Guatemala Fends Off US Men's National Team, Gets Big 2-0 Victory

Guatemala got a big win in World Cup Qualification at the Estadio Nacional Mateo Flores. They defeated the U.S. Men's National Team by a score of 2-0, with both coming in the opening 15 minutes. Rafael Morales scored in the seventh minute before Carlos Ruiz clinched the three points. 

Hosts get off to quick start

A poor back pass led to Guatemala winning a corner. And on the ensuing out-swinging cross, Guatemala took the lead. Rafael Morales nodded his header downwards and it hit off the back of Mix Diskerud. The deflection fooled Tim Howard and the hosts took a surprising lead. 

That goal, though, seemed to calm the United States down. They holding the ball more and had a half-chance moments after the restart. DeAndre Yedlin found Clint Dempsey with a nice throw-in down the right hand side. The Seattle Sounders man tried to cut the ball back to Bobby Wood, but he could not connect on the pass. This would have been a great confidence booster for the side knowing that they are still in the game. 

Guatemala, though, scored a second goal 15 minutes into the match and dealt a big blow. Paulo Motta, hit a goal kick straight up the middle of the pitch. None of the US defenders were able to get in the right position to defend and the ball over the top fell to Carlos Ruiz. The C.S.D. Municipal striker had acres of space open up in behind the defense as a result and made the most of it. Ruiz opened his body up to look as if he was going to shoot at the far post. Instead, he chose the closer corner and used his right foot to double their advantage.  

The US though, continued to search for a goal to pull themselves back into this game. They tried to pass it around, but looked short of ideas in the final third of the pitch. Alejandro Bedoya though, in the 22nd minute, could have pulled one back for the visitors. Dempsey was again involved in the foray and chipped a pass over Guatemala's defense. Bedoya got on the end of it, but instead of hitting it first time, he tried to round the goalkeeper.

Photo: Johan Ordonez/AFP/Getty Images
Photo: Johan Ordonez/AFP/Getty Images

Motta keeps US off score sheet

Paulo Motta, who had little work in the first half, made two great saves in the beginning stages of the second. Yedlin made his way to the byline on the first attempt before sliding a low pass back towards the middle of the area. Clint Dempsey made a run to get a shot away that Motta block, but left a rebound. Bedoya, who plays for Nantes in France, got the rebound but fired his shot straight at Motta.

Guatemala's first chance of the second half came in the 69th minute. Gerson Tinoco received a ball in the left side of the as he lined a shot up. If it wasn't for Yedlin's block, Guatemala could have scored their third goal of the night. This would have put the hosts well in front and could have cruised towards victory. 

Motta was superb in net tonight and came up with another stop with ten minutes remaining. Jozy Altidore found space in behind the defense and had only the goalkeeper to beat. The Toronto man's attempt tried to find the bottom left corner but it hit off of Motta's right leg. 

This was a huge victory for the Central America side. Not only are they now in second, but they will get a massive confidence boost heading into the rematch. The next time these two countries meet again is on Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio.