PROVING GROUND FOR U.S. IN FINAL MATCH OF SEMIFINAL ROUND: With their ticket to the final round already booked, the U.S. will put some players through a trial by fire in the last match of the semifinal phase. A largely inexperienced will get to test their mettle against a Guatemala team desperate for a victory that would keep their hopes of advancement alive. The U.S. has been nearly untouchable throughout the campaign so far, the lone blemish coming in the 2-1 loss in Trinidad last month. Meantime, the Guatemalans have a new head coach and a do-or-die approach the match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, the first ever at the stadium and the first World Cup qualifier ever in the state of Colorado. While the result may not be important for the United States, their performance may play a key role in determining which of the up and coming stars will have a role to play next year when the road to South Africa takes its last turn into the final round hexagonal.
- Eighteen players are eligible to dress for both the U.S. and Guatemala, and must wear 1-18 for jersey numbers.
- Jozy Altidore and Pablo Mastroeni are carrying yellow cards into Wednesday’s match. Any player accumulating two cautions will be suspended for the next FIFA World Cup qualifier. Carlos Castillo and Cristian Noriega are in the same boat for Guatemala.
- Freddy Adu was the last player to arrive into camp, reaching Denver on Monday following AS Monaco’s 2-1 loss to Carlos Bocanegra and Rennes this past Sunday.
- The loss to T&T on Oct. 15 snapped a seven-match winning streak for the U.S. dating back to the Final Round of 2006 qualifying. The six straight victories in the 2010 campaign set a team record for most consecutive wins in one cycle.
- Six players on the current roster appeared in that match: Freddy Adu, Jozy Altidore, Brad Guzan, Sacha Kljestan and Chris Rolfe.
- Like the last qualifier, there are 13 players on the U.S. roster who have 10 caps or fewer. Conversely, Pablo Mastroeni is the leading capwinner on the roster with 61 international appearances.
- Mastroeni is one of two players on the roster who started in the USA’s 1-0 victory in Guatemala on Aug. 20 to open Semifinal Round action. Brian Ching also made the starting XI, while Brad Guzan and Sacha Kljestan served as reserves.
- That win was the USA’s first in Guatemala in 20 years, and only the second in team history.
- Brian Ching and Clint Dempsey are tied for the U.S. lead in goals scored in the current qualifying campaign with four goals each. Landon Donovan now has nine career qualifying goals, one behind the USA’s all-time leader Brian McBride.
- Jozy Altidore is the only other player on the roster with a goal in World Cup qualifying to his credit, having put away the sixth goal in the USA’s 6-0 dismantling of Cuba on Oct. 11 in Washington, D.C.
- Brad Guzan has made six appearances in 2008, including four starts and consecutive shutout victories against Barbados in the Second Round of qualifying. Guzan recently went 90 minutes in Aston Villa’s 1-0 victory away to Slavia Prague in Group F of the UEFA Cup, earning a shutout in only his second start for Villa.
- Three players on the roster finished in the top 10 in scoring in MLS this year. FC Dallas striker Kenny Cooper finished one behind Golden Boot winner Landon Donovan with 18 goals, while Brian Ching ended in fifth place with 13 goals. Chris Rolfe scored nine for the Eastern Conference finalists Chicago Fire.
- Sean Franklin was recently awarded the 2008 MLS Rookie of the Year honor, one of three players on the roster to have earned that achievement along with Jonathan Bornstein and Michael Parkhurst.
- All told, there are 14 players on the roster who ply their trade in MLS, and all 20 have spent time in the domestic league in their careers.
- Three players are in the squad from the Colorado Rapids. In addition to team captain Mastroeni, Conor Casey and Cory Gibbs return to the U.S. fold. Casey looks to get his first international action since 2005, while Gibbs comes back after a knee injury knocked him off the 2006 FIFA World Cup roster.
- Just prior to coming to camp, goalkeeper Troy Perkins and his club side Valerenga claimed the 2008 Norwegian Cup with a resounding 4-1 win against league champions Staebek.
- The U.S. is playing its first-ever World Cup qualifier in the state of Colorado, and its first game at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The last appearance in Colorado came April 3, 2002, when a Clint Mathis goal lifted the U.S. to a 1-0 win against Mexico at Invesco Field in Denver.
- The U.S. has posted an 8-3-2 record in 2008, which includes a run of six straight victories in FIFA World Cup qualifying, a road win against Poland and a 0-0 draw against then No. 1-ranked Argentina. Overall, the U.S. has scored 28 goals while surrendering only six.
SPREADING THE WEALTH: Much has been made about the USA’s smothering defense in 2008 – and with eight shutouts, including a scoreless draw against then-No. 1 ranked Argentina, why shouldn’t there be? – but just as a successful defense requires all 11 players, so does the attack. So where have the U.S. goals come from? A quick examination of the 28 goals the U.S. put in the back of the net – well, 27 technically as one is registered as an own goal - reveals that:
- Six goals have come from defenders; five of those on set pieces
- 21 goals have come from attacking players, whether midfielders or forwards
- One came from the penalty spot
TWO BIG DRAWS COMING: FIFA has announced that the draw to determine the placement of teams in the CONCACAF Final Round hexagonal for 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying will take place on Nov. 22 at 1 p.m. local time in Johannesburg. Teams will learn their opponents as well as home and away dates for all 10 Final Round qualifiers that will determine the three automatic berths for CONCACAF in 2010 in South Africa. The United States, Costa Rica and El Salvador have already advanced to the Final Round, with the remaining three teams to be determined on Nov. 19 on the final matchday of the semifinal phase.
Following the announcement, FIFA will conduct the draw for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup that will be held from June 14-28 in South Africa. The United States will participate along with hosts South Africa, Brazil, Egypt, Iraq, Italy, New Zealand and Spain.
CLUB CONNECTIONS: Surprisingly, only a couple this time around. Chris Rolfe and John Thorrington share the same locker room with Marco Pappa in Chicago, the trio coming off a 2-1 loss to Columbus in the Eastern Conference finals. Sean Franklin now sits in the space at The Home Depot Center that was once the home of Guillermo “El Pando” Ramirez, who many will recall scored the championship-winning goal in overtime for the Los Angeles Galaxy in the 2005 MLS Cup.
BOB ON THE JOB: Since January of 2007 it has been the charge of U.S. head coach Bob Bradley to achieve the most important goal of any soccer playing nation: qualification for the FIFA World Cup. With 29 games under his belt, seeing 68 different players at least once, and the process of reaching South Africa in 2010 in full swing, a review of the body of work during the past 20 months points to the U.S. clearly heading in the right direction. Since the start of the four-year cycle, the U.S. has:
• Won six straight FIFA World Cup qualifiers in a row, a new team record
• Defended the CONCACAF Gold Cup title and qualified for the 2009 Confederations Cup
• Won by the largest margin of victory in U.S. World Cup qualifying history (8-0 vs. Barbados on 6/15/08)
• Won back-to-back games in Europe for the first time in team history (Oct. 17, 2007, at Switzerland and March 26, 2008, at Poland)
• Won three straight matches on the road for the first time in team history (Oct. 17, 2007, at Switzerland, Nov. 17 at South Africa and March 26, 2008, at Poland)
• Played five matches against four teams ranked in the Top 10 in the world at the time they stepped on the field against them (Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Spain)
• Played matches on four continents and in two major international tournaments
THE BRADLEY BREAKDOWN
Goal For: 59
Goals Against: 28
Record vs. …
CONCACAF: 12-1-2, 32 GF, 8 GA
CONMEBOL: 1-4-1, 7 GF, 13 GA
UEFA: 4-3-0, 9 GF, 5 GA
AFC: 1-0-0, 4 GF, 1 GA
CAF: 1-0-0, 1 GF, 0 GA
Record when …
When leading at half: 13-0-1
When losing at half: 1-2-0
When tied at half: 6-6-2
GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY: The 1-0 victory against Cuba earlier this round marked the USA’s 50th all-time win in qualifying play for the U.S. Overall, the U.S. holds a 52-30-29 lifetime record in FIFA World Cup qualifying action, posting a 39-9-19 mark since 1990. Also since qualifying for the 1990 FIFA World Cup, the U.S. boasts an impressive 26-1-6 record on home soil.
CHECK OUT PROZONE: In a continuing effort to provide U.S. Soccer fans with the most in-depth coverage of our national teams, ProZone has provided stat analysis of the U.S. Men’s National Team’s recent qualifying matches against Trinidad & Tobago (http://www.ussoccer.com/articles/viewArticle.jsp_10616838.html) and Cuba (http://www.ussoccer.com/articles/viewArticle.jsp_10584069.html). ProZone is a soccer match analysis system that provides team and player specific technical and tactical statistics.
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CONCACAF WORLD CUP QUALIFYING RESET
USA CLINCHED GROUP 1 AFTER FOUR: The U.S., despite losing its last match, maintains an iron-clad grip on first place in Group 1, collecting 12 points from five matches. T & T have made a run at the hexagonal by earning four points from their last two games, including a massive point away to Guatemala. The subsequent win against the U.S. on Oct. 15 put The Soca Warriors in the driver’s seat for second place, and they need just a point against Cuba in Port of Spain to assure progression to the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
MEXICO ALMOST HOME IN GROUP 2: Mexico and Honduras have just about qualified for the next round, but it has not been an easy stretch by any means. El Tri stumbled in recent weeks – losing to Jamaica and drawing against Canada, but they only need a point against Honduras to be assured of qualification to the next round. That same point would go a long way for Honduras, as they would then only be eliminated with a big Jamaica win. The Reggae Boyz need all three points, plus some help from Mexico if they want to have any chance of reaching the hexagonal. Canada is preparing for the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Group 2 GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
Mexico 5 3 1 1 9 5 +4 10
Honduras 5 3 2 0 8 5 +3 9
Jamaica 5 2 2 1 3 6 -3 7
Canada 5 0 3 2 6 10 -4 2
Canada 1, Jamaica 1
Mexico 2, Honduras 1
Mexico 3, Jamaica 1
Canada 1, Honduras 2
Honduras 2, Jamaica 0
Mexico 2, Canada 1
Jamaica 3, Mexico 1
Honduras 3, Canada 1
Jamaica 1, Honduras 0
Canada 2, Mexico 2
Honduras vs. Mexico
Jamaica vs. Canada
GROUP 3 DONE AND DUSTED: Unlike its two counterparts Group 3 is fully wrapped up. Costa Rica became the first team to advance to the hexagonal when they dispatched Suriname 4-1 on Oct. 11. El Salvador followed suit by beating Suriname 3-0 four days later.
Group 3 GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
Costa Rica* 5 5 0 0 17 2 +15 15
El Salvador* 5 3 1 1 10 1 +9 10
Haiti 5 0 3 2 3 12 -9 2
Suriname 5 0 4 1 3 18 -15 1
*Has already qualified for the next stage
Costa Rica 1, El Salvador 0
Haiti 2, Suriname 2
El Salvador 5, Haiti 0
Costa Rica 7, Suriname 0
Suriname 0, El Salvador 1
Haiti 1, Costa Rica 3
Suriname 1, Costa Rica 4
Haiti 0, El Salvador 0
Costa Rica 2, Haiti 0
El Salvador 3, Suriname 0
Suriname vs. Haiti
El Salvador vs. Costa Rica
IN FOCUS: GUATEMALA
GUATEMALA FACT FILE
Federación Nacional de Fútbol de Guatemala
Founded: 1919 (Joined FIFA in 1946)
Head Coach: Benjamín Monterroso
Best World Cup Finish: Never qualified in 11 attempts
Best CONCACAF Gold Cup Finish: 4th place, 1996
Caps Leader: Victor Hugo Monzon (103)
Top Scorer: Carlos Ruiz (39)
Key Players: Fredy Thompson, Luis Rodriguez, Marco Pappa
UP AGAINST IT: Guatemala have it all to do in the final game of the Semifinal Round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. Los Chapines need a win coupled with a Trinidad & Tobago loss to have any chance of making it to the Final Round in 2009. Following Guatemala's disappointing 2-1 loss to Cuba in Havana, the Guatemalan Federation sacked Ramon Maradiaga and has given the reigns to Benjamín Monterroso.
A FORMER CAPTAIN: Monterroso, a former captain for the national team, was appointed head coach of the Guatemalan National Team on Oct. 27. A player in the 1976 Olympics, Monterroso also took part in the World Cup qualifying campaigns in 1974 and 1978. As a manager, the 56 year-old has taken charge of Municipal (where he spent nearly 10 year of his playing career), Universidad, Jalapa, and Suchitepéquez. “Mincho,” as he is known, has also managed the Guatemalan team on an interim basis in 1998 and 1999, and the Olympic team in 2000. In January 2007 he became the head coach of the Guatemala Women's National Team.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Guatemala secured passage to the Semifinal Round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying by virtue of a 9-1 aggregate victory against St. Lucia. In the first leg, Guatemala defeated their opponents comprehensively, smashing six goals past a St. Lucian defense in Guatemala City. Forward Carlos Ruiz tallied four goals, while the Guatemalan defense was rarely troubled in the 6-0 victory. In the return leg, St. Lucia kept the score closer, but Guatemala's qualification was already all but assured. In a match played at the Coliseum in Los Angeles, two goals from Gonzalo Romero and one from Abner Trigueros spurred the Guatemalans to a 3-1 win.
IN ’06: Guatemala progressed to the CONCACAF Final Round during qualification for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, ultimately finishing with 11 points - two points behind eventual World Cup finalists Trinidad & Tobago. In the two games against the United States, Guatemala only managed one point, a draw on Sept. 7, 2005, in Guatemala City. In Birmingham, Ala., earlier in the year, the U.S. beat the Central American visitors courtesy of goals by Steve Ralston and Eddie Johnson.
VS. THE U.S.: The U.S. is 11-4-5 lifetime against Guatemala and is currently riding a seven-match shutout streak against the Chapines. The teams have met nine times overall in World Cup qualifying play, with the U.S. holding an unbeaten 5-0-4 mark in the series. Guatemala's most recent game with Bob Bradley's team came in August, with the U.S. grinding out a difficult 1-0 win in Guatemala City. After both teams were reduced to 10 men in the second half, Carlos Bocanegra got on the end of a DaMarcus Beasley corner kick to score the decisive goal. Tim Howard and the American defense were in fantastic form, keeping a clean sheet in the toughest of circumstances.
THE LAST TIME …
… the USA faced Guatemala
August 20, 2008 | Estadio Mateo Flores – Guatemala City Guatemala | 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying – Semifinal Round
Scoring: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1 Carlos Bocanegra (DaMarcus Beasley) 69
Guatemala 0 0 0
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 15-Heath Pearce, 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 3-Carlos Bocanegra, 6-Steve Cherundolo; 10-Landon Donovan, 12-Michael Bradley, 4-Pablo Mastroeni (13-Maurice Edu, 78), 7-Eddie Lewis (17-DaMarcus Beasley, 65); 11-Brian Ching, 8-Clint Dempsey (2-Frankie Hejduk, 65)
Subs Not Used: 18-Brad Guzan, 9-Eddie Johnson, 14-Jay DeMerit, 16-Sacha Kljestan
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
GUA: 1-Ricardo Trigueno; 4-Yony Flores, 14-Luis Rodriguez, 7-Mario Rodriguez, 11-Guillermo Ramirez, 9-Carlos Ruiz, 5-Carlos Gallardo, 6-Gustavo Cabrera, 10-Freddy Garcia (2-Carlos Castrillo, 66), 15-Fredy Thompson (12-Jean Marquez, 64), 16-Jose Manuel Contreras (13-Marco Pablo Pappa, 74)
Subs Not Used: 18-Luis Molina, 3-Cristian Noriega, 8-Gonzalo Romero, 17-Dwight Pezzarossi
Head Coach: Ramon Maradiaga
Cautions: Steve Cherundolo (USA) 17, Guillermo Ramirez (GUA) 27, Clint Dempsey (GUA) 27, Pabo Mastroeni (USA) 33, Steve Cherundolo (USA) 60, Jose Manuel Contreras (GUA) 68, Tim Howard (USA) 83; Ejections: Steve Cherundolo (USA) 60, Gustavo Cabrera (GUA) 63
… on the field for the USA
October 15, 2008 | Hasely Crawford Stadium – Port of Spain, Trinidad | 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying – Semifinal Round
Scoring: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1 Charlie Davies (Jozy Altidore) 75
Trinidad & Tobago 0 2 2 Russel Latapy (Carlos Edwards) 61, Dwight Yorke (penalty kick) 79
USA: 18-Brad Guzan; 15-Heath Pearce (11-Chris Rolfe, 88), 14-Danny Califf, 5-Michael Orozco, 2-Frankie Hejduk; 7-DaMarcus Beasley, 4-Jose Francisco Torres (8-Danny Szetela, 84), 17-Freddy Adu (10-Charlie Davies, 69), 13-Maurice Edu, 16-Sacha Kljestan; 17; 9-Jozy Altidore.
Subs not used: 1-Troy Perkins, 3-Jonathan Bornstein, 6-Marvell Wynne, 12-Brian Carroll.
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
TRI: 1-Clayton Ince; 3-Akile Edwards, 5-Keyeno Thomas (4-Makan Hislop, 35), 6-Dennis Lawrence; 7-Chris Brichill, 9-Keon Daniel, 10-Russel Latapy (8-Khaleem Hyland, 76), 11-Carlos Edwards, 16-Silvio Spann, 12-Jason Scotland (14-Stern John, 67), 17-Dwight Yorke
Subs not used: 2-Clyde Leon, 13-Osei Telesford, 15-Darryl Roberts, 18-Marvin Phillip
Head Coach: Francisco Maturana
Cautions: Jozy Altidore (USA) 78; Ejections: None
… on the field for Guatemala
October 15, 2008 | Estadio Pedro Marrero – Havana, Cuba | 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying – Semifinal Round
Scoring: 1 2 F
Cuba 1 1 2
Guatemala 0 1 1
CUB: 12-Odelin Molina; 17-Kanier Dranguet, 6-Lazaro Alfonso (13-Carlos Francisco, 74), 3-Yeniel Márquez, 2-Silvio Miñoso; 14-Jaime Colomé (8-Alianni Montaya, 90), 5-José Luis Clavelo (capt.), 10-Roberto Linares, 9-Alain Cervantes, 11-Jenzy Muñoz (7-Luis Villegas, 77); 15-Leonel Duarte
Subs not used: 1-Dany Quintero, 4-Yusvanys Caballeros, 16-Mario Ruiz, 18-Heviel Cordovez
Head Coach: Raul Gonzalez
GUA: 1-Ricardo Trigueño; 4-Yony Flores, 13-Marco Papa, 14-Luis Rodriguez, 5-Carlos Gallardo; 6-Gustavo Cabrera (7-Abner Trigueros, 71); 3-Cristian Noriega, 8-Gonzalo Romero (16-Jean Marquez, 60), 12-Jose Contreras (11-Marvin Avila), 15-Fredy Thompson; 9-Carlos Ruiz (capt.)
Subs Not Used: 2-Carlos Castrillo, 10-Freddy Garcia, 17-Mynor Morales, 18-Luis Molina
Head Coach: Ramon Maradiaga
Cautions: Silvio Miñoso (CUB) 9, Alain Cervantes (CUB) 15, Jaime Colomé (CUB) 18, José Luis Clavelo (CUB) 28, Lazaro Alfonso (CUB) 42, Cristian Noriega (GUA) 44, Luis Rodriguez (GUA) 45, Gustavo Cabrera (GUA)