August 20, 2008
US wins 1st-ever World Cup Qualifier in Guatemala
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala---Fouls, yellow cards, red cards and a bloody injury to defender Eddie Lewis marred the game, but the United States still managed to do what they have never done before---win a World Cup Qualifier in Guatemala—1-0 on a goal by Carlos Bocanegra.
With fouls and yellows going both ways, and with both teams already down to ten men, the U.S. captain scored the game winning goal in the 69th minute. DaMarcus Beasley, who had just entered the game, sent a corner kick from the left side into the penalty area. Bocanegra managed to get open advancing toward the ball, and nodded a header into the inside netting at the far post.
That goal proved to be enough for the U.S., who held off a flurry of attacks by Guatemala in what amounted to a hurry up offense.
The United States went a man down first, when Steve Cherundolo was shown his second yellow of the game in the 60th minute. But it did not take long for the sides to even up again, as Gustavo Cabrera was ejected barely two minutes later for elbowing Lewis above they eye as the two went up for a ball. Lewis, bloodied, walked off the field under his own power. Beasley came in for Lewis and then helped set up the goal.
The U.S. almost went up 1-0 a minute earlier, when a 22-yard free kick by Landon Donovan was met by a powerful header by Oguchi Onyewu, but the shot was parried over the bar by Guatemala goalkeeper Ricardo Trigueno
Once they were down a goal, Guatemala pressed the U.S., but the defense and goalkeeper Tim Howard held strong. In the 74th minute, Yony Flores one-timed a shot high. Four minutes later, Jean Marquez got off a solid shot from 20 yards, but Howard grabbed it. In the 82nd minute, after smothering a loose ball that was going across the area, Howard was kicked in the head by Carlos Ruiz. Howard had an exchange with the LA Galaxy forward, and was shown a yellow.
Guatemala’s last chance came on a shot by the Chicago Fire’s Marco Pappa that was deflected and went right to Howard.
The U.S. took some early chances in the first half, with Clint Dempsey taking a long shot in the 26th minute that went high. A minute later, Michael Bradley sent a left-footed 20- yarder right at Trigueno .
Guatemala went on the offensive to open the second half, and severely challenged the U.S. defense. First, Ruiz made a stab at a ball after a defensive error in the 54th, but Howard was able to make the grab. A minute later, Howard beat Mario Rodriguez to a high ball, but the Guatemalan came close in the 56th, sending a shot from the top corner of the penalty area wide to the far post. Fredy Thompson had a shot go wide in the 58th minute and Ruiz flubbed his best real chance of the game, getting off a weak shot in the 60th minute that Howard had no problem with.