United States 3-1 Guatemala – Thoughts – WCQ – 16 October 2012
It was not the greatest start but the United States ended up defeated Guatemela 3-1 to advance to the final round of qualifying.
Work in Progress
The United States are not anything close to playing a style like Spain or Argentina and there’s no way Klinsmann was going to transform the team in 14 months. The team has showed some positive signs but also there are several concerns. The main thing is that they advanced to the final round of qualifying and should make it to Brazil 2014.
Who is the back four
The only spot that appears to be locked down is Steve Cherundolo at right back. He’s been as consistent as any player for several years and is virtually a lock (barring injury) to start all the upcoming qualifiers in 2013.
The question mark is the other spots especially at left back. Michael Parkhurst filled in well on Tuesday night but wasn’t really tested against a defensive minded Guatemala. He’s also more of a central defender and/or right back. Geoff Cameron is probably the safest pick in central defense but his pairing with Clarence Goodson and Carlos Bocanegra was not great. The left back problem could be solved when Fabian Johnson and/or Edgar Castillo is healthy but not necessarily.
There are very few national teams that don’t have some concerns defensively but the USA need to have some depth and answers when there are injuries (which are inevitable).
Zusi, EJ make their mark
The two players who took advantage of their chances in these last two qualifiers were Eddie Johnson and Graham Zusi. EJ was played out of position both matches but showed an ability to get behind defenders with good pace and a strong work-rate He provided crucial goals against Antigua & Barbuda along with a solid assist last night.
Zusi had two quality performances in midfield and could possibly start several qualifiers in 2013. He provided composure on the ball and creativity that the injured Landon Donovan usually provides.
Both players look to be important factors for the hexagonal and show that their is depth, especially in the midfield, in the USA roster pool.