LOS ANGELES – One may have thought that Jurgen Klinsmann’s USMNT might fold under the pressure following Friday’s 0-2 humiliation in Guatemala City. But they didn’t and last night in Columbus, Ohio, the Yanks rallied in front of more than 20,000 fans to topple Guatemala 4-0.
Once again, Clint Dempsey proved he was a player for the big occasions, setting the tone for the U.S. early, much like he had in the American’s 2014 World Cup opener against Ghana. Dempsey, the USMNT’s all-time leading scorer against Guatemala, blasted the U.S. into the lead just 12 minutes after the match started.
Geoff Cameron doubled the U.S. tally with a headed 35th minute goal before Graham Zusi effectively put the game to bed by adding a third goal one minute into the second half. Jozy Altidore came on as a substitute to score the Americans’ a final goal just before the end of full match play.
Klinsmann must also be given credit for putting his tendency to experiment aside in favor of a practical and ultimately effective lineup. DeAndre Yedlin was restored to the backline and Geoff Cameron, a regular starter for Premier League side, Stoke City, started at center back ahead of Michael Orozco, who has yet to make a league appearance for his Club Tijuana this year.
Klinsmann made five changes from the team that had lost on Friday, handing Steve Birnbaum his debut at center back opposite Cameron and restoring Kyle Beckerman to the midfield alongside Michael Bradley and Graham Zusi.
The favorable result takes some of the heat off Klinsmann and puts the U.S. back on solid ground in terms of its World Cup qualifying campaign.
Surprisingly, Christian Pulisic debuted in jersey number 11, Pulisic, a 17-year-old who usually plays midfield for Borussia Dortmund, is now cap tied to the U.S. Pulisic came on in the 81st minute and generally made a good account of himself.
But while Tuesday’s good result succeeded in talking the American soccer community off its collective ledge, the drastic contrast in results still exemplifies the schizophrenic nature of this team under Klinsmann at the moment.
Photos by ISI and John Todd. Edited by DLHII.