in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

But with Klinsmann eyeing full points from back-to-back matches against Guatemala -- on Friday and at home in Columbus, Ohio, next week -- Dempsey is hoping to contribute.

"I have enjoyed my time with th national team and every time I have got called up to camp and played in games I have had the same mentality," Dempsey, now with Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders, told US Soccer.

"I have played my best, left everything on the field and if you get opportunities to play, you continue in the same way. I don't think that just because you have a little time off that you would change."

A 6-1 victory over St. Vincent and the Grenadines and goalless draw with Trinidad and Tobago last November mean the US team could clinch a spot in the North American hexagonal qualifying finals with a Guatemala sweep.

Also read: USA break Ghana hearts

"Our goal definitely for the two Guatemala fixtures is six points," Klinsmann said.

"We know it's going to be very difficult, especially the game in Guatemala City. It will be vital how we come out right away from the first second in Guatemala City and hopefully being able to get three points. That would make things a lot easier for the second game."

Dempsey is joined in the squad by MLS players Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley, while eight others are from European sides, including Sunderland defender DeAndre Yedlin, Stoke City defender Geoff Cameron and goalkeepers Brad Guzan of Aston Villa and Tim Howard of Everton.

Like the United States, Trinidad and Tobago have four points through two Group C matches. Trinidad will try to build on that total when they visit St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Friday.

In other matches, Canada host regional powerhouse Mexico, the 2015 Gold Cup winners who top Group A with two wins in two matches.

Canada, second in the group after a win over Honduras and a draw in El Salvador, will be looking for an upset at BC Palace in Vancouver, where with more than 46,000 tickets sold in advance the crowd promises to be the largest ever for a home World Cup qualifier.

Elsewhere in Group A, El Salvador host Honduras, while in Group B Jamaica -- whose fourth-round campaign got off to a shaky start with a loss at home to Panama -- try to steady the ship when they host group leaders Costa Rica and Haiti are at home to Panama.

The top two teams in each group advance to the final six-team round robin Hexagonal for a place in the World Cup finals in Russia.

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