Redemption in Columbus: US 4, GT 0
Over the weekend, I posted about the USMNT’s embarrassing loss to 95th ranked Guatemala in Guatemala City – its first in World Cup qualifying. The loss triggered calls for firing Coach Jurgen Klinsmann who is 46-14-21 in 5 years as coach (only Bruce Arena has won more games).
Tonight the the two teams met in a rematch in Columbus’s MAPFRE Stadium.
The US’ veteran players responded by delivering a 4-0 drubbing to Los Chapines, moving back into second place in group qualifying. The rout was more in line with the last three meetings of the teams in which the US outscored Guatemala 13-1.
The win featured two milestone goals by Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore.
While the win is a relief, at the end of the day its still merely a win over a 95th ranked team.
So no end of days purge, red wedding, return of the beast etc, etc. Just the sort of routineUSA win over Guatemala that the teams relative statures would normally indicate.
There’s nothing quite normal about these times though. The USA removed questions about their immediate destiny but the questions still remain about their head coach — a crisis was averted tonight, but the memory of the inept and disjointed side that lost in Guatemala may leave the more indelible image from this international break.
Nothing has changed because the U.S. beat Guatemala. Beating the 95th-ranked team in the world doesn’t fix anything. It can’t fix anything. To say it does and anything has changed is to say that being superior to Guatemala is the Americans’ bar, and nobody in the world thinks that is what the U.S. is aiming for or ever should aim for.
It’s just Guatemala. At home. Everything, aside from impending catastrophe, is just as it was. Because it was still just one match against an overmatched opponent.
The evening was not all good news. The winner of the U-23 MNT game against Colombia in Frisco, Texas would get to go to the Olympics in Rio. Despite Colombia continuing its fabled tradition of own-goals against the US, the US still lost 2-1 before a paltry crowd of 7,998.
ESPN summarized the game in 1 sentence.
Following a nightmare in Nashville four years ago, when the Americans were eliminated by El Salvador, they had a fiasco in Frisco.
As a result, the U.S. had last failed to qualify for consecutive Olympics for the first time since 1968.