International Football

USA vs. Guatemala: Americans Shouldn't Worry About Disappointing Draw

TORONTO, CANADA - JUNE 3:  Clint Dempsey #8 of USA against Canada during their international friendly match on June 3, 2012 at BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
Tim KeeneyContributor IJune 13, 2012

After a 1-1 draw with Guatemala in Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier, U.S. Men's National Team supporters will likely be disappointed.

But I urge you to resist the temptation. 

I know it will be tough. The 4-1 loss to world powerhouse Brazil was certainly excusable, especially since the Americans were coming off a win over Italy and a 5-1 drubbing of Scotland.

But then the U.S. drew with Canada in an international friendly, looked mediocre against tiny Antigua and now this. A draw with Guatemala, the 85th-ranked country in the world.

Is there reason to worry? Probably. But should you? Absolutely not. You have to look beyond the final score. 

First there was Clint Dempsey's goal. The Fulham star avoided two defenders with spectacular dribbling and slotted a clinical right-footed shot into the back of the net.

Dempsey was mostly bottled up for the rest of the night, but it was his second goal in as many matches; as long as he continues his Fulham form on the international stage, the Americans will always be in good shape.

If the Americans' recent struggles could be pinned solely on Dempsey's play, then I would be worried. But he has continued to show fine form.

As for the goal the U.S. gave up...teams give up free kicks all the time. You have to give credit to Marco Pappa for a terrific strike; there was really nothing Tim Howard could have done.

If nothing else, this draw showed the Americans how teams will try to beat them. The Guatemalans pushed up and made it hard for Dempsey to link forward with Herculez Gomez. 

The Americans need to find a way to fix that. But being handed a good lesson while still gaining a point in group play is far from a bad thing.

After all of that, the Americans still probably should have come away with the victory, as Jozy Altidore's late goal was waved off because of a Guatemala foul. 

It was a learning experience, but still a positive result. You don't always get that type of benefit. 

The Americans are still in good shape, sitting at the top of Group A with Jamaica. They remain a heavy favorite to advance to the fourth round, where the World Cup will be within striking distance.

So while you may be tempted to complain about this result, look at the positives and remember that things could be a lot worse. 

 

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