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United States vs. Guatemala: Americans Who Need a Big Performance

Howard needs to play well in goal if the US Men want to hold off Carlos Ruiz and Guatemala
Howard needs to play well in goal if the US Men want to hold off Carlos Ruiz and GuatemalaStu Forster/Getty Images
Daine PavloskiAnalyst IIOctober 16, 2012

The United States men's soccer team continues it's quest to the 2014 World Cup against Guatemala on Tuesday

The U.S. got a close 2-1 win against Antigua which put them in a very comfortable position. On Tuesday night, all the Yanks have to do is tie with Guatemala. However, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has made it very clear that the US will be playing to win, telling USA Today "We want to win this game...You can only win a game if you attack and go forward. We are not looking for a tie."

If the United State wants to capture a victory or tie on Tuesday a few main players will need to come through with big performances. 

The first player that needs to have a big day is goalkeeper Tim Howard

 

Tim Howard

The 33-year-old goalie for the is regarded as one of the most intelligent players to play the position, not thinking twice about putting his body on the line, something a goalkeeper should be very willing to do. 

A great performance by Howard is key because when it all comes down to it, it's on him to stop Guatemala. The goalkeeper is the last line of defense and has to be able to stop the attack and in a game where the U.S. MUST win or tie, stopping goals is of the utmost importance. When you have a player like Carlos Ruiz across the field from you, it becomes even more important. 

Howard needs to play very well against Guatemala not only to help the U.S. men secure a spot at the 2014 World Cup, but to also show his critics that he still has it and can play at a high level. 

 

Eddie Johnson

Eddie Johnson had a HUGE game for the U.S. men against Antigua. Johnson was under pretty heavy scrutiny after the coaching staff decided to sit Jozy Altidore and bring in Johnson who hasn't played on the National team since 2010, his last goal for the team coming in 2008.  

Johnson has struggled recently playing in Europe and Mexico until he came to the MLS. Johnson has been playing much better in Seattle netting 14 goals, a franchise record for the Sounders for goals in a season

Johnson's two goals against Antigua were huge for the U.S., sealing the much needed victory and putting them in a comfortable position this week. 

Johnson having another great performance will be very important for the U.S. getting that win or tie, and helping this team that will field just 16 players on Tuesday due to injuries. 

If Johnson can have an encore performance he'll not only be able to continue his journey back to the top, but he'll help his country secure a spot in the 2014 World Cup. 

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