USMNT vs. Guatemala: Do or Die

The USMNT faces Guatemala in a must-win game today in Columbus, Ohio. Currently the US sits at third place in Group C in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying. They sit behind Trinidad and Tobago and Guatemala. I repeat: they sit behind Trinidad and Tobago and Guatemala. If the Stars and Stripes can win today, they’ll be sitting pretty and looking to advance to the Hex, if they lose…. they are almost mathematically eliminated. How did we get to this point of desperation?

The USMNT has been in a wild funk lately. Remember rocking Ghana in Brazil? Remember Tim Howard standing on his head in an inspiring performance against Belgium? Remember when you felt good about the USMNT? I sure don’t.

Since demolishing Cuba 6-0 in the Quarterfinals of the Gold Cup last summer, the United States has been a sinking ship.

The USMNT is 1-4-1 since, with our only win over lowly St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We’ve lost some clunkers: to Jamaica in the Gold Cup semis, our first loss to them on US soil; and last Friday’s 2-0 defeat to Guatemala, our first loss in a 21-match unbeaten streak against Los Chapines). We’re also conceding the first goal in 9 of our 11 last matches.

One of those matches being the CONCACAF Cup at the Rose Bowl. That dispirited exercise resulting in a 3-2 to Mexico. The numbers are nicer to the game than it deserves, anyone who watched that game saw a listless American side thoroughly outplayed by El Tri. A win then would’ve expunged the poor Gold Cup performance and punched our ticket to the 2017 Confederations Cup (a tournament that we took silver in back in 2009). Instead we still wallow in eau de loser.

Today, the USMNT needs to beat Guatemala. We can beat Guatemala, but you just can’t take a US win to the bank anymore. In my entire conscious life as a soccer fan, the US has been dependable. Not great, but consistent. I was 4 the last time we missed a world cup (1986), and in the last 10 years we’ve been a power of CONCACAF.

The US made the semis in the 2002 World Cup and the Knockout Round in both 2010 and 2014. We’ve won 4 of the last 8 Gold Cups and qualified for 3 of the last 6 Confederations Cups. And yet now all that stands in jeopardy because of Jurgen Klinsmann.

Klinsmann has captained the ship like a drunk for almost 8 months now. His odd lineups and poor excuses keep piling up. Let’s hope we don’t have to suffer either this afternoon. A shame that. We have to rely on hope to beat Guatemala.

Updated: March 29, 2016 — 11:21 am
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