Los Angeles - The United States got their flagging 2018
World Cup qualification campaign back on track on Tuesday with a 4-0 thrashing
A shock 2-0 defeat to the Guatemalans last Friday had left
Jurgen Klinsmann's side facing a must-win return fixture in Columbus, where a
defeat would have all but eliminated them from North, Central America and the
Caribbean (CONCACAF) zone qualifiers.
But the USA, who have appeared at every World Cup finals
since the 1990 tournament in Italy, never looked like being denied all three
points as they dominated from the opening minutes.
US skipper Michael Bradley said the experienced heads in the
American starting line-up, which contained several figures from their
successful 2014 World Cup campaign, had been crucial.
"We've got a lot of guys who've played these kind of
games before and I think our experience and our commitment carried us
through," Bradley said.
"It's a great result and we'll keep moving on. For me,
the difference was the collective mentality, the willingness of everyone to
forget about everything else and when that whistle blew, spill their guts on
The crucial first American goal came in the 12th minute,
when a long ball forward caused confusion as Los Angeles Galaxy striker Gyasi
Zardes darted forward.
Zardes's run panicked Guatemala's central defensive duo of
Moises Hernandez and Rafael Morales, who crashed into each other and allowed
the loose ball to fall into the path of Clint Dempsey, who rifled home the
It was Dempsey's 49th international goal, leaving him only
eight behind Landon Donovan's all-time US record.
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The second goal arrived just after the half-hour mark.
Germany-based winger Bobby Wood went on a jinking run wide
out on the left only to be brought down by a clumsy challenge from Cristian
Jimenez, who was booked.
Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley stepped up for the
free-kick and curled in a superb ball for Geoff Cameron, who thumped home the
header for 2-0.
It got better for the home fans within 20 seconds of the
second half when the USA went 3-0 up with a goal created inadvertently by
Zardes after he miscontrolled a pass from DeAndre Yedlin.
Zardes' clumsy touch wrongfooted the Guatemalan defense and
Zusi pounced to tuck away the low finish.
The Americans continued to torment the visitors and soon
after having a goal wrongly disallowed for offside went 4-0 ahead when Dempsey
pounced on another blunder to tee up substitute Jozy Altidore to crash home the
The result vaulted the Americans over Guatemala into second
place in the standings in the four-team Group C, behind Trinidad and Tobago,
who defeated St. Vincent and the Grenadines 6-0 on Tuesday.
The top two teams in the group qualify for the final round
of competition to determine CONCACAF's World Cup contingent.
Elsewhere Tuesday, Mexico guaranteed their place in the
final round with a 2-0 win over Canada in Group A. The victory leaves Mexico
with 12 points from four games, with two rounds left to play. Mexico are eight
points clear of second placed Honduras.
In Group B, Costa Rica and Panama are favored to progress.
Costa Rica, 3-0 winners over Jamaica on Tuesday, lead Panama by three points.For
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